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ISSAERE (International Summer School in Applied Environmental and Regulatory Economics) is the summer school of the Teobaldo Fenoglio Foundation for the Environment born in Turin thanks to 23 public and private partners in Piedmont including the four universities of the region, whose purpose is to promote communication, research and training in the environmental field and in environmental policies, with a particular focus on local dimensions.

The principles on which the Foundation is based are:

  • promote the environmental and social sustainability of development;
  • have transparency in decision-making processes involving the environment;
  • address environmental policies with a global approach;
  • address issues of public utility to regulate environmental services.

Since 1997, the Foundation for the Environment has organized the Summer School: "The regulation of local environmental services" together with the Faculty of Political Sciences of the University of Eastern Piedmont "Amedeo Avogadro" and with the contribution of the Compagnia di San Paolo.

After eleven events, the Summer school with the XII edition is renewed and becomes international:

INTERNATIONAL SUMMER SCHOOL IN APPLIED ENVIRONMENTAL AND REGULATORY ECONOMICS - The regulation of local public services.

To participate in the program and to have all the necessary information, consult the website www.fondazioneambiente.org/isso or write to

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Innovative spirits: a research by the Human + Foundation on the profiles of innovators

The Global Innovation Index 2014, the annual report on the most innovative countries of the world (based on 81 cross-indicators with political, economic and socio-cultural parameters) drawn up by WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization) and Cornell University, has placed at the top of the priorities the "human factor", considered the main driver of innovation processes. In the same period, the research team of the Human + Foundation of Turin, which carries out scientific research with the aim of increasing human capital in society, and which specifically deals with figures who are of key importance for the growth of the country (innovators , new entrepreneurs, researchers, teachers, human resources specialists), began to analyze in depth the "soft" dimension of innovation - that is, the aspects that concern people: skills, teams, organizational cultures -, conducting a preliminary study which then emerged, in 2016, in the applied research project Innovative spirits.

The starting assumption is that innovation processes are enabled not only by technology, by access to investments or by a cutting-edge "vision": in fact, innovation always refers to the innovator, that is to a subject - individual, team, organization, community - that “knows how to make innovation happen”. Therefore, human capital is the basic condition for there to be innovation in any system, sector, organization, territory. Our country, in order to find a new positioning in a very changed world scenario, needs to grow, enhance and support a large number of individuals and groups with strong innovative potential.

Against this, many studies have been produced on innovation but little is known, particularly in Italy, about the figure of the innovator (what characteristics it possesses, as a work, how it can be facilitated). The studies focused mainly on the economic enhancement of innovation (Ramella, 2013). Instead, people, despite being considered the true driver of innovation, have typically been excluded from empirical research, and consequently their potential is not fully utilized in society, in professions, in culture, in companies.

There are potential innovators in all sectors (businesses, PA, non-profit, local communities) and they differ from "creatives", pure inventors, "early adopters". Furthermore, the innovators share some basic characteristics (motivations, abilities, psychological traits) which, albeit in different fields, allow them to conceive, implement and disseminate an innovative proposal.

The research, carried out in collaboration with the Department of Cultures, Policies and Society of the University of Turin, highlighted that it is possible to identify "innovative talent" in different contexts (organizational and otherwise), make it grow and create the conditions for it to express itself in individual or collective form. In particular, the study, which was conducted by an interdisciplinary team (from sociology to work psychology, from communication to management), investigated on a scientific basis the conditions that allow to accelerate innovation processes through innovators.

Understanding innovation and the innovator

In an initial phase, by analyzing the main and most accredited insights on the subject, the "semantic perimeter" was defined, formulating the concept of "innovation" as a phenomenon through which ideas, solutions, new products are produced, whose - economic value , cultural, social, environmental, political etc. - it is recognized (and promoted, adopted, used, purchased, etc.) by the members of a domain (stakeholders, end users, citizenship, customers, opinion leaders, etc.). Innovation is therefore made explicit, using a synthetic formulation, in the "recognition of a new value". Starting from this assumption, the project Innovative spirits wants to provide answers to the following “research questions”: who are innovators and what characteristics do they possess? What are the factors that enable innovation and facilitate innovators? The general design, conceived to provide substance to these questions, developed in 4 macro-phases.

The work started from the exploration of the scientific literature on the subject in various fields: work psychology, sociology, the history of ideas, managerial culture, socio-semiotics. The aim is to build an original and complete vision on the subject, combining scientific knowledge on the professional, social and psychological characteristics of innovators.

A first model of the innovator is then defined, based on the descriptive factors of the innovators, built on the evidence collected in the specialist literature and reinforced by a qualitative survey work (in-depth interviews with 15 opinion leaders belonging to the profit, public and non-profit sectors ). The goal of this action is to generate a descriptive model of the innovator's characteristics and design methodologies for scouting and analysis of innovative potential.

At this point, the on-site verification of the model was set, through the involvement of organizations from the three sectors (profit, public and non-profit), with a sample of over 1200 heterogeneous professionals (various ages, various organizational levels, etc.), who contributed to the testing of the model. The goal is to identify a sample of about 100 subjects considered innovators by consensus, and a corresponding control sample, and select the factors for which there is a statistically significant difference between innovators and non-innovators.

Finally, the validated model is applied to real cases in order to use the tools and methodologies developed and tested to identify "manifest" innovators, and through the analysis of innovative potential, also intercept "potential" innovators, that is individuals with as yet unexpressed innovative talent.

Innovation and complexity

The exploration of the literature has allowed us to refine the meaning of innovation, which can be defined as an emergent property of a complex system (e.g. an organization), rather than in terms of a specific product created by a single component. Thus described, innovation requires different skills and behaviors aimed at proposing, adopting and sharing new ideas. Innovation is not an object but a process, which on the one hand requires the creative generation and on the other the connection of new ideas to the possibilities present in the context (Bartel and Garud, 2009). It therefore incorporates the concept of "complexity", including the activity of creating ideas and solving problems, together with the organizational dynamics to implement them, up to the economic use of the entire process: innovative products or services, new processes and new organizational methods, economic, technological, cultural, social, political innovation, etc. (Meyer and Marquis, 1969).

Upstream of the process, however, there are some "antecedents" necessary to create the conditions for innovation: the availability of adequate and advanced technologies (not only digital ones, but in a broader sense, including methodologies) the presence of innovative talents , that is, people with a strong propensity and ability to innovate certain enabling conditions at the context and culture level. Innovators can emerge spontaneously, but without the support of an organization (appropriate spaces, work processes, internal culture, management, openness to the outside) their contribution to innovation can remain a lucky event at best, while in the worse causes potential innovators to give up (Howell et al., 2005). This means that an organization that truly pursues innovation must move proactively to achieve it.

Innovative behaviors are substantiated between inputs and outputs: that is, a set of practices and performances, replicated by innovators in a non-linear, but cyclical and unstructured way. These activities can be summarized in three categories of action: generate ideas, develop them experimentally, promote them and create consensus and involvement around them. The project Innovative spirits it is placed at the input level, with the aim of studying people and context factors.

Innovators in the collective imagination

The first investigations, in which the need to circumscribe meaning and find definitions is a priority, prompted the researchers to start a parallel investigation, of a socio-semiotic nature, aimed at answering the question: who is the innovator in common sense? What are the characteristics of the innovator in the collective imagination? How is the innovator represented in the Italian media? A specialized working group then carried out a mini-research by carrying out a content analysis on the Italian media in the period 2016-2017, with a focus on the most popular according to the 2015 Censis-Ucsi Report on communication: TV (97% circulation ) and the Internet (71%).

In particular, with regard to TV, by exploiting the archive catalogs made available by the television operators, the generalist channels of Rai and Mediaset were placed under observation (excluding, for reasons of little relevance in terms of share, according to the data Auditel 2016, the thematic channels).

As regards the Web, on the other hand, editorial and information sites have been studied (excluding sites that offer services but not content), with reference to the web-audience rankings processed through online traffic analysis tools: Repubblica.it and Corriere.it were the most visited, while as regards the social networks at the top are Facebook and Twitter (as reported in the Global Digital 2018 survey conducted by We Are Social and Hootsuite, accredited actors in the analysis of audience data on Internet).

On the various databases (television and web) data were collected that refer to the recurrences, in the schedules and in editorial publications, of the terms "innovator" and "innovator" (also declined in the plural) - the terms were also searched for on the most widespread search engine, Google, recording the results on the type of occurrences obtained as answers to searches.

In parallel, a "vox peoples" survey was carried out, collecting the opinions of about 200 individuals in some public places in three northern cities (Turin, Milan, Genoa).

The outcome of the work was then used as the subject of discussion in a focus group that involved a group of 8 media experts from the academic world (communication sociologists, new media researchers and media semiotics from the University of Turin).

The result was a profile represented on the Italian media in which the innovator is a figure, rather mythologized, attributable to these types: male (it is typically believed that he is a man, and often also young), rich (owner of an enormous economic heritage , actual or potential), informal (unconventional in the ways, in the dress code, in content), visionary (farsighted, capable of "seeing" very far and in particular what others do not see), communicator (inspirational persuader, gifted with great charisma, capable of activating people and attracting resources, energy, consensus), obsessed (from their own goals, whatever the cost, human relationships, for example, are sometimes an instrumental accessory, other times they are experienced as a hindrance), entrepreneur (deals with business and works to achieve economic results, usually succeeding in exceptional) and scientist (or otherwise connected to science and scientists).

Innovators: champions or promoters?

On the other hand, however, what emerges from the scientific literature on innovators only partially confirms the common idea represented in the collective imagination. There are two different perspectives in the study of innovators: the theories that conceptualize innovators as “champions” and those that describe them in terms of “promoters”. The first group of theories, mainly of Anglo-American matrix, explicitly investigates those "heroic" and exceptional characteristics of some individuals (for example the flexible orientation to the role, the need for autonomy, the ability to dedicate oneself to the project) and they define innovators as "champions". The most current perspectives reduce the contribution of the individual in favor of a more distributed and team perspective, in which more figures are needed to contribute to innovation in a given context, since innovation itself is a process that involves many organizational aspects (Van Laere and Aggestam, 2016).

The second line of research, rooted in the German tradition, also includes organizational elements such as power structures in the study of innovators. In particular, the research focuses on the barriers to innovation that innovators are able to overcome. Innovators are therefore defined in terms of the barriers they concur to overcome: power, knowledge, process or relational barriers (Gemunden et al., 2007).

