The EU-LAC Foundation has been invited to participate as observer in the the EU-CELAC Joint Initiative on Research and Innovation Senior Officials Meeting (JIRI SOM), which has just started in Brussels. The JIRI SOM constitutes an important element of the EU—CELAC Road Map 2023-2025 as agreed upon during the EU-CELAC Summit in July 2023.
During the inauguration, Maria Cristina Russo, Director for International Cooperation, Directorate-General for Research and Innovation, EU Commission, welcomed the delegates from multiple EU and LAC states and presented the objectives the Meeting, which are to discuss the advances made in the JIRI Strategic Road Map 2020-2023 and to agree on the upcoming steps to promote new initiatives and foster the further development of the Common Research Area among the regions.
In a video message, Douglas Slater, National Coordinator of the CELAC Pro-Tempore Presidency, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, outlined the four pillars of JIRI (researchers mobility, research infrastructures, global challenges, innovation) and expressed his hope that with this JIRI SOM, delegates could delve into common strategies to promote the interconnections between our research ecosystems and make transfer of knowledge more efficient, so as to positively affect scientific endeavours and the development of public policies at the same time.
The cooperation in R&I between EU and CELAC has advanced at numerous levels. During the 2010 EU-CELAC Summit in Madrid, the EU and CELAC agreed to establish an EU-CELAC Action Plan, whereby 'science, research, innovation and technology' constitutes an independent chapter. In addition, the Joint Initiative on Research and Innovation (JIRI) was adopted to promote a regular bi-regional dialogue on R&I. Since 2011 eight Senior Officials’ Meetings (SOM) have been organised to support the implementation of the JIRI.
As the bi-regional partnership evolved over the years, the EU-CELAC Common Research Area was announced at the EU-CELAC Summit in June 2015 and adopted at the fifth EU-CELAC JIRI SOM in March 2016 to further strengthen the bi-regional partnership in research and innovation (R&I) under three pillars: Mobility of researchers; international outreach of research infrastructures; and jointly addressing global challenges. During the JIRI SOM in 2020, innovation was added as fourth pillar.
Among others, the EU-LAC Foundation co-organised the following events relevant to topics of the bi-regional partnership in R&I in 2023:
- Workshops for Institutional Capacity Building in Science, Technology and Innovation Cooperation between Latin America and the Caribbean and the European Union: Focus on the Andean Region, Bogota, Colombia, 22-24 February 2023.
- Dialogue 'Perspectives and proposals for renewing the strategic partnership between the European Union and Latin America and the Caribbean', Madrid, Spain, 3-4 April.
- EU-LAC Knowledge Forum, Montevideo, Uruguay, 24-25 April.
- EU-LAC Just Transitions Forum, Barcelona, Spain, 15-16 May 2023.
- EU-LAC Multi-Actor Dialogue Forum on Just Green Transition, Inclusive Digital Transformation, and Social Cohesion, Costa Rica, 4 October 2023.
- International Conference 'Food Security: Challenges and Opportunities for EU-LAC Relations' taking place in Barcelona, Spain, 9 November 2023.
- Workshop 'Digital Transformation as an Enabler for the Improvement of Food Security and Clean Energy Transition' taking place in Panama City, Panama, 16-17 November 2023