Shared between Spain, Andorra and France, the Pyrenees are a small mountain region, where transnational cooperation began in the form of an informal working community of subnational governments in 1983. The Working Community of the Pyrenees (CTP) is a cross-border, inter-territorial organisation created with the support of the Council of Europe.
The CTP is made up of the French regions of Nouvelle-Aquitaine and Occitanie; the Principality of Andorra; and the Spanish Autonomous Communities of Catalonia, Aragon, Navarre and the Basque Country. Since November 2019, Catalonia Region has the Presidency of the Working Community of the Pyrenees. Cooperation has been formalized since 1990 in the context of the European Union INTERREG programme. The Pyrenees Observatory of Climate Change (OPCC) provides data and information at the regional level.
Key governance dimensions
In the Pyrenees, more than 600 km of borders in three countries – Spain, France and Andorra – are involved and further, a mountain range that goes from the Mediterranean Sea to the Atlantic Ocean and has mountain peaks that sometimes reach over 3000 m of altitude.
There are three different delimitations: an overall delimitation of the territory of the seven administrative bodies that go beyond the mountains; one perimeter of the territory that only includes the area covered by the European funding programme, which makes it a bit more restrictive; and lastly, an understanding of territory that focuses exclusively on the mountain area that is used when talking about natural systems and climate change. In the case of climate change impact analysis, the Pyrenean Strategy for 2018-2024 focuses on the bioregion approach that includes hydrographic basins, forests, habitats of different species of flora and fauna and considers the specific territory of mountains. However, when it comes to action plans and respective budgets for implementation, the seven administrative bodies of the territory remain responsible authorities.
The Working Community of the Pyrenees (CTP) is an ideal platform to address complex issues because it brings together key actors and has a large capacity to mobilize others at all levels of governance. It is a loose structure with a broad territorial and thematic scope, with a transversal and cross-border vision. It combines almost 40 years of experience in territorial cooperation and, in addition, since 2007 acts as the managing authority of one of the Interreg programs financed with ERDF [European Regional Development Fund] funds from the European Union: the Territorial Cooperation Program Spain France Andorra (POCTEFA). The presidency of the Working Community of the Pyrenees is a rotating position that changes every two years. The aim of the presidency is to promote, in close collaboration with the member territories of the CTP, the implementation of structural projects aimed at promoting the economic and social development of the Pyrenean area and the coastal areas that form part of the territory of the Working Community of the Pyrenees. The President represents the CTP and convenes and chairs the Plenary which meets once a year.
The Pyrenees Climate Change Observatory (OPCC) has been created in 2010 under the Pyrenees Working Community (CTP), to monitor and understand climate change in the Pyrenees. It also functions as a permanent platform for exchanging information between scientists, politicians and other actors in the Pyrenees mountain range. The observatory was originally formed in the context of an INTERREG programme but has become independent data and information provider with diverse project portfolios and funding sources. This scientific collective informs mountain range governance processes but does not formally participate in them.
The Interreg Program V-A Spain-France-Andorra (POCTEFA) is a European program for cross-border cooperation in the Spain-France-Andorra frontier. The program’s aim is to give financial support to European projects thanks to the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). This support allows to reinforce the economic and social integration of the area and to promote sustainable development. The program improves the life of the population living in the cross-border area. One of the stakes is to enhance local, regional or interregional strategies to a cross-border scale by fostering exchanges and common knowledge. The financed projects are acting on both sides of the frontier and are preserving the territory resources. The program’s managing authority is the Working Community of the Pyrenees and includes 7 members: two French regions (Nouvelle-Aquitaine and Occitanie), four Spanish communities (Aragon, Navarra, Catalunya, Euskadi) and Andorra. The surface of the territory is 115.583 km2 with more than 15 million inhabitants.
The Pyrenees Working Community (CTP) is established in Bordeaux, with the support of the Council of Europe, to promote transboundary cooperation. The CTP is composed of the French regions Nouvelle-Aguitaine and Occitanie; the autonomous Spanish communities of Catalonia, Aragon, Navarre and Basque Country; and the Principality of Andorra.
The CTP obtains formal organizational status through an Interadministrative Convention between the CTP’s constitutive member regions.
France and Spain sign the Treaty of Bayonne to promote transboundary cooperation in according to the 1980 Council of Europe Outline Convention on Transfrontier Co-operation between Territorial Communities or Authorities.
Establishment of the CTP Consorcio, a legal entity under Spanish law, to facilitate participation in European Union funded programmes.
Launch of the 1st Interreg V-A Spain-France-Andorra Programme (POCTEFA) with the CTP as Management Authority.
Establishment of the Pyrenean Climate Change Observatory as a CTP flagship project.
Andorra signs the Treaty of Bayonne.
Launch of the 2nd Interreg V-A Spain-France-Andorra Programme (POCTEFA) with the CTP as Management Authority.
The CTP is formally attached to the Spanish autonomous region of Aragon.
Adoption of the 2018-2024 CTP Pyrenees Strategy and Action Plan with the following focus: climate action; territorial initiatives and attraction; mobility, connectivity, and accessibility; and governance, capitalization, and communication.
Launch of the 3rd Interreg V-A Spain-France-Andorra Programme (POCTEFA) with the CTP as Management Authority.
- Pyrenees Working Community, CTP (-> link)
- Pyrenean Climate Change Observatory, OPCC (-> link)
- INTERREG Programme Spain-France-Andorra, POCTEFA (-> link)
The Pyrenees in Mountains Connect videos
- #1 Locating mountains for governance (-> link)
- #2 Crafting collaboration (-> link)
- #6 Bringing science and policy together (-> link)
- #7 Funding sustainable mountain development (-> link)
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