Mountain Innovation Fair 2023

Mountains INNOVATE: a collaborative space sharing the spirit of innovation for climate change adaptation and sustainable mountain development

  • English
  • Date: 23-25.10.2023
  • Place: NOI Techpark - Bolzano Italy
  • Typology: Mountain Innovation Fair 2023
  • Info:

    The First Mountain Innovation Fair was hosted at Eurac Research by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the United Nations University through the UNU-EHS Global Mountain Safeguard Research (GLOMOS) programme, with funding from the Austrian Development Cooperation (ADC).

Dealing with remoteness, a rugged environment, exposed to natural hazards and a fast-changing climate, mountain areas have always been challenged to keep dynamic in sustaining their livelihoods and surrounding environment. Continuously, unique solutions are being developed and implemented, proving that demanding living conditions can be turned into engines of innovation. But how about sharing and exchanging practical experiences to unleash the full potential of sustainable pathways?

The First Mountain Innovation Fair has been planned to offer a buzzing, interactive and collaborative workspace to exchange on challenges and successes of innovative approaches, with lively discussions and practical demonstrations. Out-of-the box thinking, novel approaches and facilitating wider access to innovations have been the core of the Fair. Meet your peers, learn about and co-create mountain innovations with a potential for replication in various regions and contexts.

Mountain Innovation Fair© Eurac Research | Oscar Diodoro

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© Eurac Research - Andrea De Giovanni
Opening Mountain Innovation Fair© Eurac Research - Andrea De Giovanni
© Eurac Research - Andrea De Giovanni
© Eurac Research - Andrea De Giovanni
Conversazione tra Stefan Schneiderbauer e Anja Blacha durante la Mountain Innovation Fair 2023 a Bolzano.© Eurac Research - Andrea De Giovanni
Mountain Innovation Fair 2© Eurac Research - Andrea De Giovanni
© Eurac Research - Andrea De Giovanni
© Eurac Research - Andrea De Giovanni
© Eurac Research - Andrea De Giovanni
© Eurac Research - Andrea De Giovanni
© Eurac Research - Andrea De Giovanni
© - Sarisher Mann

What to expect?

The aims of the Mountain Innovation Fair are

  • to connect mountain stakeholders and innovators from mountain regions worldwide, focusing on the South Caucasus, the Carpathians, Southeast Europe, the Alps, East Africa, and Southern Africa
  • exchange on and learn from practical experiences with promising innovative approaches for climate change adaptation and sustainable mountain development
  • offer a creative space where interregional dialogue will be inspired by collaborating on a common innovative approach in a workshop setting
  • facilitate development of new innovative ideas contributing to achieving the 2030 Agenda in mountain areas and
  • award one mountain innovation with seed funding to be adapted and applied in other mountain regions.

Participants from countries eligible for Official Development Assistance can apply for funded participation. For more details see “Costs and Funding” below.


Monday 23 October 2023

15:00 - 18:00

NOI Techpark, Seminar Room 1

Set up material (e.g. Poster, Model, Product, Images, etc.) at Marketplace

18:00 - 20:30

NOI Techpark, Noisteria

Mountain Aperitivo: Icebreaker and Get-Together

Facilitation: Sabine McCallum (UNEP) and Stefan Schneiderbauer, (UNU-EHS & Eurac Research - GLOMOS)

Tuesday 24 October 2023

8:30 - 9:00

NOI Techpark Foyer


09:00 - 09:45

NOI Techpark Seminar room 2

Opening ceremony

  • Ulrich Stofner, Head of Directorate Europe, Innovation, Research and Communication, Province of South Tyrol
  • Sandra Wibmer, Senior Advisor Environment and Climate Austrian Development Agency
  • Harald Egerer, Head of Office, UNEP Vienna Programme Office
  • Roland Psenner, President of Eurac Research
  • Robertina Brajanoska, CEO at Macedonian Ecological Society
  • Nina Shatberashvili, Executive Director Sustainable Caucasus
  • Sam Kanyamibwa, CEO Albertine Rift Conservation Society

