These last three days the EURADA team was part of the more than 9,000 people that attended the European Week of Regions and Cities, the annual four-day event during which cities and regions showcase their capacity to create growth and jobs, implement European Union cohesion policy, and prove the importance of the local and regional level for good European governance. Two of the sessions that took place on the 8th and 9th of October were very important for us: UC Latin America and Caribbean: EU-LA REGION PAIRING RESULTS and Building Scotland’s Future – Inclusive Growth for Europe, since we participated in the management of the former and hosted in our premises the later.

The first session (divided in two parts) presented the results of the IUC-LA program, which fosters cooperation between Latin American and European regions. More than 100 attendees took part on this event, including representatives from the European Commission, regional practitioners and experts in economic development.

The first day speakers focused on the main results of EU-LA region pairings. Representatives from over 40 Latin American and European regions stressed out the achievements of the program: Blending RIS3 agents from both regions, drafting protocols to facilitate exports among them, discovering similar goals (digitalisation, internationalisation, industrial transition) and fostering knowledge exchange were common practices to allow future collaboration between Latin American and European regions.

The second day included an interactive session to discuss about opportunities and challenges for the design and implementation of the RIS3 in Latin America. Experts from both continents agreed on that smart specialization helps consider the economy as a whole and find what the region is good at and what should be prioritised.

The IUC-LA program has been successful overall, as it has pioneered Smart Specialisation practices in many regions in Latin America. It has helped Latin American regions to diversify their economies and to move up global value chains. Regarding future cooperation, representatives from the European Commission confirmed a new edition of this program for 2021, which will include not only Latin American but also Asian regions, and will allow associations of common-interest groups, together with bilateral pairings.

The second session dealt with the creation from scratch of a new development agency, the South of Scotland Enterprise (SOSE). The characteristics of this recently formed agency were presented to us by its chairman, professor Russel Griggs.  SOSE will be active from April 2020. What differentiates them is that they are an agency for, from and by the South of Scotland, so they become the voice of their region. They will not have headquarters since they want to be everywhere, and to reduce costs, so that money can go elsewhere.

The two things they will mainly work for are the only two things needed to create a community: people and transport. They are also an agency working for inclusive growth, so it is important to think which impact, both good and bad, a person has over his/her employees, community, land, etc.

They have a new and fresh approach to cover the land’s problems, such as demography issues (ageing population). Regarding education, they will work so that people get more training and in order to digitalise the offer of Higher and Further Education. Commuting and infrastructure are problems to tackle, so they will work on that and will offer options for education.