#BeActive Shared Space

SportHub: Alliance for Regional development in Europe
2018-2020: three years in review
In March 2018 the European Commission launched the SHARE initiative (SportHub: Alliance for Regional development in Europe). SHARE is a platform gathering the sport movement, cities, regions, universities, SMEs and business support organisations (such as clusters) to promote the role of sport and physical activity in regional and local development.

The SHARE initiative developed most of its activities towards the end of 2018 and throughout 2019 and beginning of 2020, in what turned out to be a full period during which various research papers have been published, a capacity-building programme has been developed and high-level European events have been organised.

SHARE Research Papers

During 2019-2020, the SHARE initiative has produced 3 research papers. The overall aim of these research papers is to raise the profile of sport’s and physical activity’s contribution to regional development within European, national and regional decision makers by proposing innovative ways in which sport strategies could be developed and financed through different EU funding streams and thus support local economic and social growth.

The contribution of sport to regional development through Cohesion Policy 2021-2027

The paper articulates the different ways in which sport could deliver on the five objectives of the Cohesion Policy 2021-2027 and highlights evocative examples of how sport-based initiatives were developed with European Structural and Investment Funds across Europe, from the precedent, as well as the current programming period. Read it in: https://keanet.eu/wp-content/uploads/SHARE-The-contribution-of-sport-to-regional-development-through-CP-2021-2027-FINAL.pdf

Mapping smart specialisation strategies around sport

The paper maps and analyses the existing good practices in terms of regional smart specialisation strategies which have included sport as a thematic area for regional development. The mapping was done through a web-based research in the Eye@RIS3 database, a tool created by the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission, which allows users to consult the smart specialisation strategies of all regions in the EU. Read it in: https://keanet.eu/wp-content/uploads/SHARE-Mapping-smart-specialisation-strategies-for-sport-FINAL.pdf

Active Development: An integrated contribution from sport and physical activity to economic and social development

The paper introduces the concept of Active Development as the process of integrating the promotion of sport and physical activity into economic and social development strategies and practice. The paper proposes this concept as an essential element for the development strategies across the EU, by positively promoting a healthier and happier Europe, while allowing the main objectives of Cohesion Policy to be addressed more effectively. Read it in: https://keanet.eu/wp-content/uploads/SHARE-Active-Development-FINAL_.pdf

SHARE database of best practices

A database of best practices was developed during 2019 which pools former or on-going sport initiatives from across the EU in order to better understand how sport delivers on regional development objectives. The database is publicly accessible and gives information on the aims and main activities of each project, the funding stream which was unlocked, the period, the main results and the main policy priorities the projects tackled. It also provides the possibility of advanced queries on different information such as budget, or year and of different filtering options, making it a useful tool for researchers, policy makers, as well as project developers. Consult the database here: https://cloud-utilities.storage.googleapis.com/fusion-tables/index.html?1f-FvO_vnyD6X78gtdSRn4v-U3WwjnePJ9FXdY4gLQ3Q

High-level EU events

  • 10 October 2017
'Smart specialisation through sport' - SHARE seminar during the European Week for Regions and Cities

The first high-level event in which the SHARE initiative was involved was the workshop on smart specialisation through sport, which took place in 2017 during the European Week for Regions and Cities. At that time, sport was already becoming an increasingly important policy area at both EU and regional levels, permeating other policy priorities to deliver additional impacts at local, regional and European levels. The growing number of smart specialisation strategies articulated around sport (driving regional investment in sport to generate social and economic growth) is a relevant indicator in this regard.

In this context, the workshop aimed to take stock of key projects and actions throughout the EU and discuss how they articulate sport policies with regional innovation, as well as to explore the potential for inter-regional knowledge exchanges. In this sense, the ClusSport Partnership constituted a valuable example of such exchanges. High-level EU representatives joined the discussion, namely EU Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport Tibor Navracsics, European Committee of Regions First Vice-President Markku Markkula and Members of European Parliament Bogdan Wenta and Hannu Takkula. The workshop offered a starting point to explore how to move forward to promote the role of sport as a driver for local and regional development. It acted equally as a platform for knowledge exchange and sharing of good practices, thereby contributing to shape innovative policy design linking sport, innovation and smart specialisation strategies.

  • 28 November 2018
The role of sport as a tool for promoting growth, social inclusion and solidarity in European regions - CoR and UEFA high-level conference with the support of the SHARE initiative

An important high-level recognition of SHARE came at the end of 2018 when UEFA and CoR have joined forces to improve accessibility to EU funding for sport. The two bodies highlighted the importance that EU regional investment (through Cohesion Policy) plays in supporting regions deliver sport locally and its subsequent role in promoting growth, social inclusion and solidarity in regions across Europe. This message was set out in a joint declaration signed by the CoR’s President Karl-Heinz Lambertz and UEFA First Vice-President Karl-Erik Nilsson during the high-level conference in Brussels.

The event gathered participants from the EU institutions, including the EU Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport (2014-2019) Tibor Navracsics, MEP Tiziana Beghin and representatives from UEFA’s 55 national football associations. The SHARE initiative was mentioned as a reliable partner in the work towards the wider recognition of sport’s important contribution to the achievement of the strategic objectives of the EU’s Cohesion Policy and consequently towards mainstreaming sport in EU funding programmes.

  • 6 March 2019
‘The future of sport in European cities’ – Seminar in the European Parliament with the support of the SHARE initiative

The first highlight of 2019 was the Seminar on the future of sport in European cities organised in the European Parliament jointly with Sport and Urban Intergroups. The seminar aimed to present the various ways in which sport could contribute to regional development in Europe.

