European Week of Regions and Cities
7-10 OCTOBER 2019 Brussels

EU-Latin America cities and regions' partnerships to implement the 2030 Agenda

At the last Summit between the EU and CELAC, both sides agreed to engage in a dialogue on territorial cohesion and on regional development policies, with a particular focus on cross-border cooperation and on territorial development strategies, to strengthen the capacity of regional and urban authorities to promote economic development and innovation and social inclusion and cohesion. The workshop will present the main results achieved by the on-going projects INNOVACT (platform to promote territorial cooperation and cross-border value chains) and INNOV-AL (promotion of decentralised innovation policies) in Latin America with the overall aim to offer participants a source of reference when further developing their policy strategies to implement the 2030 Agenda.

International cooperation, EU as global actor
European Commission - DG REGIO

Session summary

Overall INNOVACT project achievements were presented by Project Manager Silke Haarich (Spatial Foresight), supported by partner country representatives Hector Macias (SEDATU-Mexico), Hugo Figueroa (Science and Technology Council-Guatemala) and Juan Del Campo Rodríguez (Ministry of Foreign Affairs-Peru). The contributions highlighted the first results achieved in establishing an EU-CELAC knowledge transfer on cross-border cooperation and innovation in four CELAC border regions (Mexico – Guatemala, Colombia – Ecuador, Colombia – Peru and Peru – Chile). INNOVACT started in 2017 and is now in its final phase. The project has established an Internet platform (, carried out trainings and capacity-building and defined four cross-border innovation strategies centred on two value chains each with action plans. Partnerships of Latin American regions have been established so far with four European regions and more than 30 Partner institutions from EU regions.

Regarding INNOV-AL project, the main objective is to support the dissemination and learning of experiences and good practices of European regional policy and to achieving greater cooperation between the authorities of the selected Latin American countries (Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Peru) and Brazilian states (Pará, Paraná and Pernambuco) and counterpart regions in the European Union, in the definition and implementation of decentralised innovation and smart specialisation policies at the regional level.

In Latin America, many countries are seeking to diversify away from a longstanding dependence on commodities to create economies with greater focus on added value activities. As part of this, they are seeking to promote a new development model which uses the capacities of the regions (at sub-national level) and which is linked in general to broader political processes in favour of a greater decentralisation of power, including as regards the economy.

Changes of this nature in Latin American countries require more coordinated action and a set of policies and instruments that would tend to resemble in key respects those developed in the EU over the past 30 years. In particular, the European Union’s experience on promoting territorial cohesion processes by supporting the development of productive capacity and the competitiveness of regions is very helpful.

The project, which will end mid-2019, has attracted great interest in the different national and state governments, and the activities that have been developed to date (both analysis in the form of reports and working group meetings) have had a very active participation that is helping to build a continental and transatlantic network of collaboration and continuous exchange.

Take away message

The promotion of smart specialisation strategies in Latin America through INNOV-AL depends on the level of maturity of political articulation, economic development and triple helix governance in the respective countries.

INNOVACT has helped European regions and partners in the public and private sector to get to know specific CELAC and global value chains, to find new opportunities for joint projects and investments and to gain access to Latin American partners and regions



Hector Macias, SEDATU, Mexico: “The whole event was a very enriching experience. The workshop helped us to get to know more about innovation tools in specific value chains such as energy and the agro-industrial sector, and also to learn about how social change in the rural areas is driven.”

Silke Haarich, INNOVACT Project Manager: “INNOVACT helps CELAC partners to benefit from the vast EU experience in cross-border cooperation processes and regional innovation policies. At the same time, European partners benefit from learning about new approaches to cooperation, gaining access to new markets and institutional partners.”



Juan Del Campo Rodríguez, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Peru: “The border areas are important within the Peruvian context. They represent a large share of territory and population. INNOVACT helps to define adequate strategies for innovation and development in those territories.”

Jaime del Castillo (INFYDE): “The integrated approach undertaken by the EU-CELAC INNOV-AL Platform, particularly concerning the involvement of four Latin American countries (Argentina, Chile, Colombia and Peru), is considered to be effective as these countries face similar challenges regarding the definition and implementation process of regional innovation strategies and policies”.

Felipe Petit (SUBDERE): The RED project enabled the Chilean regions to develop Regional Innovation Strategies, which have, on the one hand, strengthened the technical capacity of regional governments, and on the other, made it possible to create criteria for a more efficient allocation of public funds adapted to regional needs.

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