The analysis highlighted an oscillation of studies between "individualist" theories - according to which innovators have almost "heroic" characteristics, connected to persistence in the face of adversity and the enthusiasm generated to successfully achieve innovation - and theories " holistic ”- which consider innovators as collective subjects current perspectives deem an integrated approach necessary. In summary, innovators must have the ability to create new ideas, the ability to develop them and make them applicable, and the ability to promote and facilitate their adoption.

Studies release the concept of innovation from the idea of ​​possessing extraordinary attitudes: it is a complex combination of ordinary skills, personality attitudes and motivational aspects (Sawyer, 2011). The integration of exploratory and ideational aspects with pragmatic and implementation dimensions and the ability to promote and generate consensus around innovation (of any type) provide an already quite comprehensive overview of the profile of innovators.

The results of the in-depth interviews that involved 15 opinion leaders from different organizations in the three sectors (who hold management and top management roles in companies, PA and non-profit organizations, in various Italian regions) have consolidated the articulation of a model that puts together with ability to innovate, motivational structure and specific personality traits.

Who is the innovator?

Differently from the typical procedures of research in the academic or scientific field, in fact, three dissemination and collection meetings were also held during the work, inviting some representatives - entrepreneurs, executives, managers, HR specialists, innovation managers - of private organizations , public and non-profit organizations (for a total of 25 realities reached overall).

These meetings were aimed at focusing, better defining and consolidating the contents of the survey, dissolving some doubts about the applicability of certain knowledge or methodologies, or making others emerge, consequently triggering the search for further evidence and testimonies.

The profile of the innovator built downstream of these actions is described as follows:

  • the innovator is not a loner: innovation is a collective phenomenon, which requires cooperation and exchange
  • many possess innovative talent, some in a higher and already "expressed" way, some "in potential"
  • has a professionalism, knows a field or sector, is the owner of a domain, otherwise he could not have an impact on reality, however he is not an "expert", he does not have a very focused and prevalent specialization over the others
  • there are innovators at all organizational levels and in all professions, from the simplest to the most sophisticated: innovators do not cover specific roles
  • it does not have a precise age, there are no generations more inclined to innovate
  • implements behavioral practices in a non-linear way of idea generation, development and promotion.

In conclusion, the descriptive model designed is divided into the following dimensions, which contain several factors:

  • SKILLS: leadership (inspirational) networking context analysis lateral thinking experimental agility.
  • MOTIVATIONAL STRUCTURE: risk propensity need for autonomy intrinsic motivation / work motivation.
  • PERSONALITY TRAITS: resilience optimism self-esteem openness to experience.

Identify the innovators

The modeling work made it possible to fine-tune some methodologies for the scouting and theassessment of innovators. Peer Nomination was used to solve one of the thorniest problems: identifying innovators in context. As early as 1990 Howell and Higgins put this problem among the most methodologically relevant. In contemporary approaches to innovation (Sawyer, 2011) there is the recognition that an idea is innovative not only if it is original, but must also be appropriate. The criterion of appropriateness implies some form of social recognition within the reference community. Furthermore, innovative people are not innovative in general, but only in particular spheres of activity.

Peer Nomination, born in the 1960s, for the analysis of teams, organizations and communities, consists in asking each member of a specific group to indicate a specific individual as the one who is "the most" in a specific dimension (being able to express one preference and not being able to name themselves), in our studio "the most innovative". It therefore allows "visible" innovators to emerge, that is, those subjects who have already contributed to making innovations or have shown evidence of activating the typical behaviors of the innovator (Kane and Lawler, 1978 Love, 1981). In the specific case, 4 questions were asked: who is the best at generating new ideas, making innovative proposals? Who is the most skilled in developing new ideas, finding resources, verifying their feasibility? Who is the most capable of inspiring others, involving them and convincing them of the goodness of a new idea? Who is the most innovative in your work environment?

The advantages of Peer Nomination are numerous: it is easy to use and has a high reliability, generally leading to convergence on a few innovators who gather a broad agreement on their innovative talent. In order for it to be effective, two conditions must still be met: on the one hand, it requires mutual knowledge between the participants in the survey, who must belong to the same context (team, organizational unit, community of purpose, territory, etc.) and must be in number. between 15 and 45 people on the other, it is based on the observation of the innovative behaviors and results of others (generation of innovative ideas, experimentation, activation of consent): for this reason people must know each other (a knowledge deriving from from collaborative activities carried out for at least 3 weeks).

The second methodology used is a assessment questionnaire aimed at validating the descriptive model of the innovator profile developed in the modeling phase. The methodology allows to measure the innovativeness factors of an individual, of a group, of an entire organization (ie its innovative potential). It is based on an individual questionnaire that can be completed on a digital platform in about 20-30 minutes. On the basis of the answers provided on a 5-level Likert scale, it is possible to elaborate the innovativeness profile of the respondent based on the personal factors considered (skills, motivations and values, personality). The questionnaire has a high degree of reliability as it complies with these psychometric standards: it uses scientific constructs (the factors of the model are defined according to the meaning developed by the scientific community) and is based on internationally validated scales, chosen on the basis of agreement of two judges (the measurement scales of individual factors derive from in-depth and consolidated international scientific studies) contains a set of control questions ("LIE scale", also scientifically validated) that allow to identify the altered compilations (ie, compilations conditioned by a high or a low "social desirability" that leads to respond in ways that are not faithful). Part of the questionnaire is developed in the form of opinion survey built from 12 instances, organized in 5 dimensions, derived from a descriptive model of the environmental aspects that favor innovation, also the result of the analysis of the scientific literature on the subject. Participants were asked to place the first 4 instances of the 12 proposals in order of importance and impact on the work of those who innovate.

Once the models had been built and the methodologies prepared, following a “pilot” test in an organizational context consisting of 40 people, the administration on a very large sample (about 1800 individuals) was carried out. The invitation was addressed to 15 organizations of the three sectors, different by type (large enterprise, SME, startup, local authority, hospital, public company, chamber of commerce, non-governmental organization, national association, social enterprise, non-profit organization), number of employees (from 15 to 60 thousand) and geographical location (Piedmont, Lombardy, Veneto, Emilia-Romagna, Tuscany, Lazio, Campania). They are: Slow Food, Action Aid, Abele Group for non-profit, the Milan Chamber of Commerce, the S. Orsola hospital in Bologna, the Municipality of Turin, T2i - Technological Transfer and Innovation of Veneto, for public administration IntesaSanPaolo, Assimoco, Alce Nero, Miroglio Group, Dainese, Konica Minolta, Doralab and Mida for the profit sector. A total of just over 1,800 professionals from the three sectors were involved in various organizational roles - top management, management, employees - and a redemption of answers of 67.8%: for a total of 1237 valid compilations.

The work was carried out in two phases, the first of which involved a "pilot" administration (to a group of 30 people) aimed at testing the use of the survey platform, provided by the University of Turin - which allowed to be used for research purposes -, and the construction of the questionnaire (comprehension, validity of items and related scales, duration of compilation, etc.).

The second phase, made agreements with the individual organizations (with which membership "contracts" were stipulated and the documentation on the use of data by the Foundation shared), served to validate tools and methodologies: Peer Nomination and 'Assessment Questionnaire.

With the Peer Nomination 85 visible innovators were identified (ie indicated as "innovators" by their "peers" - colleagues, collaborators, etc.). The named innovators were compared with a control group randomly selected from the non-innovators group: the innovators have statistically significant differences compared to the non-innovators. The definitive model was derived from which significant differences were highlighted for 12 factors.

Finally, theopinion survey on context factors, he highlighted a strong convergence on 5 issues, considered priorities for innovating by both innovators and non-innovators.

The profile of the innovator

Innovators (those who have been indicated by colleagues as such) are present in all social contexts, in professions and in the most varied life situations. The research clearly showed that innovators share some basic characteristics, regardless of who they are and what they do (age, social status, profession, cultural level), although in our data, as in the literature, an effect of the role on visibility. In other words, they can be described with a “common scheme”.

They act according to pattern behavioral, that is, they are recognizable as they repeat three types of behaviors: a) they regularly generate and propose new contents and original ideas, b) they tend not to stop at pure ideation, but develop innovative ideas in an experimental way with an approach based on "tests and errors ", c) are oriented to create consensus and to give visibility to innovation by convincing, attracting, motivating.

They possess specific personal characteristics, which are "behind" the behaviors described and which consist of: ability (the transversal type of know-how: what in English is commonly called soft skill) motivations (what internally pushes us to act, to commit ourselves, to set ourselves a goal) personality traits (psychological characteristics that characterize us permanently over time). Innovative talent is the result of the interaction between these elements and personal resources.

  • Experimental agility. Knowing how to transform ideas and proposals into effective innovation through the formulation of hypotheses and problems, their empirical verification with a learning process by trial and error, their modification, reworking or abandonment.
  • Context analysis. Knowing how to constantly explore the external environment of interest, welcoming stimuli that are also very different from each other, intercepting future trends and prospects that are not immediately visible and known.
  • Knowing how to attract and involve people, giving them one vision that motivates them to invest energy to achieve the innovation goal.
  • Knowing how to use, expand and take care of one's own relational network in its two main dimensions (private and professional) to facilitate the achievement of innovation objectives.
  • Lateral thinking. Knowing how to develop original perspectives as “out of the box”, creatively connecting ideas and contents from different sources and contexts.

  • Need for autonomy. The desire to be able to freely and independently choose what we prefer to do, when, how and with whom. It is a desire that contains a double requirement: a) "to be independent from", that is not to be bound or to be as little as possible by the choices of others and by external constraints b) "to be free to", that is to be able to act and decide based on one's orientations, aspirations, convictions. The innovation processes, due to their unpredictable and unpredictable development, require individual freedom of judgment, discretion, independence.
  • Motivation at work. It is the drive that activates, directs and supports our behavior at work. This drive can be intrinsic or extrinsic, depending on the needs to which it is linked and the objectives to which the intrinsic motivation tends is connected to a personal interest, to the satisfaction of a need within us. Extrinsic motivation, on the other hand, is fueled by tangible and external recognitions to the individual, such as economic gain, public esteem, success. The difficulties and complexities associated with innovation require a sincere passion for the contents of one's business.
  • Risk appetite. Preference to accept a possible loss in the face of a potential high gain and to tolerate related uncertainty people who prefer to avoid risks are defined as risk-averse and are generally characterized by the search for safety and stability for other people, risk-seeking, is instead, it is more stimulating to take advantage of uncertain but promising opportunities. Innovation is also connected to error, loss, failure, all elements perceived as risks.

