World news story
Opening of the new consulate in Monterrey
This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government
The consulate in Monterrey is now co-located with the Canadian consulate, the benefits of sharing properties with like-minded governments.
Canadians and Brits sharing a property in Monterrey might sound like an arrangement made by international students in Mexico’s second wealthiest city, or perhaps a pitch for a new joint BBC/Canadian Broadcasting Corporation sitcom. In fact, it is the latest example of the UK taking advantage of the benefits of sharing properties with like-minded governments around the world. This ‘co-location’ was formally launched in November when Their Royal Highnesses the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall opened the new premises for our consulate in Monterrey - co-located with the Canadian consulate. Staff now enjoys modern and functional offices in a secure location, at a cost considerably less than we would be paying for our own standalone offices.
This is the fifth co-location we have entered into with the Canadians. Other locations include Port au Prince (where four HMG staff are located in the Canadian Embassy) and Baghdad (where Canadians, among others, work out of our Embassy). Co-location has moved increasingly up the agenda over the last few years as it can deliver good value for money and increased efficiency, as well as provide an effective platform for collaboration and exchange of ideas.
Alejandra Rodriguez, Trade Officer in Monterrey explains how the co-location has helped the UKTI team:
there is much more opportunity for networking and reaching out to contacts we had not interacted with in the past. By using both Missions’ network of contacts both teams have multiplied overnight the people we reach out to and the industry experts we work with.
The Asset Management teams in ESD have so far helped facilitate over 20 co-locations with nine different countries. These range from the small (one staff member on the EEAS platform in Nouakchott) to large (the Norwegians rent a floor of our Embassy in Helsinki). Canadian co-locations are under the umbrella of the UK-Canada Collaboration Board which covers a much wider range of co-operation including on security and HR issues. We also have a bilateral agreement with Australia and work closely with New Zealand and EU partners.
Setting up co-locations is not without challenges. Often the most difficult involve agreements on costs. And for posts there can be the inconvenience of any works which need to be done. But ESD work hard with their opposite numbers in foreign governments and with Posts to deliver something which benefits everyone. The current pipeline includes over 40 projects.
In Monterrey, co-location is already bringing benefits for both teams, as Carlos Botello, Acting Head of Post explains:
working with our Canadian colleagues here in Monterrey is easy and straight-forward, they have similar guidelines and processes and are very similar minded in their work culture. We get along well and have started exploring ways and activities to increase both Missions’ profile within the community in Monterrey.
According to David Valle, Senior Trade Officer in the Canadian Consulate, the benefits go beyond the corporate:
The common physical areas shared between staff of our two countries in Monterrey is an ideal, and yet informal, place to discuss developments in our region, and plan future joint activities. On the social agenda, a suggestion which is gaining traction is a UK – Canada Pub Night, in a Mexican Cantina!