Latin America, the Caribbean, the European Union's Member States and the European Commission (EU-LAC/ALCUE)
The EU-LAC Summit Process seen from the perspective of policy dialogue on science and technology
The Sixth Summit took place on 18 May 2010 in Madrid. Its central theme was “Towards a new phase of the bi-regional association: innovation and technology for sustainable development and social inclusion”. The Summit was preceded by a S&T Ministerial Forum in Madrid, 14 May 2010, a Ministerial Forum on the Information Society in March and an S&T Senior Officials Meeting in Buenos Aires, 25-26 February 2010. The Senior Officials Meeting (SOM) agreed on a draft text for an EU-LAC Joint Initiative for Research and Innovation ( 134 KB) ( 119 KB) , which was subsequently adopted by the Ministerial Forum in Madrid, 14 May 2010.
The Summit accepted the proposal of the Ministerial Forum and inserted a mandate to implement the EU-LAC Joint Initiative for Research and Innovation in the Summit Declaration ( 122 KB) ( 143 KB) ( 76 KB) and Action Plan ( 78 KB) ( 144 KB) ( 126 KB) . Part I of the Action Plan focused on research and innovation also specifies that senior officials meetings should take place regularly to put bi-regional S&T&I dialogue on firmer institutional footing. The Action Plan also mandates to build additional momentum in the cooperation through combination of national, regional and biregional resources.
The brochure, ‘Towards the EU-LAC Knowledge Area – Scientific and Technological Cooperation between Latin America, the Caribbean and the European Union for Sustainable Development and Social Inclusion’ ( 35.0 MB) was published prior to the 6th Summit and provides an overview about the development of concrete cooperation to deliver on the political objectives of this and previous summits.
Activities to implement the Action Plan are reported in the section Making the EC-LAC Knowledge Area a reality through practice.
The Fifth EU-LAC Summit took place 16-17 May 2008 in the National Museum in Lima. The two key themes for the agenda: 1. Poverty, inequality, inclusion; 2. Sustainable development: Environment; climate change; biodiversity, energy, forests and water. Both themes have heavy implications for science, technology, education and innovation. Many of the 221 research projects with participants from Latin America and the Caribbean in the 6th Research Framework Programme (2002-2006) addressed topics of direct relevance to the deliberations of the Summit. The performance of Latin American teams in the first calls of the 7th Research Framework Programme (2007-2013) nurtures expectations for consolidation and expansion of cooperation. The important role of scientific and technological cooperation was highlighted in a leaflet available at the summit. Click here for ( 644 KB) and ( 644 KB) . Here is the website on the Lima Summit of DG External Relations. Important steps in the preparatory process were the Ministerial Meeting on Social Cohesion, convened successfully in Santiago de Chile, 23-25 September 2007. Another important step was the first ever meeting of Environment Ministers, convened on 4 March 2008 in Brussels. Climate change mitigation and adaptation, renewable energy, biodiversity loss and deforestation were at the top of the agenda. These issues are especially significant given their importance for the economic well-being of EU and Latin American and Caribbean countries. The issues raised at the meeting will provide the basis for the EU-LAC Heads of State and Government Summit in Lima this May. More than two dozen ministers from the EU, Latin America and the Caribbean attended. Science is an essential underpinning to addressing these challenges. A sample of relevant research projects out of the 74 environment projects involving Latin American and Caribbean teams in the 6th Research Framework Programme (2002-2006) was presented to provide concrete proof of the wide range of existing collaborations. The leaflets can be downloaded in ( 347 KB) , ( 1.5 MB) and ( 310 KB) .
In the run-up of the Vienna Summit, preparatory policy dialogue at senior officials and ministerial levels had confirmed the mutual interest in further developing the EU-LAC Knowledge Area. On 1-3 February 2006, EU-LAC Senior Officials Meeting on S&T Cooperation, Salzburg, Austria ()
The Vienna Summit Declaration was adopted 12 May 2006 and underscored this commitment.
Brazil, Chile, Mexico and MERCOSUR, among others, had also used synergistic funding from technical cooperation to set up funding with matching resources from each country/sub-region and Europe respectively to support capacity building in research and innovation, thus addressing the identified need to strengthen the linkages between research and its use in social and economic innovation. Colombia made the most of the opportunities afforded by the ALFA researcher exchange programme – it achieved the highest participation rate in relation to its population (though not the highest numbers in absolute terms).