  • Openness to experience. Constant tendency to look for new stimuli, to take an interest in unusual issues, to question problems and phenomena. This characteristic corresponds, in common parlance, to the term "curiosity".
  • Deep subjective process that leads, on a reality basis, to appreciate and positively evaluate oneself, one's actions, one's characteristics.
  • Basic gaze with which the world is perceived, characterized by the tendency to positively judge the course of events and their possible outcomes.
  • Stable characteristic that pushes to cope with negative and difficult situations, sudden changes and threats while maintaining a positive attitude resilient people are able to maintain trust and hope even in the face of failures, mistakes, adversities of various kinds, stressful situations .

The enabling context

Through the exploratory tool ofopinion survey mentioned above, the opinions of the 1237 individuals involved in the survey were collected regarding the 12 contextual issues that facilitate innovation. The 12 organizational variables are those that more than others, according to the specialized literature, have an organizational impact and make an organization a "place of innovation", that is, a context that favors the expression of people's innovative talent and therefore the emergence of innovation. The answers provided indicate the perception of the ability of one's work context to be truly innovative. Below are the 5 dimensions and related factors identified in the study phase of the scientific literature on the subject and confirmed by the investigation of management and organization studies.

  • Physical spaces. Working in physical spaces suitable for innovation (protected places where you can concentrate, open spaces designed for sharing and exchange, structures where you can do tests, tests, etc.).
  • Innovation methodologies. Have techniques and methods available on how to innovate (generate new ideas, develop an innovation project, monitor innovations and novelties, etc.).
  • New technologies. Being able to access the latest generation of digital technologies in the organization

Work organization

  • Time. Have a share of time (weekly, monthly, etc.) free from operations and current commitments to be able to reflect, learn, experiment, create.
  • Organizational structure. Operate in an agile organization, with little bureaucracy, with a light hierarchy.
  • New forms of work. Working in ways such as cross-functional teams, temporary teams, internal communities of innovators, teleworking or home-office, rotation of assignments in other areas of the organization, etc.

  • Network. Having the possibility of contacts, exchanges, meetings with external subjects of all kinds (similar organizations, suppliers, institutions, research centers, universities, associations, startups, etc.).
  • Community and territory. Be part of an organization that communicates with the local area (local interlocutors are known, the impact of their activities on the territory is assessed, joint initiatives are developed with the community, etc.).

  • Heads. Dealing with leaders who are not necessarily innovators, but really support and encourage those who innovate.
  • Summit. Perceiving that the highest level of the organization believes in innovation, declares it and acts accordingly.
  • People management. Being able to rely on methods of personnel selection, training, growth and recognition of people oriented towards creating an innovative organization.

  • Change and learning. Sharing of values ​​such as openness to change, continuous learning and the desire to improve.
  • Uncertainty. Sharing of values ​​such as error tolerance, risk appetite, the positive use of conflicts
  • Integration. Sharing of values ​​such as the spirit of cooperation, solidarity between colleagues, teamwork.

The survey showed, consistent with the literature on the subject (Hill et al., 2013), that for innovators the priority determinants for fostering innovation are: the internal culture that nourishes innovation (69%), the presence of supportive leaders (48%), the availability of dedicated time (46% ), the network (46%). Even non-innovators have placed internal culture at the top of their priorities (63%), therefore the possibility of dedicating time to innovation (50%), the presence of supportive leaders (41%) unlike innovators, finally, placed first of the network (34%) the organizational structure - flexible, light - (43%), which the innovators indicated as the fifth factor (34%). There is therefore a certain sharing of the main 5 enabling context factors for innovators.

Innovative spirits and potential innovators

The analysis of the "visible" innovators (84 in all) identified by means of the Peer Nomination made it possible to study their compilation of the questionnaire, developing a plot of the aggregate average data representing a reference benchmark with which to compare the profiling values.

The first acquisition concerns the fact that, in fact, the results recorded following the administration of the questionnaire by the innovators are higher, for all 12 factors of the model, naturally excluding the values, compared to those obtained by non-innovators (control sample ).

Subsequently, 11 questionnaires were excluded from the benchmark whose data represented outlier. This benchmark makes it possible to outline 3 levels of innovative potential: moderate potential (in which 67% of the sample stood) good potential (24% of the sample) high potential (9% of the sample).It can be deduced that, at least in reference to the sample of 1237 professionals who took part in the study, about one in three individuals (33%) has good or high innovative potential.

The compilation of the questionnaire allows you to generate an individual report that highlights the differences, by means of radar chart, compared to the innovators' benchmark. The same report can be provided at the team or organization level, by aggregating the averages of the results achieved by the participants. The profile obtained with the report is a potential analysis, that is, it gives reliable indications on the current level of innovative talent, which combined with favorable external conditions can lead to generating innovation in one's field of intervention and activities. The external conditions are for example the contingent opportunity to innovate, the availability of material and technical resources, the meeting with other innovators, the stimulating social or professional context.

Applications, inheritance and perspectives

The project Innovative spirits has an intrinsic purpose of communication and education. Already during the modeling and validation phases and then in the final application phase, the results (relating to progress and final results) were presented at various events and in various forms of publication. All test participants subsequently received the report documentation on the results achieved in the project. Other dissemination moments were organized in various contexts, at public, non-profit and profit organizations, and at universities (in Turin, Aosta, Florence, Trieste). The application of profiling for the evaluation of the innovative potential it can be used in organizational contexts for different purposes: scouting of the innovators the recruiting external and internal personnel suitable for certain processes in which innovation is a cornerstone talent management of figures with the potential to innovate planning of training courses e coaching for innovative teams aggregation of innovative talents to create communities of practice for innovation.

Further in-depth scientific research will be carried out by the Human + Foundation in the following fields of study:

  • "Innovative behavior": the aim is to analyze and outline the practices implemented by innovators foridea generation, L'idea implementation and theidea promotion the study foresees the involvement of the innovators identified through the Peer Nomination
  • "Context and culture factors of innovation": starting from the outcome ofopinion survey, it is proposed to consolidate knowledge through a further exploration of the scientific literature on the subject
  • “Innovative teams”: the aim is to reinforce knowledge by studying the literature and analyzing the main organizational “cases”
  • “Innovation in schools”: following an analysis work, the aim is to launch a “pilot” experiment in some Italian regions (eg Piedmont, Lombardy, Veneto and Trentino).


Issaere, Foundation for the Environment, Promotion of communication research and training in the environmental field

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At the sitting of 24 October 1997 the President of Parliament announced that he had referred this report to the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs as the committee responsible and to the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs and Industrial Policy for its opinion. as well as the Committee on Legal Affairs and Citizens' Rights.

At its meeting of 26 November 1997, the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs appointed Hon. Ghilardotti.

At the meeting of 28 May 1998 the President announced that the report would be drawn up under the Hughes procedure by the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs together with the Committee on Legal Affairs and Citizens' Rights.

At its meetings on 15 and 27 April, 25 and 26 May 1998 it examined the Commission proposal as well as the draft report.

At the latter meeting, it approved the motion for a resolution unanimously.

The following were present for the vote: Hughes, president Menrad and Ojala, vice-presidents Ghilardotti, rapporteur Andersson, Blak, Castagnetti, Chanterie, Correia, Eriksson, Ettl, Glase, Hernandez Mollar, Kerr (replacing Hon. Schörling), Malangré (replacing Hon. Donnelly ), T. Mann, Mendonça, Papakyriazis (replacing Mr Cabezón Alonso), Peter, Schiedermeier, Skinner, Sornosa Martinez, Theonas, Van Lancker, van Velzen, Waddington and Weber.

The opinions of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs and Industrial Policy and the Committee on Legal Affairs and Citizens' Rights are attached to this report.

The report was filed on May 27, 1998.

The deadline for tabling amendments will be indicated in the draft agenda of the part-session at which the report will be examined.

Resolution on the Commission communication on promoting the role of associations and foundations in Europe (COM (97) 0241 - C4-0546 / 97)

- having regard to the Commission communication on "Promoting the role of associations and foundations in Europe" (COM (97) 0241 - C4-0546 / 97),

- having regard to Article 2 of the Treaty establishing the European Community,

- having regard to the European Parliament resolution on non-profit associations in the European Communities (1),

- having regard to the amended proposal for a Council Regulation (EEC) on the Statute of the European Association (2),

- having regard to the amended proposal for a Council decision on the multi-annual (1994-1996) work program for cooperatives, mutual societies, associations and foundations in the Community (3),

- having regard to the Economic and Social Committee's own-initiative opinion on "Cooperation with social solidarity associations as socio-economic partners in the social field" (CES 1398/97) (4),

- having regard to the opinion of the Economic and Social Committee (CES 1347/97) (5) and of the Committee of the Regions (CdR 306897 / fin.) on this Communication,

- having regard to the report of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs and the opinions of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs and Industrial Policy and the Committee on Legal Affairs and Citizens' Rights (A4-0203 / 98),

A. considering the importance of the associative sector and foundations in the various sectors of the Union's intervention, be they social policy, development policy, the promotion of human rights, environmental policy, public health, politics for young people, culture, education and training, also considering the opportunity for a serious and in-depth debate on relations between the Union and this important reality,

B. whereas this debate must be supported and accompanied by an in-depth analysis of the degree of development and organization of the sector at the various levels (local, national and European) as well as an evaluation of its participation in the implementation of the various Community policies

C. considering the independent and non-profit character as an element marking the specificity of associations and foundations and determining their community interest,

D. whereas associations and foundations (hereinafter referred to as NGOs) perform various and important functions in the various sectors, ranging from the provision of services to social solidarity, public health, the promotion of active citizenship, the expression of will of certain social groups or interest groups

E. whereas the services provided by NGOs often constitute an effective and flexible response to new and growing needs of citizens that the public authority is no longer able to fully satisfy

F. considering the importance of the sector for employment, already stated in the Delors White Paper, in the Santer Pact and, more recently, in the conclusions of the extraordinary Luxembourg Summit with reference to the guidelines and hoping for a commitment from the Commission , the Council and the Member States so that the declarations are followed by concrete measures for the development and support of employment in the third system, in particular in the national plans

G. considering in this context the need to continue to distinguish between voluntary activities and employment in the third system, even if these figures are often constructively complementary

H. whereas voluntary organizations can be a first step towards more complex and structured activities and towards the creation of new employment, often accompanied by highly skilled needs in terms of training

I. considering the fundamental role of local associations in the fight against exclusion, in particular thanks to the emphasis it places on the active participation of excluded people and on a holistic approach, aimed at resolving the various factors of exclusion through the mobilization of different local actors

