On the 1st of December, ministers in charge of spatial planning, territorial development and cohesion adopted the Territorial Agenda 2030. At the same time, they launched 6 pilot actions. In doing so, the German EU Presidency conluded the revision of the Territorial Agenda that started in 2015.
Why do we need a Territorial Agenda?
Cohesion Policy aims at boosting balanced economic, social and territorial development in Europe. Thereby, we aim at limit inequalities and seek to support all member states, regions and municipalities in stepping up their capacities to improve the quality of lives for people in Europe. However, this aim can only be achieved, if we are applying a more spatially sensitive approach that takes into account territorial strengths and weaknesses. Hence, the Territorial Agenda 2030 addresses strategic spatial planning in order to facilitate inclusive and sustainable development. Likewise, the Territorial Agenda 2030 calls for a more place-based approach in EU sector policies.
Joint effort for place-based development
Although spatial planning is not a European competence, European governments and regional development experts acknowledged the benefits of better coordination in spatial planning. That is why the ministers in charge of spatial planning endorsed the first European Spatial Development Perspective (ESDP) back in 1998/1999. This was a decisive moment for informal coordinated spatial strategies in Europe.
The Territorial Agenda 2030 follows this tradition. Thereby, the documents spatial perspective relies on the informal cooperation across all administrative levels including EU member states, sub-national authorities, European institutions, the European Committee of Regions as well as the European Economic and Social Committee, the European Investment Bank and further stakeholders.
Additionally, the success of the Territorial Agenda 2030 also depends on its connection with place-based strategies like the EU macro-regional stratgies. To sum it up, the Territorial Agenda 2030 aims at mobilising various stakeholders, who pursue its objectives at different levels considering respective spatial challenges and potentials. In doing so, the Territorial Agenda’s approach very much resonates with the implementation process of macro-regional strategies.
6 Pilot Actions for balanced territorial development
The key to the contribution to the Territorial Agenda 2030 is in the 6 pilot actions that are led by different countries and institutions.
Pilot Action: A future for lagging regions | Services of general interest
The German Federal Institute for Research on Building, Urban Affairs and Spatial Development leads the pilot action on “A future for lagging regions” focussing on services of general interest. The pilot action aims at testing ways to effectively establish linkages with sectoral planning activities.
Pilot Action: Understanding how sector policies shape spatial (im)balances | Place-based sector policies
This pilot action aims at gaining a better understanding of how different sectoral policies can shape spatial imbalances. In doing so, the Polish Ministry of Development Funds and Regional Policy coordinates activities that support particularly areas that are left behind, cities and municipalities to participate in the process to develop a “balanced Europe” and “integration beyond borders”.
Pilot Action: Small places matter for spatial development pilot action | Strengthening small towns and villages
The Ministry of Local Government and Modernisation on Norway leads the pilot action on “Small places matter for spatial development” that addresses the key role of small towns and villages in the development of integrated territorial development processes, strengthening the territorial coordination of policies and cooperation between territories.
Pilot Action: Cross-border spatial planning | Zero-carbon cross-border functional region
This pilot action combines cooperation in cross-border functional areas with healthy environment priorities. Hence, the Ministry of Energy and Spatial Planning in Luxembourg leads the pilot action on cross-border spatial planning that aims to transfer a methodology for cross-border territorial cooperation on zero-carbon regions by 2050 to other areas in Europe.
Pilot Action: Climate action in Alpine towns for citizens | Participatory climate change adaptation for Alpine towns
The Swiss Federal Office for Spatial Development leads the “Climate action in Alpine towns for citizens”. Thereby, the action seeks to deliver a tailored support framework to test citizen participation in relation to climate change adaptation and mitigation in planning. However, this pilot action is not only limited to Alpine towns, as the framework is expected to be applied in various planning processes addressing climate change related hazards, such as forest fires (e.g. Portugal).