Mediterranean Young Leadership Programme 2023: Land abandonment and cultural landscapes

EFI's 5-day Young Leadership Programme offers a unique opportunity for young professionals with leadership potential to interact with a network of global peers and experts, and share practical experience through group work.

Photo: Dr Juan Miguel Requena Mullor

The recently published Mediterranean Forest Research Agenda 2030 identifies land abandonment as one of the overarching challenges for the future of the region. This topic is the starting point for the 2023 Mediterranean edition of the European Forest Institute’s Young Leadership Programme (YLPMED 2023).

The programme, organised in collaboration with the Union for the Mediterranean, will provide an in-depth understanding of the complex interplay between land abandonment, Mediterranean forests, and cultural landscapes.

YLPMED 2023 takes place in October at EFI’s Barcelona Office in the Sant Pau Art Nouveau site. Open to young professionals from around the region and beyond, whose work is related to Mediterranean forests and rural landscapes, participants will have the opportunity to interact with global and regional leaders, broaden their understanding of critical issues for Mediterranean forests, and connect with like-minded individuals.


The programme offers an overview of the key drivers and impacts of land abandonment on Mediterranean forest and cultural landscapes and explores the potential opportunities for sustainable entrepreneurship and biodiversity conservation. Participants will learn about the role of traditional ecological knowledge and the potential for innovation and entrepreneurship in promoting sustainable land use practices. The programme will also examine the relationship between fire risk in the Mediterranean region and discuss the role of forest management practices in mitigating the risk of wildfires.

In addition, the Young Leadership Programme is an exciting opportunity for aspiring leaders to develop their soft skills and explore potential career paths within the forestry sector. The programme focuses on developing essential skills for success in any career, such as effective communication, time management, public speaking, and networking, as well as including elements to help stand out from the crowd, such as storytelling and photography.

The EFI Young Leadership Programme was established in 2014 to empower young talent by providing them with a platform to develop their leadership skills, connect young scientists and professionals from various sectors, and to build bridges between Europe and other regions. The previous Mediterranean edition was held in 2021, focusing on Mediterranean forests and sustainable urbanised societies.

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EFIMED is the Mediterranean Facility of the European Forest Institute. Based in Barcelona, Spain, it was launched in 2007.