J. considering the growing importance attributed to the local level as a privileged context for implementing the social policies of the Union and underlining how this presupposes a commitment by the latter in favor of the development of the sector itself

K. having regard in particular to the key role that NGOs could and should play, in the context of the European Social Fund, for the professional (re) integration of certain social groups and regretting that the procedures and funding requirements of the Structural Funds constitute a serious and, at times, insurmountable obstacle to the fulfillment of this role,

L. whereas, within the Union, the growth of unemployment and phenomena of social exclusion, the aging of the population and the emergence of occasional or precarious employment relationships pose a serious problem of representing the interests of large segments of the population,

M. whereas NGOs are a veritable transmission belt between these segments of the population and public authorities, be they local, national and Community,

N. considering, in the light of the experience dealt with in the various community programs and initiatives, the need to enhance the role of the not-for-profit sector as a spokesperson for these social groups, also providing them with the opportunity to make their voice heard in several European institutions,

O. considering the central role carried out by NGOs in the field of development policy, as primary interlocutor of the Union in achieving its political objectives, and the opportunity for the Community institutions to enhance the wealth of experience accumulated by NGOs

P. considering also the growing presence on the European scene of NGOs engaged in, inter alia, environmental, development, consumer protection, social services, public health and human rights issues,

Q. considering the strong disparities existing in the relations between the different sectoral expressions of the non-profit world and the community institutions and the scarce knowledge of the experiences realized in the different sectors

1. welcomes the Communication in question as it offers an opportunity to relaunch the political debate on the role of the not-for-profit sector in the process of European integration at the political, economic, social and civil level

Not-for-profit sector analysis

2. Is of the opinion that an in-depth analysis of the degree of development and organization of the sector at the different levels (local, national and European) should precede and prepare the European Year of Associations and Active Citizenship proposed by the Commission. context of a survey carried out by Directorate-General V on the relations it maintains with NGOs and asks the Commission to publish the results

3. Expects the results of this analysis to be constantly updated and welcomes in this regard the Commission's proposal to create a network of national monitoring, coordination, information and mobilization agencies in the sector

4. finally considers that the above debate and analysis should allow for a review and relaunch of the Community legislative initiatives currently on the table, in particular the proposals for a European Statute for associations and a multiannual program for cooperatives, mutuals, associations and foundations

5. Hopes that, in this context, a clear distinction will be made between the proposal for a statute relating to the European association and the proposal for a regulation relating to a European joint-stock company and that the former will not impose requirements and operating models typical of purely economic entities, without this is why we want to deny the fact that associations of public utility can carry out an economic activity

6. highlights in particular the importance of local action for any synergies between private companies, the public and "third sector" initiatives

7. Welcomes the proposal to provide for simplified mechanisms of access to structural resources for NGOs, in particular the provision of 1% of the European Social Fund allocation for non-governmental organizations, however, stresses that this percentage has an additional value and not a substitute for the structural resources to which the sector in the various Member States already has access and is intended to finance micro-projects managed by associations and groups strongly rooted in the local reality

8. is of the opinion that these measures are effective only if they are accompanied by specific information and support measures, such as the setting up of one-stop shops aimed at providing interested NGOs with the technical assistance necessary to access these resources. furthermore that even those who work in associations of public utility must have adequate access to professional training measures co-financed by Community instruments

9. Is of the opinion that, in the debate on the future structure of the European Regional Development Fund, greater importance should be given to the social economy, given the contribution it can make to local development

10. Considers it essential that the new regulations on the Structural Funds recognize NGOs as full partners, in particular by promoting the creation of local partnerships between public authorities, social partners, the private sector, training and education institutions and the associative sector

11. recalls how the experience of the PEACE initiative demonstrates the possibility of a participatory approach to the management of structural resources, through the creation of consultative forums including all the actors (institutional, social, economic and civil) interested in the field of interventions

12. Reiterates the importance of the sector for job creation therefore asks the Commission, within the framework of the proposal for a multi-annual work program for cooperatives, mutual societies, associations and foundations, to concentrate the scarce resources available on examining the contribution that the whole sector can provide for the implementation of the employment policy measures contemplated in the Commission's White Paper "Growth, Competitiveness and Employment"

13. Calls in particular on the Member States and the relevant Commission services, in the context of their efforts to implement the conclusions of the Luxembourg European Council, to develop tools to develop the "developing entrepreneurship" pillar of the guidelines also in the third system, recognizing its specificity at the level of structures and activities ("not-for-profit") as well as the demand to be satisfied (mainly for services in the social sphere), characteristics that differentiate the sector from the world of private companies

14. Believes that with the recent initiative aimed at financing SMEs of an innovative and employment-intensive nature, part of the funding can be allocated to SMEs of the third system, particularly in sectors such as health and education, priority objectives also in the plan for EIB employment

15. is of the opinion that the development of the third system, in satisfying new social demands, can determine a more equitable distribution of time and tasks in families for both sexes, and contribute to reconciling work and family life, especially for women believe that the fourth pillar of the guidelines (equal opportunities) would thus be strengthened in its correct horizontal interpretation ("mainstreaming")

16. Reiterates its support for a "reduced VAT rate for the benefit of certain employment-intensive services, not subject to cross-border competition and also provided by the third system. Calls on the Council to amend the Sixth VAT Directive in order to allow Member States which wish to apply this rate on an experimental basis asks, under the current revision of the VAT regime, to examine the problems to which associations are exposed, due to the complexity of the regime and in the light of the reduction in tax incentives for donations due to the abatement of direct taxes

17. Recalls its commitment also in the EU budget to promote experimentation, research and dissemination of best practices for the creation of employment in the context of the third system, believes that the 1999 budget must provide itself with appropriations that allow the activities registered budget line B5-501 to conclude with serious and detailed assessments, which help to guide future EU actions, also in view of the incentive measures provided for in the new title "Employment" of the Treaty

18.Stresses the importance for the development of the third system of cooperation between research institutes, universities, higher education institutions, as well as professional ones, in order to obtain scientific information and to train staff in the needs of the new services

Enlargement and external relations

19 urges the Commission to enhance the role of the non-profit sector in the construction and consolidation of democratic and participatory structures in the countries with which the Union has particularly close ties, in particular the countries of Central and Eastern Europe and the MEDA countries

20. Welcomes the dialogue and mutual attention that have recently developed between associations and foundations and trade unions believes that, in the various fields of activity and interest, trade unions, associations and foundations can play a fundamental role in civil dialogue, in promoting a active citizenship and more generally, in guiding economic and social development policies

21. Calls for the initiation of a serious and structured sectoral dialogue between the European institutions and the NGOs represented at European level

22. considers it essential to this end to launch, in the various institutional contexts and in the NGO world itself, a common reflection on the ways of implementing this dialogue, based on the experiences acquired in the various sectors

23. It is in fact of the opinion that this dialogue should be based on common criteria and procedures and that its various expressions should be coordinated, within the European institutions, by a "horizontal" administrative structure

24. also considers it necessary for NGOs to clearly identify their representatives as competent interlocutors in the various issues, in order to avoid overlapping or arbitrary exclusions

25. Stresses the importance of such dialogue being accompanied by similar developments also at Member State level and underlines in this regard the mobilizing role that European NGOs must play

26. Finally, calls on the Commission to relaunch the idea of ​​a broad democratic consultation process in the context of the revision of the Treaties, outlined in the report of the "Comité des Sages" presented at the European Forum on Social Policy of March 1996, updating it in the light of the debates held nationally in the first half of 1997 and the results achieved at the Intergovernmental Conference in Amsterdam.

27. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Economic and Social Committee, the Committee of the Regions, the European Platform of Social NGOs, the CEDAG, the European Foundation Center and the European social partners.

The rapporteur's task is not easy as this Communication is only the culmination of a process that began several years ago, under the impetus of the European Parliament itself (1). It should therefore be analyzed in the light of the expectations that have arisen over this period.

For this reason it will be good to provide the following, albeit brief historical overview.

The Communication in question has undergone a long gestation. Several times announced, the objectives attributed to it were of

- analyze the associative phenomenon e

- to outline the features and to define the modes of intervention of a European policy in favor of the not-for-profit sector.

It is no coincidence that the original idea was to publish a White Paper, which, in the Anglo-Saxon meaning of the term, indicates an official document aimed at defining the government's policy on a question that will subsequently be examined in parliament.

Curiously, the idea of ​​a White Paper only emerged after the presentation of two legislative initiatives taken by the Commission in this field, both of which stalled during the Council's examination. These are the proposed European Statute for Associations and the multi-year program in support of cooperatives, mutuals, associations and foundations (CMAF).

The White Paper itself encountered difficulties, this time already within the Commission itself. In the end these conflicts not only delayed its adoption, but also reduced its scope, "degrading" it to a simple Communication.

Without wishing to go into the causes, the rapporteur cannot fail to note that all three initiatives taken by the Commission (the Statute, the multi-annual program and the White Paper) have encountered serious difficulties (2). This leads the rapporteur to believe that a reflection is necessary to clarify the terms of the question, the objectives of the various parties involved and the role that each of them should play.

Communication - objectives

The Commission focuses exclusively on two expressions of that phenomenon which it defines the social economy (3), namely associations and foundations, as these "play an important role in almost every field of social activity" (4): from the creation of jobs, to the promotion of active citizenship (5), to the provision of services, etc.

The intention pursued by the Commission is to

- illustrate the growing importance of the sector in the European Union and identify its problems, - establish a dialogue in order to favor its development at all levels, - improve its capacity to meet the needs of the future, - maximize its contribution to European integration.

Undoubtedly one of the greatest difficulties of any discourse on the associative phenomenon is given by the enormous diversity of its expressions. The Commission is well aware of this and tries to define the subject of the debate on the basis of the following criteria:

- institutionalization or formalization of some sort - non-profit-making character

- independence from public power - disinterested management for associations, e

- public interest purposes - own funds

- independence from public power for foundations.

In fact, the analysis of the legal framework existing in the various Member States raises some doubts as to the applicability of the first criterion (institutionalization). The rapporteur therefore prefers the non-profit nature and independence from public power as elements characterizing the sector. For this reason she adopts the notion of non-profit organizations (NPOs) and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) as synonymous with the purpose of designating the entities object of the Communication. .

Equally, if not more important for the purposes of defining the Union's policy towards the sector, is the distinction made by the Commission according to the functions performed by NPOs. The Commission identifies the following purposes:

- provision of services - advocacy function - mutual assistance

- finding resources and / or coordinating activities in a specific field.

