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IDEASS is an international cooperation programme, aimed at strengthening integrated and participatory territorial development processes by encouraging an increased use of innovative working methods and tools which have been effectively adopted both at the national level and in other countries.

The programme is inspired by the commitments of the international community to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 United Nations Agenda, and by the guidelines of the global thematic initiatives promoted by the United Nations and other international entities.

IDEASS was set up in 2001 as a thematic complement to the activities of human development and anti-poverty programmes implemented by the governments of various countries, with the support of UNDP, UNOPS, ILO, WHO, IFAD and other United Nations Agencies. All these programmes have promoted integrated and participatory territorial development processes, in the framework of national policies and with the support of public, private and civil society actors.

IDEASS continues adopting the territorial approach of these programmes, due to the increasing importance it has acquired over the years. Current development trends continue generating a massive exodus from rural areas and the migration of population to cities, in search of better living conditions and income. These phenomena, which affect both industrialized and developing countries all over the world, are provoking a progressive degradation of considerable resources that the territories could use to ensure a better quality of life to the entire population. They cause the loss of endogenous economic potentials, biodiversity and, in general, of local cultures and traditional knowledge. The forecasts estimated by prestigious international institutions indicate that these urbanization processes will grow exponentially in the coming years, along with the negative impact they cause.

The objective of IDEASS is to join the efforts of all the actors that operate to transform the territories into the protagonists of a future scenario of sustainable development, spreading innovative technologies, methodologies and organized systems to respond to this challenge. The themes of the innovations cover the main factors that render an abandoned territory liveable and attractive again to its population: the inclusive development of its economic potential; the protection and sustainable management of natural resources and biodiversity; the availability of high quality education, health and social protection services; the promotion of local cultures and knowledge; the implementation of new forms of governance where local governments and public administrations work in partnership with associations, companies, services and universities, favouring the participation of the population.

IDEASS’ main activities are the dissemination of innovative technologies, methodologies and organized systems, the promotion of knowledge exchanges, the participation in training initiatives and in innovative strategic projects. The programme is designed as an international campaign for quality development, carried out by valuing the great creativity of people, public services, associations, companies, foundations, universities and specialized centers that operate worldwide in order to create new technological solutions and new methods based on the principles of human development and the respect of the environment.