The session featured participation by high-level policy makers: Santiago Fisas Ayxelà, Bogusław Sonik and Marc Tarabella, MEPs (Sport Intergroup), Jan Olbrycht and Jordi Solé, MEPs (Urban Intergroup), Tibor Navracsics, EU Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, Karl-Erik Nilsson, UEFA First Vice-President, Markku Markkula, First Vice-President of the European Committee of the Regions. It next delved into concrete benefits of sport and physical activity at local level across Europe, by highlighting various sport initiatives from Amsterdam, Paris, Flanders and across Europe.

  • 9 October 2019
‘Sport for active & healthy communities’ - SHARE seminar during the European Week for Regions and Cities

At the end of 2019 the seminar on ‘Sport for active communities’ took place in the framework of the European Week for Regions and Cities in Brussels. It featured a political perspective on sport and the public policy agenda with the participation of high-level officials: Tibor Navracsics, EU Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, Bogdan Wenta, Mayor of Kielce (Poland) and Zlatko Mateša, President of the Croatian Olympic Committee. The seminar also featured a project perspective developed through a panel with experts, project and cluster managers at local and regional levels.

The seminar highlighted the link between sport and physical activity and innovation-driven responsible economic growth and social cohesion. By drawing attention on the manifold contributions of sport to regional development, the workshop looked into the different ways in which sport can deliver on the Cohesion Policy 2021-2027 five policy objectives: a Smarter Europe, a more Social Europe, a more Connected Europe, a Greener, low-carbon Europe and a Europe closer to citizens. Overall, the seminar discussions underlined the complexity of sport, not only as a competition or as a healthy activity, but as a driver of innovation and sustainable development, as a cohesion factor which bridges social gaps and creates a sense of belonging to local communities.

  • 13 February 2020
‘Seminar on sport and regional development’ - event for EU Member States' representatives with the support of the SHARE initiative

The Seminar on sport and regional development was organised by the European Commission with the support of the Croatian Presidency of the Council of the EU and took place in Brussels. It aimed to inform and exchange with EU Member States’ and regions’ representatives on the role that sport and physical activity play in the social-economic development of cities and regions through innovative best practice examples from across Europe.

In the context of the ongoing negotiations for the future EU programmes and funding streams, the seminar looked into the different ways in which sport and physical activity could contribute to the Cohesion Policy 2021-2027 five policy objectives. The seminar facilitated panel discussions on each of the objectives developed through three complementary angles, including an introduction to the five topics, a public authority perspective and a project perspective from regions across Europe. The five panels were followed by a policy debate with policy-makers responsible for the development of sport and regional policies in several EU Member States. The debate highlighted the current ways in which sport is contributing to regional development and, more importantly, avenues for sport to increase its visibility as a driver of social cohesion and economic growth in the context of 2021-2027 Cohesion Policy.

Capacity-building activities

The first phase of the SHARE initiative (March 2018 – May 2019) was developed as a pilot project with a view to test methodologies of the capacity-building programme and of the national conferences and their relevancy for the regional and local needs. This pilot phase has revealed a real need across regions in Europe to create or deepen the knowledge on the role of sport to regional development on one hand, and to empower local and regional stakeholders to develop sport-based initiatives with European Structural and Investment Funds on the other hand. There is overall a keen interest from the different stakeholders in developing sport initiatives with EU funds, given the overall low level of national and regional funding for sport across Europe. As a result, the capacity-building programme was continued through 2019-2020, during the second phase of the SHARE initiative.

  • Here are the SHARE capacity-building activities that took place throughout 2018-2020:

Cyprus Sport Organisation – Nicosia, Cyprus
Lombardy Region – Milan, Italy
Latvian Football Federation – Riga, Latvia
Finnish Olympic Committee and Football Association of Finland – Helsinki, Finland
University of Granada – Granada, Spain
Fundao Municipality - Fundao, Portugal
Torino Municipality – Torino, Italy
Federation of European Sport Industry - FESI webinar
EU Sport Link - Brussels, Belgium
Austrian Presidency of the Council of the EU - Vienna, Austria
French Ministry of Sport - Paris, France
Polish Ministry of Sport and Tourism - Warsaw, Poland
National Association of Italian Municipalities - Rome, Italy

Municipality of Kielce - Kielce, Poland
Municipality of Strasbourg - Strasbourg, France
Sport Ireland - Ireland
Regional Council of Lapland - Lapland, Finland
Regional Council of Kainuu - Kainuu, Finland
Cluster Sport & Technology - South Netherlands
Club for Romania XXI NGO - Bucharest, Romania

Next steps

The third phase of the SHARE initiative will be launched in September 2020 and should build upon the results achieved in the first two phases. It should especially continue to develop and deepen the collaboration between the different stakeholders involved in SHARE's core activities and ramp up the communication and dissemination activities. Here are some of the foreseen activities starting in September this year:

  • 18 capacity-building activities to public authorities, Member States representatives, sport organisations throughout the EU;
  • 5 thematic training webinars;
  • 5 in-depth research papers and 10 background documents;
  • 10 presentations of SHARE in or outside Brussels;
  • 4 high-level EU events (including at the European Week for Regions and Cities).

We will continue to keep you informed on the initiative's further developments starting from September 2020.

The SHARE initiative is a partnership-driven platform. Its strength derives from its supporters’ engagement and a knowledge hub of relevant organisations, initiatives and networks: we are working with a myriad of different types of organisations, including primarily the sport movement, cities, regions, universities, SMEs and business support organisations (such as clusters) which are essential parts of the sport and physical activity tissue across Europe. SHARE is continuously building bridges between these different stakeholders and it welcomes any like-minded initiatives, projects or organisations to join!
To learn more on how to join the SHARE initiative, contact KEA European Affairs – the public affairs and scientific coordinator of SHARE: share@keanet.eu

Author: BSDA
Author e-mail: info@bulsport.bg