Track 2: Policy & Society

International policy instruments and governance of the bioeconomy and circular economy

Young African-american politician explaining his opinion to audience during conference
Timing: November 18, 4-6 p.m. (CET)



University of Bonn, Institute of Economic Structures Research (GWS), Germany

Boston University, USA

Thünen Institute, Germany

Institute for European Environmental Policy (IEEP)

The Bio-based Industries Consortium (BIC)


Jan Börner

Professor for Economics of Sustainable Land Use and Bioeconomy at the University of Bonn, Germany

Christian Lutz

Managing Director Gesellschaft für Wirtschaftliche Strukturforschung (GWS) mbH in Osnabrück

Thematic focus

There is broad agreement that a global transition towards a sustainable and circular bioeconomy requires policies and governance approaches at local, national, and international scale to be coherently aligned. Bioeconomy governance includes both enabling and regulatory dimensions. Enabling governance is needed to promote sustainable technological and institutional innovation processes, whereas regulatory governance is required to steer bioeconomy towards desired outcomes in economic, social, and environmental dimensions and to minimize sustainability tradeoffs. As the global bioeconomy increasingly relies on international trade and innovation transfer, existing national governance mechanisms may be insufficiently prepared to address these challenges.

This workshop focuses on identifying bio- and circular economy governance gaps at various scales of governance, including the international level, and discusses potential tools and approaches to address these gaps. Specifically, the workshop is organized around the following three thematic threads:

      1. Clarifying the governance concept – what needs to be governed in bio-/circular economy and towards which outcomes?
      2. What are the governance needs/gaps at local, national, and international scale?
      3. What tools and actions are needed to address governance needs/gaps especially at the international level?


Virtual workshop format

Before, during, and after the workshop we plan to engage the audience through the following means:

      1. Pre-conference videos on tools to enhance bio-/circular economy governance (e.g. monitoring and scenario tools, stakeholder engagement) – see provisional list below
      2. Live streamed panel debate with selected international experts
      3. Live audience interaction on critical discussion points, e.g. using slido
      4. Regional working groups to identify region specific governance gaps
      5. Post-conference publication of a policy brief with key messages


All times refer to CET. Current time:

16:00 – 16:30: Impulse talks by invited panelists

16:30 – 17:00: Moderated discussion using audience interaction tools

17:00 – 17:40: 3-6 moderated parallel working groups per world region

17:40 – 18:00: Plenary with working group syntheses

More details and speakers will follow soon!

Parallel working groups

(number and clustering depends on participant registration)

      1. EU, Eastern Europe, Russian Federation, Baltic states
      2. Canada, Mexico, USA
      3. South and Central America
      4. Africa – moderators Janosch Förster
      5. Asia – moderators
      6. Australia, New Zealand, Oceania

Issues covered in each regional working group:

      • enabling policy and governance needs, barriers, and suggested action at national and international levels.
      • regulatory policy and governance needs, barriers, and suggested action at national and international levels.
      • strengths and weaknesses of monitoring & scenario tools to support policy and governance decisions.

Digital tools such as a white board and polls will be used.