Background to the Cross Border Partnerships

ICBAN is one of three Local Authority led Cross Border Networks working in the Ireland/Northern Ireland border area: 

  • ICBAN
  • EBR (East Border Region)
  • NWRCBG (North West Region Cross Border Group)

It is also one of five Local Authority led ‘Cooperation Partnerships’ that presently operate in the Ireland / Northern Ireland border region:

  • ICBAN, EBR & NWCBG (As Above)

In addition:

  • NEP (North East Partnership)
  • COMET (Belfast Metropolitan Area)

The 5 Partnerships provide strategic support to multiple stakeholders on key cross-border regional development issues, which relate to future sustainability, competitiveness, and social cohesion in the cross-border area.  They are policy and delivery platforms supporting development throughout the border region.  Together serving as an integrated formal framework to initiate and facilitate new cross border cooperation projects and economic development initiatives.

Common Aims

  • Develop a strategic approach to Cross-Border Cooperation to ensure balanced and sustainable development utilizing the European spatial development perspective;
  • Ensure that Local Authorities are at the forefront of Cross-Border Development;
  • Strengthen established Cross-Border linkages by building on their success and sharing best practice;
  • Establish the Ireland Northern Ireland border region as a model of best practice in cross border co-operation;
  • Build on the success of previous INTERREG Programmes;
  • Develop new Cross-Border linkages for the mutual economic and social benefit of all stakeholders;
  • Strengthen linkages with other European border regions through membership of the Association of European

Border Regions.

The Partnerships are stimulating and strengthening cross border cooperation, building on the economies of scale that can be reaped from cooperative ventures and joint working.  Focused on the shared and complementary strengths of both jurisdictions, the Partnerships are creating innovative yet realistic approaches to cooperation based on achievable and mutually beneficial outcomes. 

The Cross Border Partnerships involvement in EU INTERREG Programmes

The delivery of the INTERREG IIIA Programme in the Ireland Northern Ireland border region was undertaken through an agreed bottom-up partnership approach that was unique to the INTERREG Programme throughout the entire European Union.  The Ireland/Northern Ireland Programme was only able to achieve this due to the existence of a unique group of Partnerships between Local Authorities on both sides of the border comprising the East Border Region (EBR), the Irish Central Border Area Network (ICBAN), and the North West Region Cross-Border Group (NWRCBG).  An additional two Partnerships emerged to complement the work of these: the North East Partnership (NEP) and COMET covering the group of Local Authorities around the Belfast metropolitan area.

These Partnerships comprised Elected Members and Social Partners on a 50:50 basis and it was this mixture that provided the impetus for a truly collective and truly cross border approach to the delivery of INTERREG IIIA in this region.  These partnerships played a key role in implementing the Programme, ensuring that the support of the European Union reached its citizens at grass roots level and that the aims of the Programme were translated to, and achieved at local level.  This provided a tangible sense of ownership from the outset.  They brought Local Authorities and Social Partners, from both sides of the border together in equal numbers in a dynamic way, to promote co-operation in addressing common challenges taking advantage of opportunities afforded by INTERREG funding.

The Partnerships continue to play a valuable role in the INTERREG Programme.  For the 2007-2013 programming period, each Partnership is delivering a Multi Annual Plans for their respective area to address the present and future development needs of their sub-region

The ‘bottom-up’ approach which framed the previous Programme has been integrated into the new Programme and is ensuring the legacy of the INTERREG Programme is felt throughout the region and for generations to come.

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