The opportunity of a community policy towards NPOs

Undoubtedly, all four of the aforementioned functions have (more or less direct) relevance for Community policies. However, their common feature is that of embracing several policy areas (in the case of the provision of services, the latter can range from health, education / training, culture, the environment, etc.). Community interest in these realities comes into play to the extent that they contribute to the achievement of Union objectives such as, for example, social cohesion, the creation (direct or indirect) of employment, the satisfaction of unexpressed or unmet needs. , and / or when, due to their nature, they require, within the framework of a specific policy, the development of tools that take into account their specificity.

In one case, however, the rapporteur identifies the need to define a specific policy towards the not-for-profit sector, ie when this is the spokesperson for civil society and therefore proposes itself as an interlocutor of the Community institutions.

The not-for-profit sector - overview of the situation

The Commission is the first to admit the limits of the survey it conducted between June and October of the distant 1993. The choice to distribute the questionnaire through the European organizations which, in Brussels, represent the various sectoral associations that the sample included "a disproportionate percentage (30%) of" intermediary bodies "and national organizations" (6). While aware of this limitation and while underlining the fact that "the associations are for the most part small and often have a small number of active members" (7), the Commission ends up neglecting the contribution of NPOs to economic development and social cohesion in local area (8).

The investigation must therefore be considered as a simple starting point, a stimulus to carry out a much more in-depth investigation into this multifaceted reality. In fact, a picture is lacking on the degree of development and organization (horizontal and vertical) of the sector in the individual Member States, and on the contribution it offers or can offer to the achievement of the various objectives of the Union (9). ONP to the various community programs, in order to evaluate

- what their role is in the sectoral policies of the Union and - to what extent they manage to influence the course of these policies.

The Commission's proposal to organize a European Year of European associations and citizenship (or rather, as the Commission currently seems to be orienting itself, of active citizenship) to support the effort to get to know the sector does not seem the most appropriate, given the punctual nature of similar events, and the expected date (not before 2001). It would be much more appropriate to carry out the above survey in view of and in preparation for a European Year dedicated to NPOs.

Even less desirable is the idea of ​​entrusting the task of monitoring developments in the sector to the European Observatory of SMEs, given the distinct character of the non-profit sector from small and medium-sized businesses.

The role of NGOs in the local area

As mentioned, the Commission identifies the different functions which NGOs perform and also focuses on defining the sectors of intervention. Several organizations and research institutes contacted underlined the insufficient importance given in the Communication to the contribution of NGOs to economic and social "micro-cohesion".

The Commission has long recognized the importance of the local dimension (ie the involvement and commitment of the various local actors, be they public authorities, social partners, associations, etc.) in achieving the objectives of the Union's policies and initiatives in the social field ( 10).

The research carried out by the Foundation for the improvement of living and working conditions confirms this perception. In fact, associations offer a way out of situations of serious social exclusion as it encourages the active participation of beneficiaries, the assumption of responsibility and the acquisition of skills, thus increasing self-confidence which is a very important prerequisite for social and work reintegration. It often provides, through mutual assistance, the supports necessary for professional reintegration (think of child custody) and sometimes (as mentioned below) leads to the creation of micro-entrepreneurship typical of the third system (11). Moreover, the importance of this sector is not only recognized in the field of social policy. In fact, the rapporteur noted that similar considerations are made, for example, also in the context of development policy (DGVIII).

Several Community programs have tried to exploit this local potential, not least the Structural Funds (SF) and, in particular, the European Social Fund (12). The debate on the forthcoming reform of the SF regulations seems to take this important dimension into account. The rapporteur is aware of the proposal to promote micro-projects managed by NGOs and local partnerships through the ESF. Access to these resources would be ensured by intermediary bodies operating on the basis of simplified procedures (13). This is an important recognition not only of the contribution that NGOs can make but also of their financial, administrative and planning fragility (14). However, the rapporteur believes that if we recognize the role of NGOs in the pursuit of community objectives, we must also offer the tools to strengthen associations and local volunteering. The Communication is lacking from this point of view: it recognizes the need for training in sector but, for the local level, it entrusts the sole responsibility to the Member States, limiting the Community role to the development of "transnational" skills that facilitate collaboration experiences between NGOs in different Member States (see Conclusions on pages 12 and 14 ). In light of the above, however, the rapporteur believes that the Union can and must offer support also in the local area. For this reason she would propose that, within the European Social Fund, specific training and support measures are envisaged for NGOs, similar to those reserved for the social partners.

Again in the context of the SF, the concept of partnership should be strengthened and broadened. Up to now this concept has been measured in terms of representation within the supervisory committees, that is, in a bureaucratic-administrative context, at least for the moment. The rapporteur is of the opinion that even more important is the application of this principle in the local area, ie in the planning and implementation of the co-financed actions.

As mentioned, associations and foundations represent only a part of the so-called structures of the social economy, which also includes cooperatives and mutual societies. However, with reference to the provision of services and the "third system", associations and foundations can be recognized as having a In fact, the services that these NGOs carry out are assuming an increasingly significant and complex dimension, even if not yet sufficiently developed and appreciated in its future prospects.

Already in the Delors White Paper on growth, competitiveness and employment, reference was made to the growing demand for old and new services, to which the public authority is increasingly struggling to provide an answer. The difficulties are undoubtedly and mainly of a financial nature. but not only. The need to respond more and more to differentiated needs on the territory requires an ever greater involvement of local authorities, but also greater participation and responsibility on the part of local communities, of which the NGOs in question are often the most direct and significant expression. . Precisely in the White Paper reference is made to the potential for an effective response to these needs, and to the expectations in terms of employment (among other things recently confirmed by the competent services of the Commission), of what is defined as "a continuum between public and private".

The rapporteur does not intend to make or feed any confusion between voluntary work, very widespread in particular in some countries and also very important for mutual assistance and self-assistance, and employment in the third system. However, it is easy to see that, given the needs referred to as well as the need to find lasting and effective solutions to the problem of unemployment, voluntary organizations can sometimes constitute a bridge, a starting point for giving life to more structured and complex organizations for the provision of night services. for-profit in the social, cultural, leisure time, for families.

Moreover, in some countries forms of transition between voluntary work and dependent work are being experimented. The task of the Commission would be to investigate in particular the transition mechanisms between these two realities (half time volunteering and half time paid work) and the guarantees in terms of the quality of the employment created. In this regard, but also for more general reasons, a dialogue and increased cooperation between sector NGOs and trade unions is proving increasingly important, both at the European and national level and, more specifically, at the local level on the design and management of old and new services.

The Luxembourg extraordinary summit on employment (20/21 November 1997) dedicates a specific paragraph to the "importance of the social economy and the development of the so-called community services. As will be recalled, the guidelines adopted there must be transposed into national employment plans, to be submitted to a preliminary examination during the European summit in Cardiff, next June. To ensure a coherent, succinct and concrete drafting of the national plans, the Commission is organizing seminars in each Member State to assist the competent authorities in drafting the plans. The rapporteur hopes that, even on these occasions, the Commission will be able to underline the importance of the third system and the advisability of providing for specific measures for the development of activities related to it at national level (15). It would also be an important step for the dissemination of best practices and experiences in this area, an extremely useful and necessary dissemination, as the European Parliament has repeatedly reiterated.

In this regard, it is recalled that the rapporteur himself had proposed and obtained, during the 1997 budget procedure, the creation of a budget line for pilot projects and for the dissemination of best practices in the third system. The Community budget has thus endowed itself, for two subsequent years, with 10 MECU per year aimed at prospecting and promoting the employment potential of the third system. In next year's budget it would be extremely opportune to provide funding to support a serious and detailed evaluation. of the results obtained through this line, in order to contribute effectively to direct the future actions of the EU in this field.

The satisfaction of the growing demand for services in the social sphere, in particular in the sector of childcare or the elderly, but also of the organization of leisure time and other aspects of life, should help to balance the roles between the sexes in families, allowing, in particular women, to reconcile work with other tasks. More generally, it can be said that the third system contributes in a fundamental way to that "welfare Community" which sees the parallel and correlated development of the economic and of the social one, with the active contribution of the public powers, the world of private business and local communities.

An equitable and socially organized distribution of time is a sine qua non for the development of equal opportunities. For this reason, the rapporteur believes that a correct interpretation of the fourth pillar of the guidelines cannot be separated from horizontal policies, such as those relating to the third system.

Finally, the rapporteur considers it essential to reiterate the request previously made by the European Parliament (16) to provide for a "reduced rate of VAT for local services not subject to cross-border competition, in particular if provided through structures of the third system. also discussed at the extraordinary summit in Luxembourg, however, it met with resistance from some Member States. The rapporteur does not understand why this incentive measure, on a voluntary, experimental basis and for a limited period (3 years), should not be in any case re-proposed by the Commission, which had supported it, even as a temporary derogation from the IV Directive, trying to stimulate "further reflection in the Council.

The role of NGOs in the European context

As already mentioned at the beginning, the Commission recognizes the contribution that NGOs can make to European integration. It has the "objective of initiating" a systematic and regular dialogue and consultation "with the sector as it constitutes an important" interface between citizens and public authorities "(17). This commitment would seem to find its concrete form in two contexts : the Advisory Committee of Cooperatives, Mutuals, Associations and Foundations and the European Forum for Social Policy For both the rapporteur has some doubts.

First of all, the Advisory Committee: this committee embraces the whole world of the social economy and is in close contact with DGXXIII. Several NGOs (in particular those most engaged in the "advocacy" function) do not believe that it offers the appropriate context for initiating the dialogue repeatedly desired by the Commission and, in particular by Commissioner Flynn and the Chair of the Committee on Employment and social affairs, Hon. Stephen Hughes (18). This committee, given its nature and its "administrative" contacts, would tend to prioritize the economic contribution and importance of the sector and therefore could not address the full range of Community policies in which NGOs are actively involved and in which they wish to be express their point of view.

Secondly, the European Forum on Social Policy: an undeniable merit of this event, dating back to March 1996, was that of affirming unequivocally the presence of NGOs on the European political scene. Since then it is no longer possible to ignore this reality (even if it must be said that the message has passed mainly in "social" circles (19)).

