PANORAMED interviewed Séverine Bressaud, director of Eurêka 21 and expert in mainstreaming and capitalisation processes in the framework of European territorial cooperation.
1. According to PANORAMED, mainstreaming or transfer activities aim to make a better use of ETC projects outputs by embedding them in public policies. Do you agree with this approach? Could you mention other benefits of mainstreaming?
I totally agree, of course! ETC projects produce very interesting results and outputs, not always well-known despite they could bring an added-value to the local and regional policies. Moreover, ETC projects are often pioneer projects since they involve different European partners, different way of working and more diversity in experiences. It’s then a pity that they remain confidential.
Transfers are easier because they consist in a direct re-use of a deliverable/output –they are more operational. Mainstreaming activities aim at identifying the most relevant ETC projects outputs to inspire public policies. One project's result is generally not enough to embed a public policy! We need a group of ETC projects results and for me, this is one of the roles of the Horizontal Projects supported by the MED programme. Mainstreaming processes imply therefore more time to observe the concrete.
In any case, transfer and mainstreaming activities generate new way of thinking and of doing. It demonstrates the feasibility of innovative projects and allows local and regional authorities to better and quickly address their own challenges. Why reinvent the wheel whereas some authorities have still experience on the topic?
2. Based on your experiences in different mainstreaming and capitalisation processes, could you provide the readers with some hints on how to better mobilise regional managing authorities and stakeholders in mainstreaming processes (targeted communications, regular meetings…)?
Firstly, I think we have to rethink the way to approach authorities, who could be interested in mainstreaming processes. Indeed, we have to renew the communication on ETC projects, encouraging focus on the results and deliverables of ETC projects instead of general descriptions: what are the concrete outputs /deliverables produced in the framework of ETC, which could be useful for another stakeholder (beyond INTERREG world)?
Secondly, we have to contact and mobilise the right person, according to the topic of the ETC project. The regional management authority can be an option but also the sectoral department of the regional or local authority, who has the power to change policies. To catch their interest, it’s crucial to demonstrate how the projects results can bring an added-value for the regional/local authority and to link the ETC project results with the European policy challenges providing funding, such as the green deal.
As soon as a regional/local authority is identified to be part of the mainstreaming activity, the challenge is then to organize the connection with the ETC project and to launch the process. Organizing regular meetings between peers is crucial to engage concretely the transfer or mainstreaming, and not only at the beginning of the process! A kind of mentoring should be planned and supported between the two parts at each step of this activity.
3. In the context of PANORAMED, you took part in the mainstreaming experiment held in Région SUD Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur. From your perspective, which were the key success factors of these experiment? And what were the major challenges?
The transfer of the DESTIMED project (MED ECT project) in a local area (sky resort of Valberg) in SUD PACA region is on progress. We succeed to mobilize this territory because they wanted to rethink their tourism offer, according to climate change issue (less and less snow) and this proposition was very timely! Indeed, DESTIMED project provided an interesting method to create new tourism products in vulnerable environment involving local stakeholders and that was one of the objectives of this French area.
Secondly, the team of Valberg Tourism office was really motivated and willful and it has facilitated the process. It was really a key to success. However, the process was not supported financially and it can be a difficulty because this task was for the local team – even if they were really motivated- an additional work for them. Finally, they regret also not to have a real mentoring with the DESTIMED team to support them at each step of the transfer. Indeed, there were contacts between both parts, but not a continuous methodological support. It was a missing point for them.
4. Looking into the upcoming 2021-2027 programming period, do you think mainstreaming objectives should be further integrated? What is the role of Interreg MED programme in this context?
This programming period has given the opportunity to launch some first concrete experimentations in transfer and mainstreaming process. For me, we got some first encouraging results and we have to move forward. Indeed, Med area is faced with common challenges linked to climate change issues implying adaptation and mitigation actions in different sectors: economic (green and blue growth), social (fight against poverty, youth inclusion, citizens participation…), environmental (biodiversity, energy issues, mobility…).
Transfer and mainstreaming activities are a way to support territories to develop more efficiently resilience strategies to overcome these common challenges and to encourage a better cooperation and governance at the Mediterranean scale.
The MED programme has then a key-role to play in stimulating and in supporting such processes. Capitalisation calls are a good option because it gives human and financial resources for the ETC projects promoters and for the potential interested local/regional authorities. In the future, the challenge for the MED programme is firstly to optimize the role of the thematic communities (horizontal projects) in the methodological support of stakeholders involved in capitalization applications and secondly, to better connect these activities with European stakeholders. European commission and its different general directions should be aware that ETC projects and programmes are laboratories, which could contribute to the definition of ambitious and challenging policies in the different fields. ETC projects results should be better enhanced!
We have tested and improved our transfer and mainstreaming activities during these programming period… the objective is now “to convert the try!”.
Séverine Bressaud has always worked in the framework of territorial development. In 2008, she co-founded Eurêka 21, a company specialized in European cooperation and capitalisation processes, as tools to improve local and regional policies. She is convinced that learning from others areas experiences and practices, is an opportunity to be more innovative and to find tailor-made solutions to common challenges. For several years, she has also developed thematic skills linked with climate change and social issues.