On October 30-31, in Lago Agrio (Ecuador) in the Ecuador-Colombia Border Integration Zone (ZIFEC), the last binational working meeting and closing conference of the INNOVACT project was held. The main objective of the conference was the final dissemination of the results of the project, especially the binational Action Plan for cocoa and tourism value chains and the potential mechanisms for its implementation in favor of cross-border development.
The socialization of INNOVACT focused on highlighting the importance of territorial cohesion, especially through the most appropriate governance mechanisms that encourage cross-border cooperation, strengthening of institutional capacities at the regional and local levels; as well as, the commitment of the actors in the promotion of innovation as an essential factor of economic and social growth in ZIFEC.
The event was hosted by the Autonomous Decentralised Government of Sucumbíos (GADPS). It brought together more than 100 representatives from both sides of the border area including civil society, public sector, the private sector and universities as well as European union and Latin-American experts. The official opening and welcome was in charge of Mr. Guido Vargas, Prefect of the province of Sucumbíos and Technical Secretary of the Binational Brotherhood.
Ms. Silke Haarich, EU-INNOVACT Project Director, presented a summary of the INNOVACT project in Latin America, as a prelude to keynote speeches by European experts. The main topics were focused on the EU's experiences on the consolidation of the academy in cross-border processes (Mr. Valerià Paül -director CEER-Center for Euroregional Studies, Spain) and cross-border innovation networks (Mr. Francisco Vigalondo -Aragón Exterior, Spain).
Likewise, the participants had the opportunity to discuss with tourism and cocoa specialists, who presented the perspective of the European Union regarding the support for cross-border cooperation for the selected value chains. The session on cocoa included the presentation by Mr. Cristian Marlín, France, principal expert of the EU-SENPLADES Post-Earthquake Productive Reactivation Project, which focused on Europe's experience in supporting Ecuador. While, the presentations of the territorial experiences were in charge of Mr. Antonio Portocarrero, of the Prefecture of Esmeraldas and Mr. Mauricio Guerrero, of the Prefecture of Sucumbíos-Corposucumbios. In parallel, the session on tourism value chains included the experiences of Mr. Antonio Retamerofrom Spain, who presented his experience in the construction of cooperation models between Spain and Portugal. The local papers, had Mr. Rubén Yépezon behalf of the Border Office of the Government of Nariño; as well as, Mr. Carlos Merizalde, of the Prefecture of Ibarra.
The final messages were presented in the plenary session, and they were translated into common agreements of the meeting. They were collected for approval and signature of those present. The formal closing, was attended by a representative of each province and department, as well as other local authorities.