However, the idea launched on that occasion of initiating a civil dialogue with NGOs went far beyond organizing a large forum every two years. It is necessary (and in this the rapporteur agrees with the Platform of Social NGOs (20)) to provide for a specific mechanism in this regard, focused on social policy (thus including the DGV, for the Commission, and the Platform) which serve as a model for other sectors. The rapporteur, however, does not share the Platform's request to start now an intersectoral dialogue that embraces all the NGOs active in the various Community policies nor to create, at the General Secretariat of the European Commission, a list of European and international NGOs " accredited ", as it believes that it is first of all necessary to initiate and consolidate this experience in the social field (21) (or in the various fields? To avoid being too sectorial: Platform + CEDAG (employment) - DGV CEDAG (legal-fiscal aspects): DG 23). On the other hand, it would be advisable for a "horizontal" or "intersectoral" body in the various Community institutions to take responsibility for coordinating and promoting the dissemination of the dialogue mechanism that is being set up in the social sector, in the various policies that interact with NGOs. Indeed, the rapporteur's experience shows that there is currently no "common" reflection within the Commission on these issues.

Finally, the rapporteur finds that the Communication does not sufficiently develop the contribution of NGOs to European integration. The document mentions, for example, the report of the "Comité des Sages", presented to the Forum in March 1996. It does not, however, mention the follow-up it intends to give to the proposals contained in this report to launch a broad process of democratic consultation in view of inclusion in the Treaties, at a forthcoming Intergovernmental Conference, of a Charter of Fundamental Rights of the Union. The rapporteur believes that this proposal should be resumed first of all by taking stock of the debates held in the various national conferences organized, with the financial support of the European Parliament and the patronage of the Commission, in the first half of 1997 and concluded with the European Conference of 3/4 June 1997 , in the seat of the European Parliament. This would provide an opportunity to assess expectations in the light of the results achieved in Amsterdam and prepare an "action plan" for the next conference. This action plan would be a concrete example of cooperation between European institutions, social partners and NGOs and could serve to enhance the mobilizing role of the social partners, on the one hand, and of NGOs, on the other, highlighting their complementarity.

(Article 147 of the Regulation)

for the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs

on the Commission communication on promoting the role of associations and foundations in Europe (COM (97) 0241 - C4-0546 / 97) (Ghilardotti report)

Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs and Industrial Policy

Draftsman: Hon. Friedrich Wolf

At its meeting of 21 January 1998, the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs and Industrial Policy appointed Hon. Wolf.

At its meetings of 19 March and 23 April 1998 it considered the draft opinion.

At the last meeting indicated, it approved the following conclusions unanimously.

The following were present for the vote: von Wogau, President Katiforis, Vice-President Wolf (replacing Ms Hautala), draftsman Areitio Toledo, Argyros (replacing Ms Bremond d'Ars), Barton (replacing Ms Beres), Burenstam Linder (replacing Mr Friedrich), Camison Asensio (replacing Mr Fourçans), Carlsson, Cassidy (replacing Mr Garcia-Margallo), Caudron, Christodoulou, Cox, de Rose, Donnelly, Filippi (in place of Mr Herman), Funk (in place of Mr Konrad), Gallagher, Gasoliba I Böhm, Glante, Harrison, Hendrick, Hoppenstedt, Ilaskivi, Kestelijn-Sierens, Langen, Larive, Lindqvist (in place of 'Mr Riis-Jørgensen), Lulling, E. Mann (replacing Mr Imbeni), Miller, Murphy, Paasilinna, Pérez Royo, Peter (replacing Mr Metten), Rapkay, Skinner (replacing Mr Randzio-Plath), Soltwedel-Schäfer, Tappin (replacing Mr Read), Thyssen, van Velzen (replacing Mr Secchi) and Wibe.

Associations and foundations play an important role in our society. They provide goods and services to the public (such as public utility goods) and / or its members that neither the state nor the market system can provide in a similar way. To carry out their tasks, they often use voluntary work and donations from individuals, but they also use the support of public authorities as an important source of finance. Through their work, they contribute to the development of a civil society and enable people to work actively and autonomously towards goals that are of public interest.

Volunteering - that is, voluntary organizations and related forms of associations as long as they are established in a coherent sector of the economy - must be clearly distinguished from both the private and the state sectors. In some cases, organizations may be considered to belong to the private sector even if they are officially non-profit (they cover their costs while paying high wages or other benefits to their directors or members). In other cases, organizations may be formally independent of public authorities but de facto controlled by the state. As governments tend to reduce the size of the public sector, associations are often called upon to provide services previously insured by governments. While this may improve the delivery of some public goods to the extent that the services offered are more focused on the needs of the people concerned and managed in a more flexible way, States should not be relieved of their responsibility to ensure that all members of society have access. to these public goods ensuring their quality. This responsibility includes ensuring a stable, long-term financial base for organizations that perform government-like duties.

Various associations and foundations are active at European level. They contribute to economic and social cohesion and to the development of European integration. Even the work of those active only at national or regional level is often significantly affected by European policies. There is a widespread desire within the voluntary sector to be consulted more systematically by the European institutions and to obtain a better, simpler and more effective legal framework.

II. The importance of volunteering

This Commission communication highlights precisely how the importance of volunteering is increasing. In the four largest economies of the EU, non-profit operating expenditure is between 2 and 4.8% of GNP. It is a sector that has also been a major source of employment. In the 1980s, one out of every seven new jobs was created by the industry and in Germany one out of every eight-nine jobs. The sector also provides supply-side benefits, volunteers pushing themselves to seek employment on the traditional labor market and offering skilled work experience for the unemployed. However, this communication not only examines the economic importance of volunteering, but also recognizes its social and political significance in the development of a cohesive and inclusive European society based on active citizenship. The importance is underlined by the declaration attached to the Amsterdam Treaty which recognizes "the important contribution of voluntary activities to the development of social solidarity". However, the Amsterdam Treaty has unfortunately not clarified the legal basis of the relationship between the EU and the sector.

III. Strengthen the dialogue with the sector

In its communication, the Commission announces its intention to further develop the dialogue with volunteering. This is only to be welcomed, as dialogue has proved to be a valuable tool for facilitating the sector's access to information on the EU strategy regarding its work. The industry's desire to be consulted on any issue and all decisions that could affect its business is legitimate and should be welcomed by the Commission and Parliament.

Obviously, this dialogue must be supported with adequate financial resources. The new budget line for promoting cooperation with these associations is therefore of particular importance for the further development of the dialogue.

In order to produce a system that is more sensitive to the needs of associations, the Commission's idea that their tax framework should be clearer and simpler should be supported. The shift of priorities from direct to indirect taxation has created a twofold problem for associations in some Member States. The reduction in income tax rates has resulted in a reduction in the importance of tax-effective donation methods, while the increase in VAT has resulted in an increase in the costs associated with the provision of services. The complexity of the VAT system and the amounts to be paid by associations as irrecoverable VAT are of particular concern. The Commission should examine the possibility of a VAT refund scheme for associations, coupled with an extremely low rate of VAT on disbursements. In this perspective, a comprehensive review of the tax and legal status of these organizations is needed. However, such a comprehensive review must neither lead to the abolition of the exemptions under Article 13 of the Sixth VAT Directive nor to the application of other commercial taxes to voluntary organizations benefiting from a super-reduced VAT rate.

V. Volunteering and the Structural Funds

The communication details some of the problems facing associations, including access to programs co-financed under the Structural Funds, a subject not unknown to the European institutions. The need to set disbursement targets can also create problems for associations if they do not reach a success rate of 100%, a very high probability having to deal with some of the most disadvantaged groups in society. In such circumstances, there is a recourse mechanism for the resources already allocated to these categories. While commendable in other circumstances, a more flexible approach would perhaps be needed when dealing with associations. It also often happens that when associations obtain funding from the European Social Fund, actual payment is often delayed.

The creation of a special fund, as suggested by the Commission, would help reduce the negative effect of these delays by pre-financing certain projects for which grants have been applied for. In this context, a further indication for the future objectives of the Structural Funds in volunteering could be the introduction of micro-financing of programs, similar to that foreseen for PHARE and TACIS. This could also be used to develop transnational voluntary partnerships between associations within the EU and Central and Eastern European countries. The need to include volunteering in the enlargement process is more evident when one considers the role these associations play in providing a sense of citizenship in Eastern countries. This "bottom-up" approach would further strengthen the importance of such organizations in terms of their role in society. It would also require a more flexible approach to the objectives of the Structural Funds and the results they require - especially in the first years of operation - but it would be a way to demonstrate EU solidarity with the citizens of Central and Eastern Europe.

Micro-funding of programs could also be used to finance volunteering between existing Member States. The proposed observatory, as a central body that collects statistical and other sector information, could also act as a stimulus, identifying suitable counterparts in other states. In addition to the observatory, this role could be assumed by existing bodies (BC-Net, Europartenariat). The Commission's intention to facilitate access to volunteering for these organizations should be welcomed. Once the counterparts have been identified, it takes time to develop the partnership in terms of understanding their respective roles and responsibilities and a sense of project sharing. Micro-funding would allow these partnerships to develop before full funding. It would also allow projects to "fail" without leading to a significant loss of income. On the other hand, associations should also obtain access to funds and tools intended for SMEs if they operate in a competitive environment and with similar methods.

In this context, the adoption of the draft directive on the legal status of the European association and the respective draft directives for the European foundation and the European mutual assistance society constitute an important prerequisite to facilitate the expansion of the "cross-border activities" of the associations. .

YOU. Volunteering and training

It must be ensured that people working in associations and foundations providing public goods are sufficiently trained for their jobs, especially if they provide services previously insured by the Member States. Especially in these cases, public funding should be provided for training purposes. Such training could also take the form of exchanges between organizations, access to new technologies, exchange of best practices. Such training is also valuable for the economy as a whole, as those working within such organizations acquire skills and experience that are suited to the wider labor market.

The Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs and Industrial Policy invites the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs, which is responsible for the matter, to include the following conclusions in its report:

1. welcomes the communication from the Commission on promoting the role of associations and foundations in Europe

2.calls on the Commission to examine the desirability of creating a special fund for such associations and foundations, including micro-funding of the programs

3. Asks, under the current revision of the VAT regime, to examine the problems to which associations are exposed, due to the complexities of the regime and the reduction of tax incentives for donations following reductions in direct taxes

4. Calls on the Council and the Commission to proceed in an attempt to establish a legal status at EU level for associations, foundations, voluntary organizations and mutual assistance societies

5. Encourages Member States to develop public financial instruments and a fiscal framework for the "third sector" that can contribute to the emergence of "social venture capital"

6. highlights in particular the importance of local action for any synergies between private companies, the public and "third sector" initiatives

7. Stresses the importance of further comparative research, transnational communication and collective reflection on social, ecological and cultural initiatives as well as the promotion of qualified surveillance and consultancy structures for the systematic development of the "third sector".

