Members of the North West Strategic Growth Partnership held a virtual meeting this week to discuss the cross border approach being taken by Councils to the overall Green Transformation of the North West City Region.
Reports outlining the achievements to date under the North West Development Fund, and the key shared priorities for the region, were also provided at the meeting.
The Partnership meeting is held twice yearly, and was attended by officials from both the Northern Ireland Executive and the Irish Government and civic leaders and officials from Donegal County Council and Derry City and Strabane District Council.
The North West Strategic Growth Partnership is a cross-border regional development structure, the only one of its type on the island of Ireland, and operates in conjunction with and supported by The Executive Office and The Irish Government.
It was first established in 2016 through the North South Ministerial Council, to drive the sustainable growth and development of the North West City Region in recognition of the need for a cross-border approach to the Region’s future as a net contributor to the economies of Ireland and Northern Ireland.
Jointly led by Donegal County Council and Derry City and Strabane District Council, and chaired by the two Mayors, the meeting was supported by the International Centre for Local and Regional Development (ICLRD).
The main focus of the meeting was a joint presentation on the North West City Region’s strategic plans for Collaborative Opportunities for Green Transformation.
Delegates heard how COVID 19 has presented decision makers with an opportunity to deliver the change necessary to address climate and ecology emergencies and how the two Councils were working in close collaboration to achieve strong economic growth through circular zero waste and resource efficient initiatives.
Setting out details of the roadmap for the North West to become a carbon neutral region by 2045, members heard how a number of actions are required on a shared island basis in order to achieve this aim.
These include political support and alignment on policies, support through the education system, the sharing and harmonisation of data, and funding to facilitate a green future.
As part of the detailed presentation senior officers from both Councils spoke about the work they are doing through the NWRDG Green Transformation and Climate Action Working Group to deliver on the targets set out for the public sector in terms of energy efficiency and a reduction in carbon emissions.
Officials also outlined the development of a cross-border energy agency to drive not only energy efficiency measures but also to support the region in developing it capacity for clean energy production. The meeting heard that the key to reaching carbon emissions reduction targets is to embed climate action in every policy, decision and operation and through widespread engagement and consultation so that there is shared learning and understanding.
An Cathaoirleach of Donegal County Council, Cllr Jack Murray said the meeting was another example of positive cross border collaboration on important issues. He said it was imperative that the two Councils continue to drive forward their ambitions for a green transformation in the region.