ESPON WEEK Green and Just Recovery for all European Territories


14 June 2021 to 18 June 2021



// ESPON Week in Portugal 14-18 June 2021   

Green and Just Recovery for all European Territories 

the bird's-eye view, intertemporal diagnostics and new value creation

Watch again the sessions of the Seminar


// Context and objectives

The “Just and Green recovery” ESPON week from 16 to 18 June 2021 is organised in cooperation with the Portuguese Presidency of the EU Council in the framework of the ESPON 2020 Cooperation Programme, which aims to support policy development for promoting territorial cohesion and harmonious development of the European territory.

The discussion for a just and green recovery is included in the priorities of the Portuguese Presidency for the post-COVID-19 era. In this context, the role of ESPON in navigating between the just and green policies today is more important than ever. ESPON data, impact assessment methodologies and scenarios for public policies have become indispensable instruments for diagnostics, understanding both the causes and potential trajectories of territorial change.

The ESPON week under the Portuguese EU Presidency 2021 host a series of digital events, including physical attendance of prominent speakers in Lisbon, with the aim to connect policymakers, stakeholders and practitioners from all levels of governance with researchers and experts.

The interventions include

  • two high-level policy debates with
    • Minister of Environment and Climate Action João Pedro Matos Fernandes and
    • Minister of Territorial Cohesion, Ana Abrunhosa

dedicated to the need to reconcile the just and green perceptions and expectations at different territorial levels;

  • a new release of the TerritoriALL magazine, investigating the just and green implications in rural areas
  • and a series of online workshops on ESPON research, setting the scene for finding an acceptable balance of the ‘just’ and ‘green’ aspirations.

 The logical and sequential integration of ESPON evidence resorts to three aspects, recurring across all interventions: bird's-eye view of territorial constellations, intertemporal diagnostics of territorial change and new territorial value creation.

 // Monday, 14 June   


9:00 Publication of the joint ESPON – Portuguese Presidency’s contribution to a Long-Term Vision for Rural Areas  

The Policy Brief “Territorial evidence and policy advice for the prosperous future of rural areas” will be available on the ESPON website. The Territorial Agenda 2030 recognises that policy responses need to have a strong territorial dimension and coordinated approaches, acknowledging and using the diversity and specificities of places. In this respect, TA2030 identifies a list of needed actions/challenges, clustered into 6 cross-cutting domains, all relevant for rural areas.

With this policy brief, ESPON proposes to use the evidence (data collected) and the (long term) trends that were identified, to further support and contribute in defining the future of rural areas, by approaching the complex territorial interactions in different strategical domains. ESPON evidence will be used to support policy recommendations by matching the 6 cross-cutting domains, which the Territorial Agenda 2030 focuses on, as these are particularly valid in rural areas, where economic and social disparities between places and between people, along with environmental risks and pressures, are having a very big impact.



10:00 - 17:00        ESPON Monitoring Committee (MC) and Joint Working Group (JWG)

Reserved to ESPON MC and JWG members


 // Tuesday, 15 June


9:00        Release of the 3rd edition of TerritoriALL, the ESPON magazine

This issue will be focusing on recovery in Europe and the need for a long term vision that will include rural and urban areas. We also expect contributions from the Vice President of the European Commission, Dubravka Šuica, the Minister of Environment and Energy of Portugal, João Pedro Matos Fernandes, as well as members of the European Parliament and many other authors.




 10:00 - 17:00        ESPON Joint Working Group

 Reserved to ESPON JWG members


// Wednesday, 16 June

10:30 – 12:00       High-level policy debate: Transition and transformation for rural areas

This online event will be broadcasted from Lisbon (Digital Azul Studio) featuring:

//   João Pedro Matos Fernandes, Minister of Environment and Climate Action (video message)

//   Dubravka Šuica, VP EU Commission (video message)

//   Vasco Cordeiro, First vice President of the CoR (remote)


The debate will be moderated by Wiktor Szydarowski, ESPON EGTC director



 13:30 – 14:30       Workshop: Employment and spatial dynamics in Central Europe

What are the spatial development potentials in Central Europe that can be tapped to transition to a more inclusive, sustainable and integrated development? How can transnational cooperation structures and mechanisms contribute to that transition? workshop is based on the recent findings of the ESPON CE FLOWS project and a tailor-made case study for Slovakia that is based on the ESPON EMPLOY project Find more information about the workshop and its agenda


14:30 – 16:00       Workshop: Territorial impact of natural disasters 

ESPON-TITAN project generated a set of policy recommendations on how to mainstream Disaster Risk Management (DRM) and Climate Change Adaptation (CCA) strategies into spatial planning. The workshop will present the main research findings and debate on challenges for applying the recommendations. Find more information about the workshop and its agenda


16:00 – 17:30       Workshop: ESPON Tools 

This workshop session will provide a bird’s eye view of the ESPON toolbox as well as go into details in two tools following the preferences of the participants. The tools that will be addressed in this workshop are ESPON Database, SDG benchmarking tool, FUORE tool, REGICO tool and MRS.ESPON tool. The participants will obtain more insight into how the ESPON tools can support their work as a practitioner. Find more information about the workshop and its agenda


// Thursday, 17 June


09:30 – 11:00       High-level policy debate: Recovery for Europe and the role of Cohesion Policy

This online event will be broadcasted from Lisbon (Digital Azul Studio) featuring :

// Elisa Ferreira, Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms (video message)

//  Ana Abrunhosa, Portuguese Minister of Territorial Cohesion

// Prof. António Costa e Silva, Portuguese PRR Coordinator.

// Claude Turmes Minister for Energy and Spatial Planning(video message)

// Wiktor Szydarowski, ESPON EGTC director

The debate will be moderated by Luísa Meireles, editor in chief of the LUSA news agency


11:00 – 12:00       Workshop: Cohesion Policy, backbone of Europe? The role of metropolitan areas

Three elements - magnitude of funds, level of institutionalization, management of funds – are under investigation in ESPON METRO to define the role of metropolitan areas in cohesion policy. The EU calls for further efforts towards a decentralisation of the programming, management and implementation functions to the metropolitan authorities. There is no doubt that institutionalize metropolitan cooperation will play an important role in this transformation. Cohesion policy supports locally-led development strategies and empowers local authorities in the management of the funds. As the ESPON IMAGINE has demonstrated in the Milano-Bologna urban region, the development of territorial scenarios carried out through the active engagement of institutional and functional stakeholders can generate new visioning capacities and feed new alliances between places and societies. At this workshop experienced policymakers and experts will explore opportunities, challenges, and objectives of the cohesion policy in metropolitan areas, and how a metropolitan dimension will contribute to the success of the policy in the future. Find more information about the workshop and its agenda


13:00 – 14:00       Workshop: Greenhouse gas impact of spatial planning

This workshop session will address regional and local policy makers who face the current EU Climate and Energy Framework targets of a 40% reduction in GHG emissions by 2030. The stakeholders of the QGasSP project will explain how they deal with measuring GHG emissions in relation to spatial planning in their region. The researchers will show how the web application they’re developing to model GHG emissions can support regions in estimating impacts of spatial plans on GHG emissionsFind more information about the workshop and its agenda