USI involved in the GovernaTI-VA cross-border project

GovernaTI-VA is a new cross-border cooperation project between public instititutions in Lombardy and Ticino. On June 18, the Municipality of Varese, Italy, presented the project, which is conducted in collaboration with USI Universitą della Svizzera italiana, the Sezione Enti Locali (SEL, the Local Authorities Office) of the Department of Institutions of the Canton Ticino, Anci Lombardia, and the Associazione Partenariato Pubblico-Privato Svizzera (PPP Association Switzerland). The joint effort aims at strengthening cross-border governance and create a platform for the exchange of good practices between Italy and Switzerland.

Knowledge sharing as a basis for strengthening the capacity of public administrations in the Province of Varese and the Canton Ticino to develop shared decision-making processes, facing common challenges together. This is the objective of GovernaTI-VA, a cross-border project that is part of the Interreg V-A Italy-Switzerland Cooperation Programme 2014-2020, which sees USI working together with the Canton of Ticino.

"The public and non-profit management area of the USI Institute of Economics (IdEP, Faculty of Economics) has promoted and supported the project, taking up and developing the knowledge and experience accumulated in two previous Interreg III and IV projects which have also involved local administrations and which have seen the Government of the Canton Ticino and many municipalities as active partners", explains Marco Meneguzzo , Full professor of Public and non-profit management at IdEP. "From this new Interreg project, which also involves the SEL and the PPP Association Switzerland, we expect, in addition to a comparison among current trends, precise indications on possible service management solutions and smalland medium-sized PPP projects and changes in the way municipalities operate, such as the impact of smart working in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic", adds Prof. Meneguzzo.

There are two areas in particular on which the GovernaTI-VA project will focus and which will see the involment of USI: mobility and innovation. The aim of the former is to identify shared solutions to better govern travel flows and ensure accessibility and sustainable connections for all citizens of the two regions. As for the latter, smart cities, social innovation, e-democracy and digital transformation are the key concepts for which it is important to share ideas and create guidelines to make the most of the potential of technological innovation for the development in the cross-border region.

The GovernaTi-Va project concretely aims at comparing the institutional architectures and regulatory frameworks that support and regulate the territorial governance function of Swiss and Italian municipalities.

The collaboration with the SEL warrants for its strong contribution to the local authorities in Ticino that can be represented within the project. In addition, the presence of the SEL will make it possible to have a serious and reliable partner towards the Canton and the Municipalities also at the level of institutional communication between the partners involved. In addition, the SEL is a partner involved in the most recent initiatives for the modernisation of municipal administrations in Ticino, with positive effects on the whole Canton (and also the Italian regions in Lombardy involved in the Interreg project) in the research and implementation of such initiatives in the Municipalities - thus guaranteeing the cross-border character of GovernaTi-Va. In fact, local public administrations have been evaluating for some time now new management methods such as autonomous administrative units or public law units (envisaged only since 2009 by the Municipal Organic Law LOC in Ticino). These possibilities are considered also in function of the aggregation processes that have affected and still affect the Municipalities of Ticino.

The participation of PPP Association Switzerland will enable the German-speaking and French-speaking regions of Switzerland (local and regional) to be involved in some phases of the project for the specific topic of public-private partnerships. For example, intercantonal comparisons in the field of governance and innovation are useful for the present project, also in terms of reciprocity between Italy and Switzerland.

Finally, the Institute for Continuing Education (IFC) of the Department of Education, Culture and Sport of the Canton Ticino will be able to offer a valid contribution in the field of training to local authorities. The IFC has a strong experience in this sense and its contribution will bring added value to all the partners involved.