(Article 147 of the Regulation)

for the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs

on the Commission communication on promoting the role of associations and foundations in Europe (COM (97) 0241 - C4-0546 / 97) (Ghilardotti report)

Committee on Legal Affairs and Citizens' Rights

Draftsman: Hon. Jean-Pierre Cot

At its meeting of 20-21 May 1997, the Committee on Legal Affairs and Citizens' Rights appointed Hon. Cot.

At its meetings on 2 and 3 November 1997 and 18 and 19 May 1998 it examined the communication from the Commission as well as the draft opinion.

At the last meeting indicated, it approved the following conclusions unanimously.

The following were present for the vote: De Clercq, President Malangré Vice-President Cot, draftsman Añoveros Trias de Bes (replacing Mr Ferri), Barzanti, Berger, C. Casini, Cassidy, Falconer (replacing Mr D. Martin), Oddy, Thors, Ullmann and Verde i Aldea.

1. The Commission communication under examination is the result, according to the Commission itself, of "an in-depth investigation to gain a better understanding of the sector and identify the issues that need to be addressed". This survey, which is dealt with in Annex I of the communication, aims to identify the role of associations and foundations in the most varied sectors, such as that of social action, education and research, culture and leisure, international activities, civil rights, health care, philanthropy and voluntary work, the environment and also in the economic-professional sector (1). It follows that this is a sector in full expansion from the point of view of the assets held, the employment opportunities it offers and the geographical vastness of the activities that depend on it. It is also true that the number of jobs generated by the sector is far from negligible: in fact, with one million employed in Germany, 800,000 in France, 400,000 in Italy and 900,000 in the United Kingdom, it represents about 10% of tertiary sector jobs in the countries concerned. The development phase that it is currently going through translates into the need to increase the share of activities that are carried out in partnership with other associations and / or foundations on a community scale. It appears, according to the results of the investigation, that a quarter of the "sample" used would already be involved to varying degrees in partnerships with organizations from other Community Member States (2). As for the future prospects, 46% of the respondents stated that they foresee the possibility of concluding international partnership agreements in the future (3).

2. However, the communication does not propose real solutions at Community level: to quote the Commission, its document "proposes a series of measures that can be taken at the level of the Member States, but does not intend to impose specific solutions or actions on them. (.) However, in accordance with the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality, there are objectives that can be dealt with at Community level (.) "(4) about which the Commission makes some proposals in its conclusions. However, the latter do not contain any specific actions but only some exhortations aimed at encouraging the development of the sector, dialogue and partnership between the various bodies. In any case, they demonstrate the Commission's intention to "organize a series of conferences and seminars to discuss this Communication and the issues arising from it" (5).

3. Wishing to formulate an overall assessment of the communication in question, there would be very few reasons for satisfaction. Indeed, it is sad to note that most of the concrete problems "such as sources of financing, international cooperation, the modernization of national legislation and even the need to link associations and foundations to developments in the information society" would not arise. more and in any case no longer with such intensity, if these bodies had been endowed with an instrument of cooperation at Community level. We refer here to the statute for European associations which Parliament had strongly recommended in two reports prepared by our committee: the FONTAINE report on non-profit associations (doc. A2-196 / 86) and the VAYSSADE report on the statute for a European cooperative society. and other enterprises in the social economy in general (doc. A3-312 / 90), a text that had been approved with another VAYSSADE report which referred to the statutes of European associations, cooperatives and mutual societies (doc. A3- 0001/93 OJ C 42 of 15.2.1993, pp. 84-122).

4. The communication under consideration raises questions on several points which highlight the need to endow these bodies with a statute at Community level. This is particularly evoked when:

- it is stated that in the absence of a legal and fiscal context on a European or national scale, associations and foundations find it difficult to exercise their respective activities (6)

- emphasis is placed on the growing role they play in the current economic and social context, which leads them to engage from now on in "provision of services" which up to now have been ensured by the public authorities (7)

- the problems raised by the lack of legal recognition of such organizations in the other Member States are discussed (8)

- finally we arrive at the observation that associations, due to their disinterested nature, feel confined within national borders, which highlights the need to find appropriate forms of international cooperation, especially through partnership (9).

5. To better illustrate the difficulties arising from the absence of a coherent legal and fiscal framework, the Commission is dedicating Annexes II and III of its communication (pp. 26-83) to a detailed study on the subject. This is a valuable contribution to the understanding of the complex - and extremely diversified - phenomenon of associations, something which constitutes further proof of the need to establish a single instrument capable of developing cross-border cooperation in the best possible way and freeing up the inestimable and unused capacities represented by the associative phenomenon.

6. What is worrying about the Commission's approach is rightly the fact that there is no reference to the "reactivation" of the proposals relating to the statute for a European association. In particular, it would be regrettable that the measures envisaged by the communication - which are also proposed by making explicit reference to the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality - were not, albeit progressively, supplanted by proposals of the Commission itself relating to the statute of associations and other companies of the social economy. In such a case one would actually have the feeling that the communication contains only a series of half measures in relation to the main objective. In other words, we would be faced with an observation of powerlessness and failure that the Commission would try to cover by means of measures devoid of any obligation towards the Member States: would they be able to feed our illusions? The Commission certainly does not spare its criticisms of the public authorities of the Member States, given that the latter have not "fully assumed their responsibility towards the association sector" (10) and have not been able to "ensure that it is in the best possible position. to contribute to the common good "(11). These criticisms are perfectly acceptable, but it would be time for the Commission to also question what has been done at Community level, especially by the decision-making authorities, to promote the role of associations. Accepting one's share of responsibility and clearly explaining the reasons that led to the current stalemate would undoubtedly help to address the problems to be resolved more effectively.

7. However, if we want to be more optimistic, we can see in the communication from the Commission an attempt to keep the issues specific to associations and foundations always topical. The extreme complexity of the associative phenomenon - according to the Commission the sector of associations is certainly the "most difficult to circumscribe and to define precisely" (12) - justifies it. It is therefore an effort that must aim at finding provisional answers to a problem to which the definitive and adequate answer will come only on the day when the Commission is able to provide associations and foundations with an instrument capable of ensuring their best possible conditions for cross-border cooperation.

8. To this end, the Commission informs us of its intention to "organize an extended dialogue with the sector, the European Parliament, the Committee of the Regions, the Economic and Social Committee, the Member States and other interested operators to discuss in depth the issues illustrated "in its communication (13). We welcome this intention, but express doubts as to the mobilizing effects that the Commission document can have. To arouse them, it would be necessary to make concrete proposals aimed at mobilizing all the social actors on the issue. On the other hand, as regards the Parliament, it is to be feared that such a mobilization has not already taken place: it is regrettable in fact that the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs, responsible for the merits, has given up giving the desirable diffusion to such mobilization having simply contented itself with examining the matter under an accelerated procedure.

The Committee on Legal Affairs and Citizens' Rights proposes the following conclusions:

A. recognizes the interest of the analysis presented by the Commission on the role of associations and foundations in Europe, especially with regard to job creation, as well as the obstacles to their activity: absence of a common or harmonized legal and fiscal framework problems posed by the lack of legal recognition in other Member States, etc.

B. believes, like the Commission, that the principles of proportionality and subsidiarity cannot provide an answer to the elimination of these strictly European obstacles, on the other hand, it is amazed at the absence of any concrete proposal in the communication

C. regrets that the proposed regulations relating to the statute of European associations, cooperatives and mutual societies have not yet reached the Council's milestone wonders about the Commission's attitude in this regard reserves the right, as committee responsible for the merits, to take any initiative, especially pursuant to Article 61 of the Regulation

D. welcomes the debate initiated by the Commission with the associative sector on the basis of its communication calls for the sectors concerned to be mobilized to demand the adoption of the European legal framework which is required and proposes that Parliament for its part organize a public hearing to identify problems and suggestions to make in this regard.


Multidisciplinary approach and strategic dialogue for the promotion of food systems and sustainable development

by Francesco Rampa, Head of the SFS Program (Sustainable Food Systems) at ECDPM


One of the best ways to promote food variety within our food systems is to support the production, processing, distribution and consumption of more sustainable horticulture (especially in Africa, where most of the world's population lives. in conditions of poverty and without access to food security). Another way is to contribute to the territorial integration between urban and rural areas by relating all the actors operating in the food system, from producers to consumers, and allowing a selected share of direct farmers and small suppliers to better meet urban demand. and regional, in order to take advantage of the promising African food economies. Small business owners can indeed be proponents of more sustainable food systems as much as private sector development initiatives. Shortening food value chains to meet the growing urban demand for quality fresh food can have a positive multiplier effect on the African food economy both upstream (increasing effective demand for knowledge, products and services) and downstream (increasing jobs and the potential creation of added value in processing, logistics and distribution).

That's why, in July 2017, we started SASS, Food Systems and Sustainable Development. This two-year dialogue and research project, funded by the Italian Ministry of Education, University and Research, is led by a consortium of four Italian universities and by ECDPM, which is working on translating the research results. in political decision-making processes and concrete and effective partnership agreements. Our multidisciplinary research aims to develop knowledge, strategic dialogues and partnership agreements that can contribute to the growth of sustainable food systems (SFS) in Africa and beyond. In a context characterized by international debates and initiatives on sustainability and food diversification, SASS focuses on the analysis of the challenges and opportunities in Kenya (Naivasha region) and Tanzania (Arusha and Iringa areas) for production, marketing and consumption of "traditional crops with a high natural value"or indigenous vegetables (i.e. NUS, Neglected and Underutilized Species," undervalued and underutilized species ") in light of their higher nutritional value, their greater resilience to climate change and increased consumer demand, including in cities As has already emerged from an ever-growing literature of the sector and from an increasingly numerous case history around the world, inserting NUS into local agri-food systems can improve their nutritional results, resilience to climate change, the profitability of direct farmers and respect for the local food culture.

SASS is based on these facts and intends to contribute to the efforts of the SFS with three innovative methodological approaches: tackle all the dimensions of sustainability at the same time; initiate a multidisciplinary, concrete dialogue and research aimed at a multiplicity of stakeholders. Ten months after the launch of SASS, we have already learned a lot, including about each of these three approaches.

