A key objective of the Interreg Europe Programme is promoting learning between European regions and project study visits play a vital role in facilitating this. On October 15th it was the turn of the Southern Regional Assembly to host the next visit on the COHES3ION virtual journey. In conjunction with the European Week of Cities & Regions, experts from across the Southern Region came together to share some of the innovative work practices happening with our Regional Stakeholders and European partners on the COHES3ION project.

Assistant Director, Derville Brennan, opened up the study visit welcoming everyone to the webinar expressing her disappointment at not being able to greet attendees in person. Despite the fact partners were not getting to visit the region she hoped that they would get a strong sense of the pioneering work happening across the region.   

 Purpose of the visit  

Ireland has traditionally relied upon a more hierarchal governance model however; there has been a shift in thinking across Europe to encourage adopting a more multi-level approach to governance. But what does this really mean? No single level can solve the challenges we face as a region prompting the need for enhanced cooperation between authorities at every level. This will require a move from the hierarchal governance to a more network based model encouraging collective decision-making processes where authority and influence is shared between stakeholders operating at different levels. Key to the success of this multi-level governance (MLG) approach is promoting citizen participation, cooperation and creating networks. Partners heard from a number of leading regional experts on their experiences of adopting these work practices into policymaking and implementation. These bottom-up approaches support the key message Every Voice Counts.  

Speakers and topics included:

• COHES3ION project overview – Lead partner Beaz SAU & Orkestra Deusto Foundation

• Economic overview of the Region and impact of Covid-19 - John Daly, Economist, The Three Regional Assemblies Ireland

• Overview of the Southern Regional Spatial & Economic Strategy - Regional Planning Team, Southern Regional Assembly

• RSES Consultation Process - Regional Planning Team, Southern Regional Assembly

• Limerick Digital Leaders Network - Terence Connolly, EU Projects Manager, Limerick City & County Council

• Clustering in Ireland: Spotlight on the Southern Region - Dr. John Hobbs, Senior Lecturer, Cork Institute of Technology (CIT)

• Cyber Ireland Regional Chapters - Eoin Byrne, Cluster Manager, Cyber Ireland (CIT)