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elected regional Government at the earliest opportunity, lobbying Government to allow people in the NW to have their say through a referendum in the first wave of regions to move forward the regional agenda. 4.4

GONW acts as the representative of the UK Central Government in the region and includes regional units of the DTI, ODPM, DfES, the Home Office and DEFRA, working with partners to deliver significant domestic programmes such as Neighbourhood Renewal, Housing Market Renewal and rural development. GONW is also the managing authority for the current Structural Funds programmes.


The Northwest’s Current European Union Activities


This has so far been dominated by its role as a major recipient of EU structural funds through Objective 1, 2 and 3, and the Community Initiatives. The NWDA has established a small high level European Strategy Group to encourage regional engagement across the programmes. The Agency is also currently chairing the Mid Term Evaluations for Objectives 1 and 2, working closely with the GONW to complete these against the set time scales.


The NW is accessing significant funding from the Community Initiatives (Urban, Leader, Equal and Interreg). Since the 1997, the NW has co-ordinated Interreg bids at the regional level through the Assembly and the Interreg III (2000-2006) programme is supporting several Northwest projects, including the NETA project. More projects are under development, covering topics such as regeneration, transport, ICT, environment, cultural and maritime issues.


The Objective 1 and 2 programmes have appointed six Cross Cutting Theme (CCT) Managers, who are based at the NWRA. The CCT managers are working with GONW, Action Plans partners and individual projects across the Objective 1, 2 and 3 programmes throughout the NW region to ensure that the Commission’s requirements to mainstream and integrate Equal Opportunities, Information and Communication Technologies, and Sustainable Development into all the Structural funds are being undertaken and achieved.


The NWDA was recently awarded 2.9 m EUROs from the Innovative Actions programme, which will focus on developing further the information society across the region within excluded communities, SMEs and other sectors. This links in with the wider eEurope agenda, where NW stakeholders are developing linkages through RDTI programmes. NW partners have established NW NODE to conceptualise and deliver projects related to these initiatives. The NW region is a founder member of ERISA.


In particular, the regions HEIs and other partners have been active in the many EU R&D programmes and are now preparing to participate in Framework 6 programmes and projects. The NWDA has recently increased its capacity in this respect to ensure that SMEs gain access to such opportunities.


a regional european framework for action