Facilitation: Paola Fontanella Pisa, GLOMOS Programme


NOI Techpark Seminar room 2


At the frontline of climate change in mountains
Anja Blacha, Mountaineer and polar explorer

10:00 - 10:15

NOI Techpark Seminar Rooms 2 + 1

Meet your peers - coffee break

10:15 - 11:45

NOI Techpark Seminar Rooms 1

Marketplace: Presentations of innovative approaches
3 groups á 30 min

11:45 - 12:00

NOI Techpark Seminar Rooms 1

Mountain Partnership Brief: Boosting mountain producers’ livelihoods
Sara Manuelli, Advocacy and Outreach Officer, Mountain Partnership Secretariat

12:00 - 13:30

NOI Techpark Foyer


13:30 - 13:40

NOI Techpark Seminar Room 2


13:40 - 16:00

NOI Techpark Seminar Rooms 2 + 3

Small group Workshops co-creating innovative approaches for a fictive mountain community

Facilitation: UNEP, Eurac Research, UNU-EHS

16:00 - 17:30

NOI Techpark Laboratories

Visit to laboratories on-site (divided in two groups)

  • TerraXcube
  • Renewable Energy
17:30 - 24:00

Free evening | Explore Bolzano

Wednesday 25 October 2023

09:00 - 9:45

NOI Techpark Seminar Room 1

Echo from Day 1

Sustainable finance, a key to scale up positive impact and innovation
Claudia Belli, Head Inclusive Finance and Sustainability Advocacy, BNP Paribas

Banks and the Circular Economy: the economic model for a positive development
Luigi Eugenio Riccardo, Head of Circular Economy, Intesa Sanpaolo Innovation Center

09:45 - 10:45

NOI Techpark Seminar Rooms 1 + 2

Workshops to finalize innovation presentations for adaptation to climate change and sustainable mountain development

10:45 - 11:00

NOI Techpark Foyer

Coffee break

11:00 - 12:00

NOI Techpark Seminar room 1

Aim High Presentation:

Innovative approaches for adaptation to climate change and sustainable mountain development

12:00 - 12:30

NOI Techpark Seminar room 1

Mountain Innovation Award Ceremony

Facilitation: Mountain Research and Development team, CDE Bern

12:30 - 12:45

NOI Techpark Seminar room 1

Wrap up by Eurac Research, UNU-EHS, UNEP

12:45 - 14:00

Open lunch

Departur at 14:15

Field trip to innovative approaches in Caldaro/ Termeno
Departure from Sheraton Hotel by bus Meeting Point: in front of Four Points by Sheraton Hotel

15:00 - 16:30

Field trip to innovative approaches in Caldaro/ Termeno

Visit to Solos Aquaponik – Kompetenzzentrum

16:30 - 18:00

Field trip to innovative approaches in Caldaro/ Termeno

Visit to the Caldaro/Termeno area

18:00 - 22:00

Field trip to innovative approaches in Caldaro/ Termeno

Guided tour at Laimburg Experiment Center

  • Welcome speech by Michael Oberhuber, Director of the Laimburg Experiment Center

  • Speech by Wolfger Mayrhofer, Deputy Secretary General of the Alpine Convention

Dinner in the Stone Cellar at Laimburg


Back to Sheraton Hotel

Thursday 26 October 2023


Who can participate?

The Mountain Innovation Fair welcomes a limited number of selected participants upon registration. The organisers are looking for professionals and experts working on and with innovations in mountain areas, especially with the following backgrounds:

The target groups include:

  • Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) working in mountain areas
  • Community-based and non-governmental organizations
  • Development practitioners
  • Investors, donours, and impact funders
  • Policy stakeholders and representatives from competent authorities
  • Researchers and scientists with a focus on innovation in mountain areas

The organisers aim for a gender-balanced representation.