First of all, we discovered that (although a kind of impetus on SFS is emerging from international political decision-making circles and new local stakeholders) the already extensive literature on the subject demonstrates that truly address economic, social and environmental sustainability at the same time it is as difficult for research as it is for practice. To give an example, most NUS research examines individual sustainability claims (eg best resilience to climate change) and specific national or subnational contexts (without cross-border or transnational comparisons). With SASS, therefore, after long discussions within the consortium, we decided to try to work simultaneously (both from a theoretical and a practical point of view) on these three "standard" dimensions of sustainability, as well as on "institutional and political" sustainability ( because even "technical" solutions must be based on institutional and political realities). So, even without pretending to provide rigid definitions and after taking into consideration many ongoing initiatives similar to the SASS project, we felt it was important to define a food system "the system that brings together all the elements and activities concerning the production, processing, distribution, preparation and consumption of food and the results of these activities, including their social, economic and environmental consequences "and a sustainable food system" a system that simultaneously satisfies the needs of society (individuals), economy (profit) and the environment (the planet) over time "(adopting in many ways the IPES 2016 framework).Similarly, on a practical level, we must seek solutions by collaborating with local stakeholders who seek to address multiple dimensions of sustainability at the same time and are well introduced into the institutional environment. According to local stakeholders, for example, market systems (including certification and labeling for the sustainable promotion of NUS) and other components of a policy environment that allows diversified diets to be made available and attractive to consumers , are essential elements for achieving sustainable food systems. Among the possible solutions, therefore, we are hypothesizing to place on the market labels that simultaneously recognize the environmental, social and economic sustainability of local horticulture.

The second lesson we learned working on the SASS project is about multidisciplinary dialogue and research, concrete and aimed at a multiplicity of stakeholders. Properly planning and undertaking multidisciplinary research takes a lot of time and energy. We all agree that, in a food sustainability approach, keeping different themes and disciplines together is essential, but on a practical level it is difficult to merge the research of economists, anthropologists, nutritionists, microbiologists, sociologists, etc. In fact, different researchers have mentality and methods specific to their discipline, different incentive systems to guide their analysis choices and even different scientific languages, and breaking these "watertight compartments" is difficult. But our discussions with local stakeholders and our initial investigations in Kenya and Tanzania have made it clear that, in light of the multiple challenges posed by food systems, there is no alternative to multidisciplinary research. Furthermore, research alone is not enough, and the SASS project has also understood the need for a concrete dialogue with many different stakeholders, where mutual communication and agreements are clear, so that local partners can help us find solutions. and allow us to disseminate our goals and results in a simple way that can be understood by all involved. This approach is particularly important and innovative for Italy, where the academic world, policy makers, companies and civil society are not used to working closely together for sustainable development.

Finally, in light of the objectives of the SASS project and drawing on ECDPM's long experience, we are also learning to link research to programmatic lines and programmatic lines to practice in the context of the SFS. Therefore, while the various research teams are engaged in carrying out their respective technical analyzes, SASS is also collaborating on solutions with local stakeholders in order to improve policies, value chain practices and investments. That is why we have fine-tuned our research in such a way that the results of the SASS project are able to inform, influence and support numerous political and investment decision-making processes, which will take place at global, regional, national and territorial levels. By selecting three food systems in East Africa, our ambition is indeed to be able to better understand how to improve their sustainability locally, as well as to learn lessons for other countries and regions, in order to provide international initiatives in the field of SFS innovative approaches and useful advice based on facts.


The territories in the network: the Sicilian Region and the Bruno Kessler Foundation together for new research projects

Start a collaboration relationship between Trentino Alto Adige and Sicily, for the benefit of both territories. This is the result of a technical seminar of comparison and in-depth analysis promoted by Programming Department of the Sicilian region in collaboration with the Bruno Kessler Foundation, a research institution of the Autonomous Province of Trento that operates in the scientific, technological and human sciences fields.

The meeting, which took place yesterday via videoconference, confirmed the availability for effective and effective new collaborations and development opportunities for the research system in Sicily, following the Trentino experience. Energy system, micro and nanotechnologies, new ways of incentives for businesses is Information and Communication Technologies for the Public Administration. These are the issues underlying the discussion, for the launch of research projects at the service of citizens.

For the Sicilian region intervened: Presidency Authority for Technological Innovation (general manager Vincenzo Falgares) Department of Productive Activities (general manager Carmelo Frittitta) Department ofAgriculture (general manager Dario Caltabellotta) Department ofPower (general manager Calogero Foti) Department of Infrastructure, mobility and transport (general manager Fulvio Bellomo) Department ofInstruction, university and right to study (general manager Antonio Valenti) Department for Healthcare activities is Epidemiological Observatory (general manager Maria Letizia Di Liberti) Department for Strategic planning (general manager Mario La Rocca) Evaluation and verification unit of public investments.

The following took part in the meeting: Research centers is Sicilian universities Province of Trento (Michele Michelini, manager) Kessler Foundation (Andrea Simoni, general secretary Paolo Traverso, Luigi Crema, Pierluigi Bellutti, Marco Pistore, Alessandro Cimatti, Fabio Antonelli, Stefano Forti, Andrea Nicolini).

Opening the proceedings, bringing the greetings of the Sicilian Region, was the Director General of the Programming Department, Federico Lasco. “Sicily is an interesting shore - he underlined - in a broader perspective. This collaboration with the Kessler Foundation could broaden the horizon of microtechnologies. Sicily has the skills and the tools to be able to do so ".

There has been talk of hydrogen and the challenges of decarbonization, school, health, public administration, sustainability, transformation of digital technologies, which proved so important during the health emergency from COVID-19. A topic on which - it was illustrated during the debate - we need to invest more.

The Sicilian Region, the Province of Trento and the Kessler Foundation intend to promote an agreement that allows for the realization projects both aimed at companies and aimed at research organizations, and also offer solutions to specific problems of the island in accordance with the Smart specialization strategy (S3 Sicily).


Research master plan for agriculture and the food supply chain

Research conducted in the public interest, the results of which are necessary for the Federal Administration to fulfill its tasks, is called public research. Its multiannual programs are developed in the form of cross-cutting management plans. The Federal Council has mandated the Federal Office for Agriculture (FOAG) to draw up a research master plan for the policy area of ​​agriculture, which has since become the research master plan for agriculture and the food supply chain. for the years 2017-2020. On the basis of several elements, this plan describes the place of public research in the research landscape in general.

On behalf of the FOAG, the World Food System Center of the ETH Zurich has drawn up a comprehensive picture of future world and national developments in agricultural production and population nutrition, from which significant challenges for public research can be deduced. Furthermore, an analysis of international strategies shows that the focal points of international and national research largely coincide. Therefore, on the one hand, the excellent skills of Swiss research can be integrated into international research programs such as Horizon 2020, on the other hand Switzerland, in the framework of international research cooperation, has access to the latest scientific knowledge and developments.

Through national strategies, the Federal Council anticipates social, technological and economic change as well as new challenges. The strategies are implemented through action plans and measures and include important research aspects. Some strategies orient their objectives within the food system along the value chain, such as the Action Plan for Risk Reduction and Sustainable Use of Plant Protection Products, the Plant Selection Strategy as well as the Food Chain Strategy. Another group of strategies goes from the food system to other sectors of the national context. One example is the Antibiotic Resistance Strategy. A third group of strategies focuses on global and intersectoral challenges and significantly affects the evolution of the food system. In this regard, the Sustainable Development strategy should be mentioned in particular.

The variety of topics concerning agriculture and the food supply chain is reflected in the number and orientation of Swiss research actors, where the different institutions can integrate in an appropriate way thanks to their different orientations in the fields of basic research, basic research practice-oriented and applied research. An analysis of the research activities also shows a huge potential for synergies. To exploit them, the Swiss research landscape offers numerous forms of interconnection which, depending on the orientation, favor scientific exchange between research actors or promote inter and transdisciplinary collaboration. In addition, various instruments of the Swiss promotional institutions support the collaboration. Coordinated research is promoted through the National Research Programs and National Research Centers, while the Commission for Technology and Innovation (CTI) acts as a link between science and the private economy.

Innovation is increasingly affirming itself as a key theme for the further development of a competitive agriculture and food chain, efficient in the use of resources and sustainable. Particularly important is an innovation process involving all actors in research, training, consultancy and agricultural practice up to consumers. If users are already involved in the definition phase of development and research projects, the developments can be better oriented to their needs and take greater account of the specific social, economic and ecological context of an innovation. For a more efficient use of financial resources and potential synergies, the current FOAG promotion tools in the future will need to be more closely connected.

As the Confederation's center of expertise in the area of ​​agricultural policy, the FOAG has the fundamental task of promptly formulating its research needs with regard to agricultural policy developments and evaluating agricultural policy measures and identifying suitable instruments to conduct these researches. To this end, the Office may stipulate periodic performance contracts with agronomic research partners and confer specific research mandates and grants, among which the annual performance agreements with Agroscope and the four-year performance mandate with the FiBL. For the mandates and research grants, the FOAG funding costs for the period 2017-2020 amount to 48 million francs, of which approximately 29 million go to the FiBL. The financing costs for Agroscope's public research during the same period amounted to around 434 million francs.

Agroscope is the Confederation's center of expertise for agronomic research and its research objectives include a sustainable and resilient agri-food system, a healthy diet with quality foodstuffs and a pristine environment for the benefit of society, politics and practice. Agroscope's tasks include research for the further development of sectoral policies in agriculture and the food chain and for the practice, research and development of products and methods for actors in agriculture and the food chain as well as the exchange of knowledge and technology transfer. Furthermore, Agroscope, within the framework of the provisions of the law, carries out executive tasks and supports the FOAG by providing guidance on implementation.

FiBL is a charitable foundation whose goal is to scientifically improve organic farming methods and provide advice to farmers. Its tasks include research for Swiss organic farmers, for upstream and downstream industry, as well as for sustainable land use, research and development of products and services, research and consultancy for emerging countries and consulting and training as well as services for the implementation of the Swiss Organic Farming Ordinance are being developed.

The agricultural policy strategy aims at the higher goal of a sustainable agri-food sector in the time horizon of 2025. The strategy is implemented according to reference values ​​that provide perspectives for Swiss agriculture and the food chain. These reference values ​​are defined through the policy for the positive trend of sales on current and future markets, for the preservation of the rural landscape, the production of foodstuffs and the environmental performance respectful of resources as well as for the entrepreneurial development of companies in the agriculture and in the food chain. By connecting the three policy objectives that provide perspectives, sustainable forms of production, products and performance are obtained that are competitive, have a high quality and whose realization and origin are transparent for all. Agriculture and the food chain are both users and custodians of production resources.

Agroscope implements this strategy by focusing on three fields of activity: i) improving competitiveness, ii) more sustainable use of resources, iii) expanding opportunities and reducing risks, which it deals with through 17 strategic research fields (CRS). The CRSs are materialized in the 2018-2021 work program.


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