I am pleased to be invited to participate in a panel discussion at the MSP Nature 2021 online conference which will take place next week. The conference hosted by the Leibniz Institute for Ecological and Urban Development (Dresden) together with the Leibniz Institute for Baltic Seas Research Warnemünde and the German federal Agency for Nature Protection (BfN) addresses the question of how to reconcile human activities with ecological functions through marine spatial planning, a question that resonates with much of my recent work.
The panel discussion (19.01, 14:30) will focus on international examples and includes experts from Russia and Israel. My own contribution will reflect on the Dutch approach to ecosystem-based management and ‘building with nature’ at sea. I will draw on previous research work on the Dutch North Sea 2050 Spatial Agenda and protected area management at the Dutch Wadden Sea coast.
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.
Now that the contract is signed, I can announce that I am working on a desk-based study of Maritime Spatial Planning focussing on case studies of best / good practice where conflicts between offshore wind, fisheries and nature conservation interests have been resolved or ameliorated through MSP and related practices. This is a tall order of course, but I am confident existing good practices can point the way towards more inclusive and integrated forms of MSP where conflicts are resolved, mitigated and/or ameliorated through open dialogue, strategic planning and regulations sensitive to the particularities of individual places and their communities.
I am very happy to be working on the preparation of synthesis policy reports emerging from the Horizon 2020 IMAJINE (Integrative Mechanisms for Addressing Spatial Justice and Territorial Inequalities in Europe) project led by Prof. Michael Woods of Aberystwyth University. The policy reports will help to inform a scenario-building exercise, focussed on ‘Re-imaging Regional Futures’.
Linking conceptual ideas on relational space and values to the formulation of normative policy frameworks is challenging but rewarding work!
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).