Written by Clive Davies, Convenor of EFUF International Steering Group, EFI, Newcastle University, MD2 Consulting Ltd
In translations of Plato’s, The Republic, the philosopher says that
“a need or problem encourages creative efforts to meet the need or solve the problem”.
This neatly describes the position that the EFUF international steering group found itself in 2020 when due to COVID-19 the 23rd annual EFUF meeting set for Manchester, UK, had to be cancelled. Perhaps with good foresight, the steering group also thought that the prospects for a ‘present in person’ EFUF in 2021 seemed risky too, which has turned out to be the case. There was concern that unless efforts were made to keep EFUF active during the pandemic, future Forum meetings would be in jeopardy. In the autumn of 2020, EFUF steering group member Bianca Baerlocher proposed the development of a digital platform for EFUF that would provide the opportunity for an on-line Forum to take place in 2021. An editorial steering group was set up to steer this development. The steering group was delighted that the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment, Fachhochschule Graubünden University of Applied Sciences and ArboCityNet took up the challenge of developing a digital platform based on an application called MyEFUF. This was launched in March 2021. MyEFUF is linked to EFUF’s other digital outlets, including the website and social media accounts.
The myEFUF application is the portal to EFUF’s 2021 digital semester, which features a wide range of activities and events. In March, the opening event called ‘Urban Forestry Days’ with support from a range of organisations, including the European Forest Institute (EFI) and the Horizon 2020 CLEARING HOUSE project, attracted a large international audience not only in Europe but globally. The EFUF 2021 semester continues until the end of May, but the platform will continue throughout the year, for example, an event in June 2021 is already well developed. The platform also includes a marketplace for partner events (please use it) and an ability to share posters and other digital content. More information about the app and how to download it can be found here. In summary, there are a wide range of upcoming events, and if a mobile app is not your favourite platform, these can also be accessed at https://efuf.org/programme/
Having started the digital platform, there are other interesting and exciting developments planned, which will be shared through EFUF’s social media in due course. The good news is that whilst the digital platform provides an opportunity for EFUF’s network to stay in touch, we plan to have a present in person forum again in May 2022. Look out for announcements on myEFUF and www.efuf.org