Last week, three INNOVACT regions – Peru-Bolivia, Argentina-Brazil-Paraguay, Peru-Ecuador – visited Europe to gain first-hand knowledge and understanding of the types of actions implemented by European cross-border regions in support of innovation and the development of value chains. Ten representatives per border area participated in the study visit. On the European side, participants and speakers included high-level experts on innovation in the context of cross-border cooperation, representatives of the European Union (European Commission, Science Hub), representatives of institutions and authorities of the border regions and interested parties as well as representatives from the private sector. Representatives included:
- Ramón Sánchez López, Representative of the European Commission, DG Regional and Urban Policy, Urban and Territorial Development Unit, Inclusive Growth and International Relations
- Martín Guillermo, Secretary General of the Association of European Border Regions (AEBR)
- Javier Lossio, Foreign Ministry of Peru
- David Fernandez Terreros, SPRI Representative (Business Development Agency of the Basque Government).
The visit focused on various aspects of cross-border cooperation: innovation activities, entrepreneurship, support for clusters and the development of SMEs, training and technology development, transfer of business-science-technology, among other topics. For this purpose, various presentations on several value chains and other aspects were held as well as field visits (for example, to the facilities of TECNALIA, Center for Research and Technological Development) and guided working sessions were carried out.
The visit started with a two-day stay in Bilbao on October 14-15. Afterwards, the LATAM border regions each departed for a field visit in a European border area until October 18:
- Representatives from Argentina-Brazil-Paraguay visited Udine, Gorizia and Aquilea to gain insight into the border region of Italy-Slovenia and Italy-Croatia, notably with respect to tourism activities. The Regione autonoma Friuli Venezia Giulia hosted the visit.
- Delegates from Peru-Bolivia travelled to Zaragoza / Jaca to get to know the border region of Aragon (Spain) and Nouvelle Aquitaine / Midi Pyrénées (France). The host institutions were CITA Aragon, POCTEFA, INITIA and BIHARTEAN.
- Representatives from Ecuador-Peru visited Sevilla and got to know the region of Extremadura (Spain) and Alentejo (Portugal). EUROACE and FUNDECYT hosted the visit.
A specific regional visit programme was developed for each field visit, including presentations from the EU host region on various topics such as the context and history of cross-border collaboration, on support possibilities, on governance and innovation in cross-border contexts as well as on value chain development (tourism and ICT/ fine cocoa / fishing / smart agriculture). There were many take-aways for participants from all delegations; for example, the Argentina-Brazil-Paraguay delegation is thinking of generating a trinational tourism observatory to improve the access and sharing of data among the different regions.
The INNOVACT study visit has also been taken up by the press: See for instance press releases from Misiones Online in Argentina, including a short video clip from one of the participants, as well from the Extremadura Region and Euroace. The presentations of the study visit can be downloaded directly from the website in the relevant training pages. For any questions related to content, do not hesitate to write to Morgane Veillet Lavallée (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The INNOVACT team thanks all participants for their enthusiastic engagement and the productive discussions!