“Dream big, set goals, take action!”. The web is nowadays full of motivational quotes. Because sometimes it takes more than just a strong coffee to start your working day. Following its extension, TESIM continues its journey, which will now run until October 2022. A motivated team, excellent travel companions, lots of old and new goals, a wide range of actions.
The images of the annual conference gradually start to fade away. It was a major milestone for the ENI CBC community: a moment to ascertain the vitality of the instrument and to conclude that, all in all, it does not need major repairing. It also highlighted the areas where improvement can be made and gave prospects for the mid and long-term future. After Rome, time has come for TESIM to resume normal service and work together with programme bodies, national authorities and project promoters to address the challenges ahead.
Between the end of the conference and the publishing of this article, three networking events have been organised by TESIM, half of those foreseen to take place this year.
The first appointment was the annual meeting of communication managers. Weather-wise Palermo did not show its full potential, but it was the perfect location to network and share the many initiatives that ENI CBC programmes are deploying on a constant basis to ensure that their achievements, and those of the funded projects, reach greater audiences. A first-time, the event was organised back-to-back with the meeting of communication managers for cohesion programmes, allowing for a gradual get-closer of ENI CBC to what will be its future family. Many synergies and shared initiatives on the horizon.
We continued with the network meeting for Audit Authorities, which took place in Marseille on 29 May and was attended by 27 practitioners, including selected members of the Group of auditors from Partner Countries. Also in this case, the event was organised back-to-back with Interact’s homologue meeting, an approach highly appreciated by the participants. We are not going to enter into technical details, but the information shared at the event shows that, on the whole, no critical risks have been identified within ENI CBC programmes during the designation, and the first outcomes from the system audits confirm that the management and control systems do work. Yet another confirmation, from a totally different angle, of what earlier said in Rome. And this makes two!
Last but not least, our annual appointment with the cluster of Northern CBC programmes travelled this year to Russia, most precisely to Kaliningrad. 44 representatives of 7 programmes actively exchanged on their future monitoring activities, both at programme and project level, including risk assessment and collection of indicators. A particular focus was devoted to how branch offices can be actively involved in project implementation. Time also for slippery subjects such as anti-fraud measures and recoveries. And for discussing common promotional activities to take place later in the year, highlighting the achievements of the ENI CBC community. Next year the meeting will be hosted by our Finnish colleagues in Lappeenranta.
Capacity building actions
When it comes to participating in calls for proposals, our instrument is a highly competitive one. Low success rates can put off more than one potential applicant. But even in the most competitive scenarios, there is always motivated people willing to take their chances. TESIM has just initiated a series of capacity building workshops in Southern Mediterranean Partner Countries in view of the early-July deadline for submission of proposals under the call for strategic projects. The series kicks-off in Ramallah and Tel Aviv this week, travels to Tunis, Beirut and Amman, and concludes on 24 June in Cairo.
These will not be traditional capacity building events. Preparing a proposal with chances for success requires the mastering of many knowledge fields, both at technical and financial level. Time is needed to practice and to digest all the required information; events will thus extend over two days, allowing for up-front sessions going beyond the killing-by-powerpoint concept and for participatory methodologies to be applied without a rush. Hopefully this approach will pay off and we will end up seeing a substantial number of applications led by organisations from Partner Countries.
The annual conference paved the way for an increased participation of ENI CBC programmes at the Interreg annual event held in Bucharest on 22-23 May. And indeed, we met many familiar faces at the Parliament building those days. In the run up to the event, a consultation concerning key aspects of the programming 2021-2027 took place. More than 30 questionnaires were received, full of meaningful insights on the lessons learned about current programmes and on the strategic elements for the future ones. TESIM was in charge of summing up the information and conveying the results during the specific workshop on external cooperation, in which ENI CBC representatives were particularly active.
This marks the starting point of an ambitious process, with operational programmes being expected already by late 2020. The next step, a crucial one, will be the drafting of the common strategic document due in autumn this year.
Quite a lot, isn’t it? And this is just part of the many actions which TESIM has recently delivered. Who needs motivational quotes when you work with such a dynamic community?