The Action Plan Implementation Follow up meeting preparation took place in Debrecen on the 6-7th March 2019. This meeting provided an opportunity to share progress with those action plans and reflect on the challenges that each partner is facing in the process.

The meeting was facilitated in order to assure a good atmosphere and discussion and was divided into different sections:

  1. Action follow up. In this section partners´described the progress made in the implementation of the action plan for their policy instrument. They tried to answer to the following question: Has the project succeeded in influencing this policy instrument?How?
  2. Main obstacles. Difficulties and solutions encountered during the implementation process and main learnings´, Do’s and Don'ts.
  3. How to report the AP implementation. Tips and instructions from the INTERREG EUROPE Programme were shared together with Good and Bad examples provided by the programme.
  4. Conclusions, discussion on final to-dos concerning the successful AP implementation, where partners discussed about the main outcomes.

In general ther was a notable focus on four areas that appear to be consistently important. 

  • the dynamic cluster mapping and analysis of regional strengths is a focus across several of the plans.
  • challenges of monitoring and evaluating are present in the minds of all partners, and several actions are oriented explicitly to designing and implementing new evaluation frameworks. Therefore there was an acknowledgement that evaluating cluster policies is no easy task.
  • building capacity among cluster management organisations is a particularly strong feature in the plans of partners.

With regards to the difficulties that partners were having in implementing their action plans, raising recurrent issues such as the challenges of securing finance for specific actions, of navigating political cycles and multi-level governance dynamics across administrations, and of working within the Interreg programme rules, as these are not always in line with the political periods.