For the participation of civil society
Connect Programme is concerned with one of the principal objectives of the strategic bi-regional association, that is, promoting participation by civil society in Latin America and the Caribbean and the European Union. To this end, it will promote the development of a network of networks that will bring together, in a broad and inclusive manner, a range of actors, around themes of common interest.
The construction of this pattern of networks, built initially on a sectoral basis, will create a platform for a constructive dialogue and a laboratory of proposals for civil society in both regions.
The aim of this programme is to identify synergies among the various thematic networks that are already working in the two regions, to promote the convergence of common processes and to convert those networks into protagonists of the bi-regional association, channeling their proposals into the process of Summit meetings of Heads of State and Government of CELAC-EU.
As a point of departure, the Connect Programme will enter into discussions with a number of sectors, including academic, business, youth organisations and groups involved with gender issues. This is not an exhaustive list of thematic areas and it may be extended to other fields linked to the strategic bi-regional association, if they are deemed relevant.
The instruments to be used by the programme to promote relationships between the two regions are the MAPEO database of institutions and the Vademecum of bi-regional cooperation projects.
The principles underpinning the activities of Connect are as follows:
- Relevance. The networks that the Programme seeks to link should be involved in activities related to the themes identified in the Summits of Heads of State and Government of CELAC-EU, or should arise from a statement of interest from the member-states aimed at promoting debate and enriching the bi-regional agenda.
- Universality. The networks that the Foundation will bring together should have a universal vocation and structures that ensure open participation on the part of bodies within EU-LAC.
- Subsidiarity. The Foundation promotes, supports and evaluates activities within the limits of its capacities and its own strategies, but it does not substitute any of those involved in the networks with regard to their own responsibilities.
- Opportunity. In order to ensure successful interaction with the inter-governmental process, the activities of the networks in the bi-regional context should be deemed opportune at the time when they are carried out.
- Efficiency and effectiveness. The Foundation will support the networks in order to enhance the impact of their activities and services, in such a way as to strengthen them and ensure that they continue to be maximally effective into the future.
It is important that the activities of the networks should be based on their own vision of the bi-regional relationship and that each encounter should generate solid results in order to enhance the thematic agenda of the network itself and of the inter-governmental process, and with this in mind mechanisms for evaluating progress will be put in place.
The principal areas of activity of the Connect programme
CELAC-EU Youth Days: Decent Employment: Young people have a key role to play in the construction of the bi-regional association. Connect is working on building a network that will bring together all the many youth networks that already exist within the EU and CELAC countries. This should be a flexible and representative structure that will contribute a future-oriented vision to the bi-regional agenda and provide answers to the challenges that young people face in the two regions, principally as regards education and employment.
MAPEO is a database that allows us to identify different actors in civil society in the two regions, based on certain established parameters (thematic area, region, country, sector). This facilitates mutual awareness as well as possible alliances and synergies with other relevant databases in the bi-regional association.
Academic Summit: Higher education, research, development and innovation are priority areas for the Connect Programme, which, besides monitoring progress on the results of the 1st Academic CELAC-EU Summit held in Santiago de Chile, is working actively on the preparation of the 2nd Academic Summit, in collaboration with the Permanent Academic Forum made up of the participating organisations, among which are the Latin American Centre for Relations with Europe (Centro Latinoamericano para las Relaciones con Europa/CELARE) and the Institut des Amériques (France).
Business Summit: The bi-regional business summits, of which there have been four to date, have always attracted the attention of business leaders, whatever the size of their companies or the sectors in which they operate. With a view to the next Summit, planned for the middle of 2015, Connect is promoting an agenda of work that will include topics such as the SMEs and their integration into global value chains, programmes aimed at improving productivity and competitiveness with an emphasis on professional training, technology and innovation, infrastructure and practices that are in line with social and environmental responsibility.