Promoting Balanced and Sustainable Cross Border Development

Project Title:             Promoting Balanced and Sustainable Cross Border Development

Project Partners:       10 Member Councils of EBR LTD

Project Budget:          £700,000

Project Aim:  

EBR Ltd has demonstrated that it is pivotal to cross border economic development in the East Border Region. No other organisation exists to co-ordinate and facilitate the Region's cross border activity across a wide range of sectors.  Thus the aim of this INTERREG IVA project is:

  • to build on the successes to date
  • to further enhance existing cross border networks in respect of enterprise, tourism, environment and collaboration
  • to facilitate the establishment of new cross border networks
  • ultimately to strengthen the regional capacity for cross border cooperation.


The EBRC has a history of co-operation in cross border economic development for over 30 years focusing on areas such as agriculture, industry, commerce and tourism.  The core activities of the EBR have been funded by the INTERREG Programme since 1991.  INTERREG II funding enabled the EBR to set up a full time Secretariat in 1995, and consequently enabled the Committee to enhance and develop its cross border activities.

Direction and administration of the INTERREG IVA Multi Annual Plan will be a very important task for EBR Ltd in the period up to 2013, however the activities of EBR are not limited to INTERREG and EBR is more than just the cross border region's INTERREG mechanism.  Indeed it can be argued that during the period of the INTERREG IIIA Programme the focus of EBR Ltd on successful delivery of the Programme distracted it from wider core tasks and relationships to the detriment of the organisation overall.  The key tasks which EBR Ltd intend to undertake in the period 2009-2013 can be summarised under the following headings:

1.         Leading the cross border development in the EBR

2.         Representing the cross border region, advocating its needs and sharing best practice

3.         Managing the wider European Dimension including Transnational Programmes

4.         Managing the cross border development process.


Project Summary:

East Border Region Ltd is a strategic cross border network comprising 60 Councillors from 10 member local authorities which has a history of cooperation for cross border development stretching back over 30 years.  This cooperation has grown from a consultation between 2 adjacent cross border councils to a much more broadly based concept of balanced and sustainable development of the cross border region.  EBR Ltd is the mechanism by which this cooperation is carried forward.  EBR Ltd is directed by its Board and draws on constituent local authorities for advice and guidance.  All of the political parties in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland are represented in EBR Ltd and the organisation has extensive social partners and other networks in the region and internationally. 

Since 1976 EBR has learned to think as a cross border region tackling joint problems together and taking opportunities together.  The growth of EBR Ltd. from a co-operation between two cross border local authorities to a network of 10 local authorities serving over 800,000 people is evidence of the value placed on cross border co-operation. This growth has seen the inclusion in the cross border process of local authority areas which have not traditionally been concerned with cross border development and whose political traditions might not have disposed them to cooperation with local authorities in another jurisdiction.  The common theme is the need for the EBR to sustain its economic development through processes which will embed the growth process in the cross border region and at the same time spread the growth in an equitable and balanced manner throughout the region, in other words the EBR is seeking to achieve balanced and sustainable development of the cross border region. 

EBR Ltd has established itself as the voice of the Region, able to communicate with Belfast, Dublin and Brussels as one across political and traditional barriers.  EBR Ltd demonstrates democratic accountability to 10 Councils North and South through 60 Councillors.  The success of EBR is evidenced by the fact that cross border cooperation is seen as non-political and members believe that working together is better than competing.  EBR Ltd also demonstrates good interpersonal relationships between Councillors and senior management on both sides of the border.

The Board has acted as a conjugate for cross border economic development in the east border region and has been a primary facilitator of all EBR actions.  The performance of the board in terms of leadership and management has led to the establishment of a number of regional, cross border structures/networks i.e. the Members Forum involving 60 elected members from all of the political parties north and south, and a number of thematic Implementation groups involving council officials from the 10 member councils working together to develop strategic, genuinely cross border projects in the areas of Tourism, Environment and Economic Development.  The Board has also actively pursued the aims and objectives of EBR and has been responsible for all operational actions, including policy and strategy, lobbying, co-operation, project development, monitoring and communications and publicity.  The activities of the board throughout the INTERREG IVA programming period will ensure the effectiveness and sustainability of INTERREG investments in the region not only in respect of dedicated east border activity but with key stakeholders in the region through the financial and non-financial management of their INTERREG IVA programmes. 

This component of the Operation will put in place the fundamental underpinnings of the continued development of the EBR's capacity for cross border regional development. In so doing, it would build on the strengthening of the regional cross border development capacity which occurred under INTERREG IIIA.

  • Monaghan
  • LCC
  • MCC
  • Newry, Mourne and Down District Council
  • Ards and North Down Borough Council
  • Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council