Nothing new under the sun?

    After five years of implementation, TESIM has become a solid reality within the neighbourhood cross-border community. Year after year our services have evolved, but some foundations date back to 2016, if not before. In our December bulletin we shared with you our vision for the “new normal”, whereas in this article we would like to stress the importance of the continuity aspect that permeates the work plan for 2021. Old stuff or something new? Find out about it. 

    If we were to pinpoint the most recurrent feature in our work plan this would definitely be the networking aspect. Through this we have managed to build different communities of practitioners whose work, not always on the frontline, contributes to a smooth running of the programmes. This year we will ensure that these communities meet and discuss again, starting with the finance network that will be organised during the month of March. Shortly afterwards, already in April, it will be the turn for tackling aspects related to monitoring and evaluation, followed in June by the yearly meeting of ENI CBC Audit Authorities. And there will be space also for dealing with communication aspects specific to our community, even if here we keep our cards hidden time-wise, waiting for the situation with the pandemic evolve. Parallel to these thematic communities, networking on a geographical basis will be continued, with the Northern cluster adopting a more agile approach and a higher frequency of meetings, because: why meet just once in twelve months? This Northern experience was extended last year to the programmes involving Ukraine, and so will be the case also in 2021. We will keep you duly posted on the dates of these events and we count on your presence and contributions, even if – at least until summer – we have to still meet online.

    Another TESIM feature to highlight is the issuing of written guidance. Our records tell about 117 publications issued so far, many of which include ready-to-use tools that have been always appreciated by the end users, as proven also by the high number of downloads from our library. In 2021 we will need to split efforts to ensure the availability of guidance that in a way or the other relate to three programming periods. Taking a look at the past, we will draw all the necessary lessons from the closure of ENPI CBC so that we are better equipped for the future. Indeed, and even if only at project level, closure already has its relevance in the current period. This is why guidance on project closure is in the pipeline and why we will also undust our capacity building platform with the issuing of video tutorials on this topic. The present is represented by the many challenges linked to project implementation, including reporting, expenditure verification and audit. With the experience cumulated over the years, there is little we can bring anew on the table. But we will not escape in 2021 one of our trend topics: procurement! This is still posing some challenges, which we all know can have substantial negative effects on project and programme implementation, and still needs due attention. When it comes to the future, our guidance addressed to Interreg NEXT will start from the basics, highlighting the regulatory changes from ENI CBC that will imply a higher degree of twist, both for the programmes and for the participating countries. We will then try to answer quickly one important question: should we be afraid of decommitment? And we will have to confront ourselves with a riddle that relates to – guess what? – procurement! Most of this guidance should be published already before the summer break and you will be alerted upon availability. Should we forget, visit our library from time to time, just in case.

    We will not write much about ad-hoc capacity building or tailor-made advisory support. But you know we are there for any service needed, and we will be most happy to continue attending and supporting your Monitoring and your Programming Committee meetings throughout the year. Likewise, we will closely accompany the preparation of your Interreg NEXT programmes, delivering services, mostly individual this year, all along the process leading to their submission and adoption.

    Did you know that 2021 is the European Year of Rails? To be honest, we did not know ourselves until some months ago. But our communication team has already jumped onboard and will search for stories related to it within our community. As they will do on tourism, on maritime issues, on environment and on research and innovation. The aim is to showcase the many achievements of our community at any EU-wide campaign and celebration taking place in 2021. Not only, TESIM will work on uplifting the presence of CBC also in Partner Countries, promoting the collaboration with the Delegations and supporting initiatives of the national authorities. Our website and social media will keep running non-stop, and you will continue receiving updates through this bulletin every month. And we are already trying to find a warm and sunny spot for the annual conference, hoping this time we will finally manage to meet in person again. Fingers crossed!

    While trying to innovate, we love traditions. And the recurrent features of our work plan mean a lot to us. More about our plans for 2021 when we meet on 18 February for the Consultation and Coordination Group meeting. Until then, many thanks for your availability during the last weeks and for having shared your expectations towards us. We hope that we managed to duly translate them into useful services and to make you think there is always something new under the TESIM sun.   

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