Towards a Green Coastal Deal for the Wadden Sea Region

The trilateral Wadden Sea Forum (WSF) has recently initiated the process of developing a Green Coastal Deal for the Wadden Sea Region. The Wadden Sea Forum was established in 2002 as an independent multi-stakeholder partnership for the Wadden Sea region, complementing and supporting the intergovernmental Trilateral Wadden Sea Cooperation (TWSC). From the beginning, the WSF has sought to facilitate exchange of knowledge, experience and good practice among a broad group of stakeholders across the Wadden Sea region in Germany, the Netherlands and Denmark. Whereas the formal TWSC is focused on the conservation of the Wadden Sea itself, the WSF is concerned with the sustainable development of the wider coastal region, helping to position the Wadden Sea conservation efforts (now a World Heritage site) site within its wider geographical context.

The international Wadden Sea Region: Source: Agenda voor het Waddengebied 2050
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New edited book on Landscape in Policy and Practice

Landschaftsbilder und Landschaftsverständnisse in Politik und Praxis

Edited by Cormac Walsh, Gisela Kangler & Markus Schaffert, Springer VS, March 2021

In the following, I provide an English-language introduction to the book, drawing in particular on the text of the introduction chapter.

Landscape is highly relevant for the policy, practice and politics of spatial planning and environmental management. In the preamble of the European Landscape Convention, (Council of Europe 2000) landscape is attested a “an important public interest role in the cultural, ecological, environmental and social fields”. Landscape management is described as a cross-sectoral task, part of an integrative environmental policy, requiring stakeholder engagement and public participation. The European Landscape Convention has to date, been signed and ratified by over 85% of member states, but not by Germany or Austria. This is particularly surprising, given that German landscape planning is often seen as model of best practice, yet perhaps reflects the high degree of sectoral institutionalisation and professionalisation of landscape policy and planning within the German and Austrian systems.

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Marine Protected Areas for Irish Waters

Following the publication of the comprehensive report of an Advisory Group on the Expansion of Ireland’s Marine Protected Area Network (MPA) in January, the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage has opened a public consultation on the planning of MPAs. The consultation takes the form of an online survey with a series of questions, many of ask for detailed, open responses and assume knowledge of the content of the individual chapters of the Advisory Report. I completed my submission this morning. In what follows, I summarise my key recommendations and outline what I view as priorities re. MPA planning and management.

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EU Territorial Agenda 2030 – Place-based development for a Just and Green Europe

The Territorial Agenda 2030: A Future for all places (TAEU 2030) was adapted this week on 1st December 2020 at an informal meeting of the minsters responsible for Spatial Planning and Territorial Development and /or Territorial Cohesion, under the auspices of the German Presidency of the European Council. This document constitutes a high level commitment to principles of place-based sustainable development and territorial cohesion. It is the third iteration of the Territorial Agenda of the European Union, the first version of which was adopted in 2007 and the second (TAEU 2020) adopted in 2011. Indeed, in many respects, its genesis may be traced, back to the European Spatial Development Perspective (ESDP 1999), as discussed in a previous commentary here. It may also be viewed as complementary to the New Leipzig Charter on sustainable urban development, the most recent version of which was adopted on 30th November 2020.

Regional differences in economic development since the 2008/2009 financial crisis (source: Atlas for the Territorial Agenda of the EU 2030.
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European Spatial Planning: An Idea of the Past or Key to the Future?

Front cover of the book European Spatial Planning edited by Andreas Faludi, published by the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy in 2002.

Reflecting on developments in European spatial policy over the past decades, the publication of the European Spatial Development Perspective (ESDP) in 1999 might be considered the highpoint of European spatial planning. A third iteration of the Territorial Agenda of the European Union (TAEU) is currently under preparation, to be finalised under the current German Presidency of the Council of the EU (second half of 2020). The TAEU has, however, developed little debate and has had limited policy influence since the publication of its first iteration in 2007. The TAEU 2020, adopted under the Hungarian presidency in 2011 comprised a relatively strong endorsement of place-based or spatially sensitive policies at all scales within the EU. Emphasis was placed in particular on ‘territorial diversity’ within the EU and the scope for places to capitalise on their ‘territorial potential’ through regionally-specific development strategies:

“[The place-based approach] aims to unleash territorial potential through development strategies based on local and regional knowledge of needs, and building on the specific assets and factors which contribute to the competitiveness of places”. (TAEU 2020, 2011, Article 11).

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