ESPON 2013 Programme Newsletter No 23, 1 February 2012
2002–2012: Ten Years of ESPON
Throughout 2012, ESPON will celebrate 10 years of operation. This anniversary makes it obvious to highlight the support to policy development related to EU Cohesion Policy that has been achieved. ESPON has over the years provided comparable pan-European evidence, analyses and scenarios on territorial dynamics and built up a knowledge and evidence base that help regions, cities and larger territories in deciding on their development.
The demand for European territorial evidence was first voiced in 1992. This demand was taken up by EU Member States when approving the “European Spatial Development Perspective” in 1999. The European Commission supported testing the idea of a European Observatory on Territorial development which was a crucial step. The test was deemed positive and later led to the first ESPON 2006 Programme, starting in 2002.
Policy makers considered the deliveries of ESPON satisfying, and in 2007, the European Commission adopted the ESPON 2013 Programme with a substantially increased budget of €47 million for 2007-2013. ESPON had now 31 participating countries and the European Commission behind.
The European policy arena developed, and territorial cohesion became an objective for the EU. The territorial dimension is now included in the draft legislative pack for future Structural Funds currently in negotiation. The integrated policy thinking is even more visible, and the strong request is on delivery of results based on evidence contributing to the EU 2020 strategy, to growth and job creation.
As stated by the EU Commissioner for Regional Policy Johannes Hahn: “One of the main objectives of the future Cohesion Policy is to have a more result-orientated policy, to have a focus on thematic priorities. We need to offer the tailor-made ESPON knowledge to the EU regions preparing their operational programmes.”
Altogether, European policy development creates demand for ESPON that today have developed into an recognized provider of territorial evidence covering information and tools related to structures, trends, scenarios and policy impact issues. The possibility for regions and cities to benchmark themselves in the European context and see new development opportunities or challenges is now a reality. Ministers meeting during the Hungarian and Polish EU Presidencies in 2011 recognized ESPON’s ability to create useful pan-European territorial knowledge, and thus encouraged the ongoing process to prepare the continuation of ESPON post 2013.
Looking back on the progress achieved in the past ten years, credits have to be given to visionary people around Europe, to policy makers and stakeholders that have believed in and used ESPON, to the ESPON Contact Points, and in particular to the researchers and experts from all over Europe that are the key intellectual force providing the new and often innovative results that the ESPON applied research and analyses have resulted in. An appetizer of one of the recent innovative achievements is the evidence provided on the regional exposure, adaptive capacity and vulnerability of climate change, presented below.
ESPON will in 2012 mark its 10th Anniversary in different ways. Look forward to meeting you at one of our upcoming events.
Peter Mehlbye, Director ESPON Coordination Unit
|ESPON Newsletter No 23 1 February 2012||DOC||6.17 MB|
|ESPON Newsletter No 23 1 February 2012||2.40 MB|