Latin America, the Caribbean, the European Union's Member States and the European Commission (EU-LAC/ALCUE)
Making the ALCUE Knowledge Area through practice
The main theme of the EU-LAC Summit in Madrid in May 2010 targeting technology and innovation for sustainable development and social inclusion directs us to take a fresh look at the building blocks gathered so far for meeting the ambitions and move towards an EU-LAC Knowledge Area. These entail shared political and operational commitments in many areas.
EU-LAC Joint Initiative for Research and Innovation
In this context, a new “Joint Initiative for Research and Innovation” is being developed to become the framework within which all the countries involved and their regional organisations and mechanisms can shape their work towards these ends. It is intended to instill additional momentum into bi-regional cooperation. The EU-LAC Ministerial Conference on science and technology in Madrid prior to the Summit is part of this process of consolidating relations.
A number of concrete steps have been taken to increase cooperation thanks to steadying operational support. To this end, all South American and several Central American and Caribbean countries have now nominated FP7 contacts to provide information and institutional support for their teams’ international exposure and cooperation. They are listed here.
Under the 7th Research Framework Programme (FP7: 2007-2013) international cooperation is mainstreamed into all its parts. In addition, a specific activity on “International Cooperation” has been introduced to support the bilateral and biregional cooperation and better coordinate EU Member States’ initiatives that will underpin the foundations of a European Research Area (ERA) open to the world. During the first three years the number of projects with LAC participations already exceed or come close to those of the five years of FP6: 515 participations of Latin American (500) and Caribbean (15) teams in 226 projects. The estimated EU contribution to these projects exceeds €470 million. In the Work Programme 2011 of FP7 a special focus on Latin America and the Caribbean boosts this cooperation further with particular attention to topics of direct relevance to the Summit theme, including those related to health as well as on major environmental and climate change challenges. Successful consortia are currently negotiating grant agreements or are starting up. A brochure ' Towards the EU-LAC Knowledge Area ( 35.0 MB )' gives examples how concrete research and development cooperation projects and activities underpin the political objectives.
Latest results of the participation of each of the LAC countries in FP7 are available here:
Argentina , Bahamas , Barbados , Belize , Bolivia , Brazil , Chile , Colombia , Costa Rica , Cuba , Dominican Republic , Ecuador , El Salvador , Grenada , Guatemala , Guyana , Haiti , Honduras , Jamaica , Mexico , Nicaragua , Panama , Paraguay , Peru , Saint Vincent and Grenadines , St Lucia , Suriname , Trinidad and Tobago , Uruguay , Venezuela .
Under the Joint Initiative for Research and Innovation the first Senior Officials Meeting (SOM), March 2011, established four thematic working groups addressing priority areas of cooperation with a view to combine national, regional and bi-regional instruments and thus enhance cooperation. Each is co-led by senior officials from a LAC and a EU country respectively. A cross-cutting working group analyses good practice and funding. The working groups are:
- Bioeconomy including food security, co-led by Argentina and France
- Energy, co-led by Mexico and Spain
- Climate change and biodiversity, co-led by Colombia and France
- Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) for meeting societal challenges, co-led by Chile and Finland
- Good practice and funding, co-led by Mexico and Portugal
European, Latin American and Caribbean sensitivities towards environment and other problems can be different because of diverse circumstances and historical trajectories. However, there is much agreement, not only on shared cultural values and economic interests, but also in the identification of issues of common interest. All countries in both regions have ratified the Convention on Biological Diversity, endorsed the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation adopted at the World Summit on Sustainable Development and the Millennium Development Goals. The EU Water Initiative has a regional Latin America Component and several bi-regional workshops have refined priority issues for research cooperation in the specific socio-economic context of Latin America and the Caribbean.
- PALMS - "Palm harvest impacts in tropical forests"
- VALORAM - "Valorising Andean microbial diversity through sustainable intensification of potato based farming systems"
- WAFLA – "Integrated Water resource management by the implementation of improved Agro-Forestry concepts in arid and semi-arid areas in Latin America"
- CENSOR – " Climate variability and El Niño Southern Oscillation: Implications for natural coastal Resources and management"
- INCOFISH – " Integrating Multiple Demands on Coastal Zones with Emphasis on Aquatic Ecosystems and Fisheries"
- EULAKS - "Connecting socio-economic research on the dynamics of the knowledge society in the European Union and Latin American and Caribbean countries"