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European Week of Regions and Cities

Local Intermediate Authorities at the forefront of social innovation

Local Intermediate Authorities are most aware of the social realities of their territories as the ideal local contacts for mayors and citizens to express their possible concerns and suggestions regarding the social fabric of local society. They are idea labs pioneering innovative, adaptable, resilient, inclusive solutions (some EU-funded) to recurring and emerging social issues (inequalities): job search for disadvantaged populations, "Social innovation meets culture" (ESF+/ERDF).

  • Territorial | Local and regional | INTERREG | Mobility and Transport | Governance and Public administration | Cohesion | Housing | Demographics (depopulation and ageing) | Social inclusion and Equality | Migration | Digital and ICT | Industry, entrepreneurship and SMEs (enterprise/ startup/ business) | Jobs and Employment
  • Code: 11WS23238
  • Jacques Delors building, JDE 63



Practical information

Wed 11/10/2023, 16:30 - 17:30 CET
Jacques Delors building, JDE 63
Promoting social innovation
English, French, Spanish



Session summary

On October 11, the Confederation of Intermediate Local Authorities (CEPLI) organized, as part of the European Week of Regions and Cities of the Committee of the Regions, a workshop dedicated to actions at the intermediate level in favor of social innovation .
Local intermediate authorities are the most aware of the social realities of their territory and constitute the ideal local interlocutors for mayors and citizens to express their possible concerns and suggestions concerning the social fabric of local society. These are think tanks that offer innovative, adaptable, resilient and inclusive solutions (some funded by the EU) to recurring and emerging social problems (inequalities): job search for disadvantaged populations, “Social innovation meets culture”, etc.

This workshop made it possible to highlight initiatives in favor of social innovation in the Provinces of Valencia and Barcelona, as well as in the Region of Hannover.
In these territories, social innovation aims to respond to social needs, and helps municipalities as well as improve the quality of life of citizens.
To achieve this, Local Intermediate authorities ensure that collaborations between different sectors are created, and thus promote long-term economic sustainability and create new jobs.
It is therefore a question of providing permanent support to municipalities, and of facilitating connections for citizens in the most remote areas, of offering the smallest municipalities the opportunity to develop.

Several initiatives of Local Intermediate Authorities, municipalities and regional authorities were highlighted: the establishment of criteria for more efficient sustainable mobility, the improvement of the road network while ensuring the limitation of the impact on global warming, the filtration of drinking water rain, plastic recycling, etc…
Social Innovation is also about facilitating entrepreneurship, encouraging growth and promoting internationalisation. Indeed, it is important to note that technological innovations and digitalisation bring social progress. These innovations must be used to facilitate the population’s access to public services.

To conclude, social innovation in our territories makes it possible to overcome social challenges, thanks to an integrated approach, synergies between different sectors, and by creating bridges between administrations, businesses, and universities.
It is the local intermediate authorities who are at the heart of this concern and who organise this process applying a transversal approach, and taking into account sustainable development objectives.

Mr. Muñoz:
“Innovation is necessary for municipalities in a context of social change (lasting effects of the pandemic, price crisis, climate change...) And local administrations are the first to respond to crises. Therefore we must be creative, from the public administration perspective, and especially from the municipalities and local intermediate level; it is necessary to be innovative and flexible. Furthermore, citizens are asking for a new way of interacting with public administrations. We are seeing changes in the forms of communication, but we must be very alert to the social inequalities and the digital divide because social innovation must be inclusive. With this a final message: social Innovation is a means to achieve an end which is a more inclusive, egalitarian, empowered, cohesive and participatory society.”

Mrs. Mazzolari
“Investments for the conservation and improvement of local roads and municipal roads in the public domain in territories at risk of depopulation are a tool to carry out social policies that allow correcting the existing imbalances between the large economic centers and the extensive territories in their vicinity which have been called empty or emptied Spain or even more straightforwardly forgotten Spain.”

Mrs. Petersen
“Technological change promises social progress, but it is also clear that technological innovations alone cannot solve current social challenges. Rather, they sometimes also produce problematic (side) effects that affect many people both professionally and privately.”