The International Bioeconomy Forum (IBF) had its second plenary meeting 26-27 May 2019 in Vancouver, Canada. Representatives of member and observatory states discussed the aims and vision of the IBF and its role in relation to other global bioeconomy initiatives. Several EC representatives such as John Bell, Director Bioeconomy of DG RTD, Jyrki Suominen, Deputy Head of Strategic Unit, Bioeconomy Directorate, as well as Roman Brenne and Marios Markakis, both from the DG RTD participated.

Leaders of the four working groups – Plant Health, ICT, Forest Bioeconomy and Food Systems Microbiomes – presented the objectives and roadmap of their working group. MicrobiomeSupport coordinator, Angela Sessitsch, reported about the general aims of the CSA and activities of the last months such as the WP1 Common Ground Workshop and WP2 workshops on Microbiome Definition and Microbiome Biobanking, which took place in March 2019 in Vienna and Tulln, Austria, respectively.

Emmanuelle Maguin, co-coordinator of the CSA MicrobiomeSupport, and Angela Sessitsch facilitated breakout sessions to discuss the role of the IBF in a global bioeconomy and on defining the vision for the IBF.

Finally, best practice examples of international cooperation were presented such as the AORA initiative facilitated through the Galway Statement on Atlantic Ocean Cooperation.

The topic of microbiomes in food systems and the bioeconomy was identified as a major, emerging theme of interest for IBF members. Furthermore, this topic is unique in global bioeconomy initiatives and has the potential to be an interesting topic for international cooperation.