Report on the informal ministerial meeting of 01 December 2020
The Territorial Agenda 2030 has been adopted. On 01 December, the ministers responsible for spatial planning, territorial development and/or territorial cohesion came together for a virtual informal meeting. At this meeting they adopted the Territorial Agenda 2030 and launched a first set of six pilot actions. With this the German EU Presidency concluded the process of the renewal of the Territorial Agenda which started in 2015 and benefited from committed efforts by many EU Presidencies and colleagues all across Europe.
A sustainable future for all places and people which does not leave anybody behind has been underlined as essential for Europe’s future. Especially in times of the coronavirus pandemic, the objectives and priorities of the Territorial Agenda 2030 are of particular importance and more topical than ever. The pandemic threatens to further intensify spatial and social inequalities in Europe and to push important measures for sustainable spatial development into the background. The Territorial Agenda 2030 can provide important impetus for a future-oriented restart. The objectives of the Territorial Agenda, a Just Europe and a Green Europe, should guide the recovery process after the pandemic and shape the transition to a sustainable and inclusive Europe.
Territory, cooperation, policy coordination and place-based approaches do matter – today more than ever – to unleash Europe’s diverse potential and ensure a balanced and inclusive development. This has been echoed by several ministers and speakers of EU institutions and other relevant bodies.
EIB Vice-President Lilyana Pavlova joined the national representatives in welcoming the Territorial Agenda 2030: “in this time of uncertainty and difficult economic circumstances, the EIB welcomes the Territorial Agenda 2030 and is ready more than ever to support regions and countries to put the Agenda into practice and drive a just and green recovery.” (Read her full speech)
Commissioner Elisa Ferreira expressed that she is “very glad that ‘territory’ is becoming ever more a concept of our political lexicon” and underlined that we need “spatial awareness in other policies and investment plans” beyond Cohesion Policy. (Read her full speech)
“After the game is before the game.” Luxembourg’s minister Claude Turmes and others pointed out that the revision of the Territorial Agenda 2030 was the easy and only the first task. The difficult task comes now: The communication, application and implementation of the objectives and priorities. Measures and actions to implement the Territorial Agenda 2030 can be taken at any administrative level. All key actors are therefore called upon to implement the Territorial Agenda 2030 within the framework of their regular mandates and to contribute to achieving the goals.
To kickstart the implementation, the ministers launched six pilot actions. Germany, Luxembourg, Poland, Portugal, Norway and Switzerland take the lead for the first generation of pilot actions, in each of which also other member states and institutions participate: For Germany, the Federal Ministry of the Interior, Building and Community has announced that it will carry out a pilot action on structurally weak regions. In addition to three German regions, at least three other regions from three different EU member states could be won. As part of the pilot action, the respective local actors develop and test innovative approaches and exchange ideas across Europe. Other topics dealt with in the six pilot actions are: Territorial impact assessments, the role of small places for spatial development, a zero-carbon cross-border vision, climate action in Alpine towns, and climate change adaptation and resilience through landscape transition.
To support the implementation process with up-to-date evidence, the German Federal Institute for Research on Building, Urban and Spatial Development (BBSR) and ESPON produced the ‘Atlas for the Territorial Agenda 2030’ with a variety of maps on European spatial development. For each of the six priorities, some maps plus accompanying texts and figures are available.
Communication, application and implementation will be among the priorities of the forthcoming EU Presidencies. The Portuguese Minister for Territorial Cohesion, Ana Abrunhosa, and the Slovenian Minister for Environment and Spatial Planning, Andrej Vizjak, provided information on the further steps to be taken to implement the Territorial Agenda 2030. Portugal and Slovenia will hold the EU Council Presidencies in 2021. This means that they play a central role in the further implementation and communication of the Territorial Agenda 2030. In the next weeks experts from the Portuguese Ministry of Environment and Climate Action will take over the Territorial Agenda website.
Kai Böhme and Christian Lüer who took care of maintaining the website from October 2019 until December 2020 would like to thank all visitors for their attention and contributions.