The Triple Border is usually considered to be the larger area surrounding the cities of Ciudad del Este (Paraguay), Foz de Iguaçu (Brazil.) and Puerto Iguazú (Argentina).
The Argentinian province of Misiones is located in the heart of this border region, with a population of 1.2 million people in 2018. This province shares only 90 kilometres of internal borders with the rest of Argentina, but its longest borders are shared with Brazil (900 km) and Paraguay (367 km). Over 50 million residents live within 1,000 km of either side of the border, with major areas of agricultural and agro-industrial production located on the border: Itapúa and Alto Paraná Departments from Paraguay and Río Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina and Paraná States from Brazil.
In the region, the agricultural sector (agro-industrial production) prevails. SMEs and the innovation sector are growing, but the service sector is still underdeveloped. The conditions for cross-border tourism are quite good, but this potential is only exploited domestically. Progress can be expected from cooperation between tour operators and sub-national authorities in the three countries (tourist corridor, operator registration).
From an economic point of view, there is a specific focus on the added value of cross-border cooperation to promote technological production and create a corridor of business, services and innovation. To this end, specific institutions have been established such as the Centre for Quality Management and Harmonisation. An agency for cross-border cooperation (including infrastructure and knowledge-based economy) ensures some technology transfer for producers and citizens.
The Triple Border, in relation to South America, is the region most exposed to extreme weather events and has numerous vulnerabilities (poverty, economic and political instability, lack of resources and infrastructure). In this sense, it is vital that cities take action to reduce their vulnerability to climate change and build climate-resilient development.
Exponential population growth was not accompanied by adequate urban planning and sufficient investment in infrastructure. And extreme weather events related to water have caused the greatest impacts in the region. From local governments, initiatives to adapt to climate change are still very incipient. Cities have contingency plans, but prevention, preparedness and recovery measures are deficient. The project "Urban Triangular Cooperation: Building Climate Resilient Development in the Paraná Basin" aims to identify strategies to improve transboundary cooperation at city level, enabling cost-effective and inclusive climate resilient development. The project is funded by the Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN), the International Development Research Centre (Canada) (IDRC) and the Latin American Future Foundation (FFLA), under the joint initiative of Climate Resilient Cities in Latin America.
In terms of regional cooperation and integration, the triple border is characterized by the dynamics of each of the three countries and by the dynamics generated between these three countries. It can only be characterized by a greater focus that contextualizes it politically in view of the integration process of the three countries.
In this sense, with the objective of promoting regional cooperation and integration, Mercosur was created in January 1995, constituting a free trade zone, with free exchange for all goods circulating in the region, currently the member states are Brazil, Paraguay, Argentina and Uruguay.
It is worth highlighting three of Mercosur's programs in the area of cross-border cooperation:
- Structural Convergence Programme: this programme contributes to the development of smaller economies and less developed regions, including the improvement of border integration systems.
- Competitiveness Development Program: its objective is to contribute to the competitiveness of production, promoting the integration of production chains and the strengthening of public and private institutions in aspects related to the quality of production, as well as research and development of new products and production processes.
- Social Cohesion Programme: its objective is to contribute to social development, particularly in border areas.