I2UD and its staff have a long history of working in post-conflict countries, where it is often hardest and most necessary to create good governance and planning capacity. Our flagship post-conflict cooperation project today is the International Centre for Local and Regional Development (ICLRD) in Ireland. I2UD is a founding partner of ICLRD, for which I2UD’s Vice President John Driscoll serves as Acting Director. ICLRD works to build the capacity of regional and local authorities, development agencies, border networks and community and voluntary organizations to manage spatial planning on the island of Ireland as a whole.
The Centre plays a proactive role in peace and reconciliation on the island between Northern Ireland and Ireland by facilitating coordinated spatial planning and social and economic development. Through its research and professional education programs, ICLRD helps improve the environments, economic development, and social conditions of people on the island.
Since its founding in 2006, ICLRD has achieved many remarkable successes, including getting the towns of Newry and Dundalk, located on opposites sides of the border, to sign a memorandum of understanding to cooperate in a number of thematic areas including: emergency planning, renewable energy and green technology, tourism and recreation, sustainable economic growth and job creation. I2UD continues to provide project management support to ICLRD by directing the ICLRD program and support the following major initiatives:
- Research on cross-border collaboration strategies
- Research on local development strategies in cross-border micro-regions
- Advising communities on integrated and affordable housing
This work has been recognized at the highest levels. Ireland’s President Mary McAleese, her husband Dr. Martin McAleese and a team of delegates visited with I2UD in 2009. President McAleese talked about the impacts of the border, physical and mental, on the different communities on the island of Ireland and thanked I2UD for its continuing work and role in starting ICLRD. Click here for the Boston Globe article on her visit.
For years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, many senior I2UD staff managed USAID-funded programs in Eastern European countries. These projects engaged local governments, communities and nonprofit organizations to create new infrastructure improvement plans, housing rehabilitation strategies and urban financing structures in cities that had little experience in self-management and that were experiencing very rapid urbanization.