The Wood Processing Industry has been identified as one of the priority sectors with innovative potential within the framework of the Strategy for Smart Specialization (S3). S3 has been ongoing for several years and is part of Albania's obligations in the context of the EU accession negotiation process, particularly in Chapter 20 "Enterprises and Industrial Policies" and Chapter 25 "Science and Research." It is also part of the EU's agenda for the Western Balkans in the fields of research, innovation, education, culture, youth, and sports for 2021-27, as well as the Western Balkans 2021-24 Action Plan within the Berlin Process. This is a unique strategy that involves a different methodological approach compared to other strategies, including the involvement of stakeholders from the early stages of its drafting.
In this context, the National S3 Team, under the special guidance of Deputy Prime Minister Ms. Belinda Balluku and with the support of the Union of Albanian Producers, organized a roundtable discussion on "Wood Processing Industry" on April 28, 2023, at the Ministry of Infrastructure and Energy. Invited participants included representatives from the business sector, civil society, academia, as well as central and local government, who expressed their views on the development of the sector through innovation, its role, challenges, and opportunities in wood processing.
Around 20 representatives from various sectors participated in the event.
The meeting began with welcoming remarks from members of the panel: Ms. Linda Pustina, Chair of the National S3 Team and Advisor to the Deputy Prime Minister; Mr. Arben Shkodra, Secretary-General of the Union of Albanian Producers and Expert of the National S3 Team for Drafting the Smart Specialization Strategy; Ms. Eralda Shtylla, Sector Responsible, Competitiveness Sector, Directorate of Business Promotion Policies, Ministry of Finance and Economy; Mr. Leonidha Peri, Dean, Faculty of Forestry Sciences, Agricultural University of Tirana.
This industry has represented and continues to represent a significant part of the Albanian economy, so further development in this field is of great interest to the country. The discussions covered various aspects of the sector, including:
1. Challenges, opportunities, and prospects related to the strategic measures needed and the role of policymaking in sector development.
2. The use of innovative technologies in business.
3. Clusters and the potential for their development.
4. The production of specialized products.
5. The role of human capital, professional, university, and lifelong education.
6. Emigration and brain drain, as well as the need for greater engagement of the diaspora.
7. Further development of scientific research and innovation, and more.
Participants provided valuable contributions by presenting the sector's needs and possible solutions for intelligent development.
The discussions held during the roundtable discussions will serve as the basis for a national workshop in the field of Wood Processing Industry.