Opportunities for Cross Border collaboration highlighted at Conference

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Thursday, January 26th, 2012

The conference was held at the Crowne Plaza in Dundalk

Gerard Mc Givern, Director at Newry and Mourne District Council, gave a presentation last week to a high profile workshop on “Models for Cross Border Co operation” at the Crowne Plaza in Dundalk. Speaking at an EU sponsored event organised by the International Centre for Local and Regional Development, Gerard outlined how the local authorities of Louth and Newry and Mourne have cooperated for over thirty years and how the Councils have arrived at a new form of local governance and accountability in the form of a Memorandum of Understanding which was signed in Brussels, in March 2011. 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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