Today EURADA and INFYDE organised “A New Way for Cooperation Policy in More Developed Countries – Technical Cooperation on Decentralized Policies to Promote Innovation and Competitiveness”. This high-level event brought together: EC, CoR, EEAS, DG REGIO, DG DEVCO, Governments of Argentina, Chile, Peru and RDAs. EURADA is represented by our President Roberta DALL’OLIO. Of course, we would be happy to put you in touch with the event speakers to support our members – therefore please take a look at the agenda. EURADA is representing its members with a stand at the 6th Forum “Cities and Regions for Development Cooperation 2019” at the Committee of the Regions in Brussels on February 5 and 6.

Roberta DALL’OLIO welcomed the guests and started off the event by describing EURADA’s structure and capacities as Europe’s reference point for regional and local development. “RDAs do not solely represent the regional governments, but the economic, social and educational sectors of the territories” so Roberta. Also, the way EURADA understands international cooperation is as concrete as effective. We therefore support internationally regions to help develop regional development agencies, decentralisation processes, cooperation with civil society and business, and innovation.

Manuel PLEGUEZUELO, Member of the CoR and Director General of the Region of Murcia on European Union, External Action and Cooperation, gave several examples of the role of regions in the international cooperation. Regional and local governments play an active role on the development of their territories that is a valuable source for decentralised cooperation. For example the Region of Murcia has been providing training to experts from Libya about advanced water management techniques. This is action carried out under the “Nicosia initiative” of the European Committee of the Regions; the initiative is mobilising partnerships for Libya’s local authorities since January 2016.

DG Regio – Ronald HALL provided an overview of DG Regio’s actions. Since 2006 there has been a stronger focus on cooperation on regional and urban policy with non-EU countries. One key findings is: many non-EU countries want to work with EU institutions especially within the sectors of DG Regio so HALL.  Also, cooperation should not be between capitals within and outside the EU, it should be more at regional and local level and the EU-CELAC Action Plan is a very good initiative in this regard. INNOVACT as a project coming to its end and INNOVAL a as project to be launched soon were briefly presented, however several actions characterise the cooperation between the European Union, Latin America and the Caribbean such as the EULAC-CBC, EULAC-RIS, URBELAC, EULAC-REGIO, CBRIS and CBRIS.

EEAS – Silvia KOFLER focused on territorial cooperation in the European External Action Service. “We are the policy-makers, but you put into practice policies on the ground”. Urban diplomacy is an important tool of the EU to deal with global challenges. Subnational actors need to be more involved in the policy-maker process. Multi-layered multilateralism should in fact be based on a major role of development practitioners in regions and cities.

DG DEVCO – Rafael RODRIGUEZ-PONGA described the EU engagement in Haiti, a complex state in the region. The EU engages sector-wide: 1) governance, 2) education, 3) food security and 4) urban development. Specific EU projects focuses on governance and resilience were also recently launched to ensure sustainable changes on the ground.
Haiti has for many years featured among the priority countries of EU cooperation, and the EU is one of the main providers of funds for Haiti. Between 2000 and 2010 alone, more than €500 million was allocated to support the country’s development.

DG DEVCO – Paolo CICCARELLI provided an overview of decentralised cooperation and partnerships between regional and local authorities. First of all, in the past the European Commission worked with other continents encountering the problem that many municipalities were empty boxes. Now especially cities are at a turning point: facing already major constraints and weaknesses in term of their governance and economy they have to respond to major demographic shifts and climate change shocks. Cities will not be able to benefit from the urbanisation dividend/productivity miracle and respond effectively to external stresses without profound transformation and understanding of their role in development.

Four pillars are now key for EU institutions: governance, social, environment and sustainability. Useful EU tools to support development are the blending instruments as well as the budget line for local authorities:
a) Blending instrument: Innovative Financial Instruments (blending) Investment needs in EU partner countries are substantial. Government and donor funds are far from sufficient to cover these needs. Countries need to attract additional public and private finance to drive economic growth as a basis for poverty reduction.
Budget line for local authorities: good examples are the EU call for proposals on Local authorities: Partnerships for sustainable cities. The call was designed for European local and regional authorities to stimulate cooperation with peers (from Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia and the Pacific, Latin America, Central America and the Caribbean, Neighbourhood East and South) on topics related to the 2030 Agenda of Sustainable Development. CICCARELLI stressed the results of this first call: 258 concept notes submitted, 43 best proposals have been pre-selected, which will then submit the full application form in the upcoming months. In line with this call, CICCARELLI announced that a new call for proposals amounting 100 ML EUR will be launched late in 2019. This call will pursue the main goal of strengthening urban governance and 3 minor objectives: environment, social and sustainability.