A brief by Tamara Guirao, CAAC coordinator
As we’ve seen before, cooperation among cities can be enhanced by joining a network. In this sense, CAAC has issued in 2012 a paper on the role of city networks in cohesion policy in the framework of the TONETA project. From the experience of the Conference of Atlantic Arc Cities and building on the conclusions of the paper, we can identify several reasons to join a network:
- Influence: Several city networks, as the Atlantic Urban Forum, are created upon the political will of their members, so as to defend their common interests before the European Institutions or other international actors. In CAAC’s case, the creation of the CECICN platform has led to a multi-level scale which is Europe-wide.
- Information: CAAC members are informed of all the main developments in the Atlantic Arc and on the European issues directly affecting them. For instance, they receive a monthly bulletin with more than 40 calls for projects, awards, consultations, trainings and policy documents.
- Exposure: If your city needs knowledge and experience on international relations, a network can provide you with the necessary skills to grow your international presence and activity or even start international strategies. It also adds to a city cv when applying for funds or awards.
- Motivation: International Relations are complex and must rely upon trustworthy tools and partners. In low times, when overcome by the requirements of projects or institutions, the support of a network reveals itself fundamental.
- Partnership: Partners and contacts are the key factor in a network. Joining an international association like CAAC will put you in direct contact with cities facing similar issues, project leaders and diverse stakeholders in the Atlantic Arc. In addition, CECICN represents an opportunity to work together with more than 600 hundred cities all over Europe.
- Visibility: Peer recognition and joint action enhance the weight of cities at an international scale. Networks like the Atlantic Urban Forum work for the good practice and aspirations of its members to be acknowledged as key input and common ground in the European debate.
- Brand: The decision to join a network should be made upon the identity of the city and the image it wants to convey at international scale. So as to define, strengthen and disseminate the Atlantic uniqueness of its cities, CAAC is participating as a full partner in projects like IMAGINA ATLANTICA or ATBRAND.
- Skills: International Relations are a trade that should be learnt by doing. Joining a network will provide you with opportunity, while experiencing transnational teamwork and networking. Further on, leadership skills are open to grabs when coordinating working groups, projects or studies.
- Assistance and solidarity: Don’t (just) ask what the network can do for you, but also what can you do for the network. CAAC, the Atlantic Urban Forum, understands its Secretariat as a common tool to offer members the necessary consultancy at international level. But, in the other hand, it is also a network that taps on the potential of its membership so as to create synergies and find economies of scale.
Should you be interested in joining CAAC, please find more info in this brochure or directly contact our Headquarters at: headquarters (a) atlanticcities.eu