Opportunities for Cross Border collaboration highlighted at Conference
Cross border co-operation between the local authorities in Louth and Newry and Mourne has been ongoing since the 1970’s. The two authorities were co founders of the East Border Region in 1976. Gerard presented on how cross border co-operation has evolved rapidly since the late 1990’s as initiatives were devised and promoted by the local authorities aimed at fostering greater cross border integration, with funding primarily from the EU Interreg and Peace Programmes. Recent examples include the £900,000 Carlingford Lough Regeneration programme and the €6.5 million Mussel Berthing developed by Warrenpoint Harbour Authority
He also referred to a number of recent research studies including the 2006 Colin Buchanan report – “Newry/Dundalk – A New Perspective on the Development of the Region” – and the 2009 ICLRD report – “The Newry Dundalk Twin City Region, Supporting the Implementation of Cross Border Collaborative Frameworks” – both of which identified the prospect of achieving higher levels of cross border co-operation, contributing to the development of new forms of regional governance above and beyond traditional administrative and nationally orientated frameworks.
Through the Memorandum of Understanding the local authorities have agreed to strengthen existing co-operation and to develop further activities under a number of themes including; emergency planning, renewable energy and green technology, tourism and recreation, and sustainable economic growth and job creation. Other contributors to the workshop included Manuel Conte, President of the Comarca de Los Monegros Region of Spain and Christopher Curtis, Chief Planner of the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission in Western Massachusetts.
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