The Mountain Innovation Fair gathers experts mainly from the following mountain regions:

  • South Caucasus (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia)
  • East Africa (Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda)
  • Southern Africa (Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique South Africa)
  • European Alps (Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Slovenia, Switzerland)
  • Carpathians (Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovak Republic, Ukraine)
  • South-Eastern Europe (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo (ref. UNSC Res. 1244), Montenegro, North Macedonia)

Please submit your application (registration below) and share your innovation. It should be related to sustainable development and climate change adaptation efforts in mountain regions. The thematic emphasis of the fair is on:

  • Water,
  • Natural hazards and climate risk reduction,
  • Agriculture,
  • Energy
  • Mountain tourism

The selection of innovations to be presented at the Mountain Innovation Fair will be based on transparent eligibility criteria, including environmental, social and human rights considerations, by an independent Selection Committee.

A Mountain Innovation Award (seed funding) will be presented to the most innovative and scalable approach of the Fair.

Selection Criteria

The criteria taken into account by the Selection Committee are:

  • Regional coverage: Implemented in mountain areas in one or more of the target regions

  • Thematic coverage: Applied to one or more of the Fair’s themes: water, natural hazards and climate risk reduction, agriculture, energy and mountain tourism

  • Purpose/Relevance: Sustainable mountain development challenge(s) addressed by different measures (e.g. technical, nature-based, educational, etc.)

  • Impact: Proven positive change(s) achieved by applying the novel approach

  • Direct benefits and co-benefits Promoting ecological, economic and/or social benefits and showing synergy with and offering co-benefits with a range of sustainable mountain development topics

  • Value: Amount of beneficiaries for whom the novel approach creates value

  • Inclusiveness: Providing equal access to opportunities and benefits of the innovation

  • Stakeholder involvement: Engagement with stakeholders who are affected by implementation or help influence positive change

  • Feasibility: Implemented on relevant timescales, realistic in terms of resources available (human and financial) and tailored to the actors and their capacities needed

  • Scalability: Potential for adjustment, replication or upscaling in other geographic, social or sectorial contexts (even though as such customized and tailored to specific regional/local circumstances)

  • Sustainability: Mechanisms introduced to ensure long-term sustainability for implementation in terms of human capacities and financial resources

  • Adherence to human rights labour standards, and environmental standards, in alignment with the UNEP Environmental and Social Sustainability Framework

  • The Selection Committee will also take into consideration the motivation and expected benefits of the applicants.

Mountain Innovation Award

At the fair, the UNEP Mountain Innovation Award was presented to the most innovative, scaleable and beneficial innovation presented. The Selection Committee of the fair had created a shortlist of 8 innovative approaches, that the participants voted on after the marketplace. The First Mountain Innovation Award was presented to Ms Mantopi M. Lebofa from Lesotho and her innovation

“Removing barriers from Upscaling Beekeeping and wool and Mohair production”

The Mountain Innovation Award is a unique opportunity to facilitate replication of an innovative development approach in, and its adaptation to, a different mountain location. UNEP grants the winner USD 2,000 towards scaling up or scaling out their innovative approach, and supports with technical expertise as required.

Winner of the award© Eurac Research | Andrea De Giovanni


For information about the Fair, please write an e-mail to the organizing committee at: mtinnovationfair@eurac.edu

Organizing team:

Eurac Research and UNU-EH GLOMOS programme

Stefan Schneiderbauer, Head of UNU-EHS GLOMOS, Bolzano office

Eleonora Musco, Policy Expert, Eurac Vienna Representing Office

Paola Fontanella Pisa, Programme Associate at UNU-EHS GLOMOS, Bolzano office


Matthias Jurek, Programme Management Officer

Sabine McCallum, Associate Programme Management Officer

Ansgar Fellendorf, Climate change and mountain governance expert

Supporting Regional Institutions:

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