Data on the participation of Latin American and Caribbean research teams in the 6th Research Framework Programme showed some progress, but also illustrate the potential for quantitative and qualitative development. Relatively few Europeans participate in national research programmes in Latin American countries and Marie Curie Outgoing Fellowships were not used by young Europeans to do research in Latin America. This was despite the fact that there is progress with mutual recognition of degrees and certificates and a good number of research centres in Latin America have strong international reputation. However, bilateral S&T cooperation of several EU Member States is well developed with Latin American countries.
Work towards developing an ALCUE Knowledge Area gained momentum, anticipated in spirit if not in language in the Shared Vision document adopted at the 2002 S&T Ministerial. This entailed continued policy dialogue and 'practical' cooperation. In the run-up to the summit, the synergies between external relations, technical cooperation and S&T cooperation had been usefully enhanced. At European/bi-regional level this cooperation relied heavily on the 6th European Research Framework Programme (FP6 – 2002-2006) and thematic European cooperation programmes, e.g. ALBAN and ALFA to promote university cooperation and researcher exchange and @lis (RedCLARA) helping to develop the information society through direct connectivity and favouring e-governance and fighting exclusion. Moreover, EU Member States engaged in bilateral science cooperation with Latin American and Caribbean countries.
The Guadalajara Summit in Mexico, convened 28-29 May 2004, illustrated the broadening bi-regional agenda. The Declaration confirmed the importance of cooperation across the entire knowledge spectrum, from education, science and technology to innovation and specifically the need to go ahead in the direction of the ALCUE Knowledge Area. Paragraph 93 states explicitly:
"We consider that the future EU-LAC Knowledge Area should be built on the results of the successful science and technology bi-regional dialogue and include reinforcement of cooperation in science and technology, higher education and information and communication technologies. Considering the importance of science and technology for the social and economic development of our countries, and guided by the outcome of the ministerial meetings and the bi-regional working group on scientific and technological cooperation, we agree to launch a partnership in science and technology with a view to including Latin America and the Caribbean as a target region in the EU Framework Programmes in these sectors, thereby contributing to deepening and developing bi-regional links and encouraging mutual participation in research programmes."
Heads of State and Government reflected follow-up activities to the Rio Summit in the Declaration adopted at the Madrid Summit, 17 May 2002. They recognised the work of the several ministerial meetings on key areas, such as on science and technology as a "meaningful contribution to the building of the bi-regional strategic partnership". Their assessment of different dimensions of relations between the two regions is incorporated in the Conclusions of the EU-Latin America & the Caribbean Summit .
The first summit between Heads of State and Government from Latin America countries, the Caribbean, the European Union's Member States and the European Commission (ALCUE) took place 28/29 June 1999 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. From the beginning, knowledge cooperation was introduced into the agenda of political dialogue between the two regions at the highest level and the promotion and preservation of cultural heritage in both regions was considered an important shared objective.
S&T related follow-up process:
A Senior Officials Meeting on scientific and technological cooperation was convened in Lisbon, 5th to 6th June 2000 in the follow-up to the Rio Summit. It had been prepared on both sides by intra-regional consultations. The general mandate of the group was agreed. Its general aims are to establish a policy dialogue in science and technology and to promote joint research and technological development actions that benefit the sustainable and equitable development of both regions. A work plan and approach to implementing had been agreed. There was also recognition of the need to develop a vision for bi-regional cooperation. The initial priority areas of co-operation were agreed as follows:
Bi-regional dialogue workshops were convened by 'prime movers' on each side taking responsibility for one theme each. Spain and Brazil together with the Commission ensured overall coordination of the process.
The Senior Officials Meeting in Bruges, 13-14 December 2001, took stock of the outcomes of the workshops and developed a Shared vision () for consideration of an S&T Ministerial. This Ministerial Conference was convened in Brazilia, Brazil, 20-22 March 2002 and adopted an Action Plan ()
The recommendations of the last Summit meetings have been translated into a concrete support mechanism for bi-regional S&T policy dialogue. An INCO-NET has started its activities on 1st March 2008 to this effect: EULARINET groups ministries, research and research management institutions from seven countries each from Latin America and the EU together to support the S&T policy dialogue, analyse S&T cooperation intensity between the EU and Latin America, build mutual understanding and trust and enable priority setting for future S&T cooperation. The countries involve also stakeholders from other countries in Latin America and the EU which are not formal project partners and build broader-based momentum for cooperation. Bibliometric assessments, S&T indicator analyses and innovation-related studies are among the deliverables of this collaboration.
For complementary bilateral cooperation see country pages and/or the section 'More information and web resources'.