Many things unite us, but if we were to pick one thing these days it would certainly be the common wish for 2020 to end ! Only some days remain before it happens, but we all know that we still have to be patient to see our lives get back to normal. Actually, one of the expressions most used in all prospects for the future relates to “the new normal”. We will reappropriate ourselves of many aspects of our life, including the possibility to travel and meet in person, something of utmost importance for our community. Other aspects will look different, even if we may not have yet fully ascertained which and how. While waiting for the situation to become clearer, in TESIM we are already thinking what we would like to do differently in 2021. Find out about it.
TESIM evolves, as the community it supports does; we cannot remain stuck in a given vision, particularly in such a complex and volatile environment. Sound doses of agility and adaptability are needed, and we constantly revisit our vision and services to better meet the needs of our clientele. 2021 will be a crucial year for all of us, with ENI CBC programmes flying at cruise speed and new programmes moving to the NEXT level, all topped with an increasing number of stories from the field to be showcased. Obvious as it may seem, these will be the three focus areas of our work for the year to come, and our work plan will ensure continuity what has been delivered so far, even if we would like to bring a new dimension to each of these three areas. Let’s go one by one…
ENI CBC programmes will find themselves in a very similar position. The last calls have been closed, the large majority of projects has been contracted and project implementation and reporting will be for the first year a feature common to all programmes. This situation will require putting a strong focus on specific aspects, such as monitoring, expenditure verification and audit. There is little that programme practitioners can learn on these topics, but the knowledge cumulated after two programming periods should be processed and it is also the right time to explore innovative and transferable solutions. In order to achieve this, TESIM will enhance its knowledge-based means of intervention and clean the dust from the Lab Groups which operated back in ENPI CBC. To the largest extent possible, a cluster-based approach – be it geographic or thematic – will be fostered, both at programme and project level. At the same time, and even if it will not be a hot topic for most programmes, anticipating services on issues related to project closure will be in our radar as well.
When it comes to Interreg NEXT programmes, needless to say that 2021 will bring to a conclusion the programming phase, leading to the official submission of the Cooperation Programmes to the Commission. The process needs to be timely, but it shall ultimately guarantee a solid programme set up. A customized individual support with an eye kept on the potential of transferability will be among our most important leading lines of work. TESIM expects in fact a transversal delivery of services in many fields, from the design and animation of consultations to the definition of the strategics and the refinement of the intervention logics. Implementation arrangements and programme governance will claim their space in the spotlight too. The whole possible spectrum of topics condensed in a relatively short period of time. Solid foundations have been laid already this year, and we can count on many lessons learned to ensure the success of such a demanding process. Still, most work in 2020 has focused – at least from our side – on supporting programme bodies. A shift of the focus towards Partner Countries may be necessary, not only because of the preparation of the Financing Agreements, but in order to facilitate their understanding of Cohesion Policy and their inclusion in the big Interreg family.
The need to enhance the outreach of project achievements has been for a while now on the table in all communication platforms and fora. We sometimes have the feeling of being stuck, talking to the same audiences again and again. TESIM is confronted to these issues too. New channels may be needed to break this dynamic, or a different use of the existing ones could be envisaged. New tools, new multipliers and amplifying mechanisms. These will be the new ingredients that we will use to season our already existing communication and visibility activities. Not to speak more about TESIM, but to spread the word about how our community is bringing a positive change to the lives of our citizens, also – and despite all the obstacles – in 2020.
Yes, we still have to be patient. We do not even have the full certainty about who we can spend Christmas or New Year with. While we write, most European countries have already announced further restrictions to avoid a new contagion wave that would be devastating for our already compromised economies. And, most important, to avoid the repetition of a yearly death toll that in some countries has equalled numbers not seen since the Second World War. 2020 is putting us to the test until its very end. But, using an abused image, we start seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. And even if it will not happen overnight, the time seems really ripe now to start turning the page.