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7th Ministerial Conference:
East West Window:
VASAB 2010 Plus: INTRODUCTIONVASAB – Vision and Strategies around the Baltic Sea 2010 - is a co-operation among Ministers responsible for spatial planning and development, of the countries around the Baltic Sea. Germany and Russia participate also through representatives fromthe regions which are adjacent to the Baltic Sea Region (Lšnder in Germany, Oblasts and Republics in Russia).
The co-operation started in 1992. In 1994, a report ‘VASAB2010 – Vision and Strategies around the Baltic Sea 2010’ was presented, being the first transnational vision for spatial development world-wide. It was adopted at a Ministerial Conference in Tallinn (Dec-1994) and laid the foundation for joint action of the participating countries and regions.
This new report, VASAB2010 Plus, reflects the experience made during 8 years of co-operation. It considers changed conditions after a first decade of transition, new knowledge on spatial trends in the Baltic Sea Region, and a diversity of transnational co-operation projects on spatial development. On this basis, recommendations for future transnational actions are developed.
These recommendations demonstrate possible ways how to make the principles of sustainable development operational. Specific attention is paid to the south-eastern parts of the BSR where transition and EU accession lead to particular challenges for sustainable development.
To realise proposed actions requires the cooperation of governmental and non-governmental stakeholders, at local, regional, national and transnational levels. They all are invited to contribute with their comments and implementation ideas. Therefore, a draft report has been widely spread, during spring 2001, among international organisations, national sector institutions, regional and local authorities. Members of CSDBSR have arranged presentations and discussions inviting addressees to comment on the report.
Among the questions discussed in this concertation process were: Does the document suit the needs of addressees? Do they agree with the chosen priority themes? Do they consider to contribute to common action as proposed by VASAB? Would they like to propose specific projects? Howshould the VASAB cooperation promote the priority themes?
A tremendous wealth of comments has been received, including proposals howto further improve the report, broaden its focus or address more intensively issues and problems of some BSR subregions. These have been taken into account as far as possible when revising the draft.
Local and regional authorities widely support the choice of priority themes, all of which are relevant for them. They declared readiness to support implementation through participation in transnational cooperation projects. But they request stronger involvement in further discussions on specific projects, supporting the subsidiarity approach advocated in this report. VASAB is welcomed to facilitate that discussion process. Various regional actors felt that the distance between VASAB and local-regional levels needs to be reduced and the role of VASAB be further clarified. The need was also expressed that concepts for sustainable development still require further elaboration. This will be taken into account in future VASAB work.
A number of project examples have been suggested which can serve as an input for future InterregIIIB/ Phare and Tacis CBC project applications, facilitating also the search for partners. In some cases, further specification of approaches to the six proposed priority themes has been requested. VASAB is called to promote methodological discussions on ways to implement its concepts.
International organisations (among them Baltic 21, BSSSC Baltic Sea States Subregional Cooperation, CPMR Baltic Sea Commission, HELCOM, Nordic Council of Ministers, Union of Baltic Cities UBC, EU Commission) warmly welcomed the action programme as an operationalisation of visions and strategies laid down by the VASAB initiative in 1994. They, too, support the choice of priority themes, recommending in some cases their amplification. Baltic21 and HELCOMhave offered cooperation to implement ideas put forward in this report, particularly to achieve integration of their concepts for ICZMinto spatial development planning. All contacted organisations consider the approach represented by the chosen priority themes as useful for the discussion on ways towards sustainable development. The European Investment Bank has declared readiness to consider the financing of investment projects identified during future specification of VASAB concepts. BSSSC, CPMR as well as the Nordic Council subscribe to VASAB’s approach to act only if a problemcan be better solved through international cooperation and to respect the subsidiarity principle. But VASAB is also encouraged to take part in discussions even on local level
The concertation process has underlined the need for a closer dialogue between organisations dealing with spatial development with national and transnational sector organisations. There is clear willingness on the side of sector organisations to enhance the consideration of spatial impacts in their respective programmes. This gives VASAB and other actors in spatial development a high responsibility to communicate their ideas to the sector institutions and to seek contributions to the common goal of sustainable development.
This concertation process will be continued by the VASAB cooperation.
Terms: In this report, if no further specification is added, the term 'VASAB' stands for the cooperation and its institutional arms – the Committee on Spatial Development of the Baltic Sea Region (CSD-BSR) and the VASAB Secretariat. The termVASAB2010 refers to the vision and strategies described in the 1994 report.
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