Aim of ETMS

The aim of this project is to develop a simple, easy understandable and policy relevant European Territorial Monitoring System, covering the entire ESPON space, capable of continuous interpretation, assessment and communication of territorial development trends in relation to policy objectives related to Territorial Cohesion (in particular the EUROPE 2020 Strategy and the Territorial Agenda 2020).

In general, in order to support continuous observation of trends, this project will to a large extend rely on, integrate and select time-series of territorial indicators developed by the INTERCO project and from the ESPON 2013 Database. The project should also interact with the ESPON KITCASP project on “Key Indicators for Territorial Cohesion and Spatial Planning” and other ongoing ESPON projects considered relevant.

The European Territorial Monitoring System aims at supporting policy makers and practitioners at all levels in their practical work with factual information on trends related to European regions, cities and types of territories. By reading and interpreting the quantitative statistical information in the light of policy objectives and aims related to territorial cohesion, the results of this project may help policy makers to identify development opportunities and territorial challenges, as well as better understand the diversity and position (benchmarking) of cities, regions and territories in the European context.

The objectives with this ESPON project are:

1) Definition and setting up a practical and operational European Territorial Monitoring System (ETMS), meeting the needs of policymakers for factual, statistical information on territorial trends, dynamics, patterns and structural changes (imbalances and disparities) in European regions, specific territories and cities. It shall allow comparing and benchmarking cities, regions, and territories in Europe.

The results from the INTERCO project, ESPON Database and the ongoing ESPON project dealing with the territorial dimension of the EUROPE 2020 Strategy should serve as the main input for this project. In addition, the results of the FOCI, TIGER, KIT and SMESTO Projects shall be the main input in relation to cities.

It should propose a volume of territorial indicators that is manageable (max. 30-50 indicators) with a high communicative value and covering different geographical levels. NUTS (2 and 3) should be used as the main regional breakdown and it shall integrate maps and graphs based on the indicators selected. In this process, existing ESPON tools for territorial analysis, data integration and data visualisation such as the ESPON HyperAtlas, the OLAP Cube and the Online Mapping Tool shall be considered and eventually be made use of.

2) Build a simple and user friendly application providing access and ensuring an easy communication for policy makers of the European Monitoring System (proposed under point 1), preferably to be integrated in the ESPON Database interface, allowing to select the “monitoring indicators”, to visualise and to communicate to policy makers the trends related to various European regional profiles. The application shall be conceived so it allows comparing and benchmarking European regions and cities. In particular it shall use and link in to relevant elements of ESPON tools, bringing the different components developed during the ESPON 2013 Programme together. Gaps and deficiencies in the current tools should be pointed out. Finally, it should use the most modern communication technologies. In doing so the project should consider applications such as Apps, etc. The purpose is to promote the widest possible the ETMS by smart communication

3) Elaboration of a first “European Territorial Monitoring Report” based on the results achieved under point 1 and based on the indicators selected (app. 50 pages, both in paper and digital format for web publishing). This report should include territorial facts and evidence (including maps, figures and graphs) on territorial dynamics (time series) and spatial patterns in European regions, specific territories and cities aimed at policy makers at different levels. It should include factual information based on the interpretation of the indicators and datasets selected in the light of the policy aims and priorities mentioned in the EUROPE 2020 and TA2020. This report should be seen as an informative output of the ETMS and elements suggested under Point 1, and include maps, figures and graphs supported by a high communicative and policy oriented text interpretation the trends observed.

The key policy concepts and priorities related to a territorial dimension of future EU Cohesion Policy and the Territorial Agenda 2020 and the development in this respect shall be the basis when interpreting statistical data, producing graphic elements and drafting the report. In this context, general aims such as territorial cohesion; competitiveness; balance and polycentricity; geographical specificities; regional imbalances; discontinuities; governance; territorial co-operation, and urban sprawl, functional regions, territorial capacities/endowments/assets could be taken into consideration.

The report should as well link into the main territorial challenges facing Europe, including: recovery from the global economic recession; global economic competition; vulnerability to climate change; energy supply and efficiency; demography: ageing and migration; Transport, accessibility and connectivity. A draft version of this report should be discussed with the ESPON Monitoring Committee.

4) Elaboration of a short, easy understandable and policy relevant booklet (app. 10-20 pages, both in paper and digital format for web publishing) on “Territorial Key Facts and Figures” on the territorial dynamics, trends and structures of the European regions, specific territories and cities based on the “European Territorial Monitoring System” proposed (cf. point 1) and taking into account the current European policy priorities mentioned in the EUROPE 2020 Strategy, TA2020 and Future European Cohesion Policy.

In order to achieve these objectives, the following aspects shall be taken into account in project proposals and during the project implementation:

(a) Target groups. The results of this project are expected to be a source of (statistical) information, containing practical evidence on European territorial dynamics and structures for policymakers and practitioners at all geographical levels. Therefore, it should support policymaking processes at different geographical levels.

(b) Communicative approach. It is important to ensure that the outcomes of this project: the European Territorial Monitoring System, the booklet and the report are conceived and presented in a simple and readable manner for policy makers. Specifically, the application shall ensure a trouble-free access and user-friendly interface as well as concrete and to the point information. In this respect, communication skills within the TPG are necessary to complement the scientific insight.

(c) Build on ESPON 2006 results. Efforts of developing a territorial monitoring system and indicators measuring territorial cohesion were already started under the ESPON 2006 Programme within the ESPON 2006 Project 4.1.3. In particular some progress has been made also in relation to propose a “Tentative Spatial Monitoring Report” that should be seen as an input to this ESPON Project.

(d) Capitalise on the outcome of the ESPON Workshop on “Monitoring Territorial Dynamics” of 12 November 2008, which involved representatives from European organisations and national observatories.

(e) Build on the results of the ESPON 2013 Programme. It is particularly important to consider the other two projects of the triad in Priority 3: the Database Project and the Indicators and Indices (INTERCO) Project. Regarding the latter, this TPG is expected to provide the necessary input to the Monitoring Project. In addition, results from relevant ongoing ESPON Projects: SIESTA (Territorial dimension of the |EUROPE2020 Strategy), TPM (Territorial Performance Monitoring) and should be taken into account.

(f) Take into consideration the experience on territorial monitoring systems from national observatories such as France, Germany, Romania and Navarra region. In addition, the experience developed by other international and European organisations should also be taken into account (DG Regio, OECD, EUROSTAT).

(g) Take into account the main European policy concepts, orientations and objectives related to territorial development. In particular relevant policy orientations of the Fifth Cohesion Report, the Commission’s Green Paper on Territorial Cohesion, the Territorial Agenda 2020 and the EUROPE2020 Strategy and Future European Cohesion Policy.

(h) Integration of time-series. The territorial monitoring and reporting tool shall integrate time and define a procedure to ensure their update in a regular basis. The selected TPG is mainly expected to integrate statistical data and time series already available in the ESPON programme, in particular developed in the framework of the INTERCO and ESPON 2013 Database Project. However, the gathering, production and creation of additional statistical information might be necessary in a few cases.

(i) Geographical framework. The backbone for territorial monitoring and reporting are the NUTS regions (NUTS 3, NUTS 2 and combination of NUTS 2 and 3) as these play an important role in relation to the implementation of European policies. However the Territorial Monitoring and Reporting System shall be able to lower and enlarge the geographical framework when relevant and appropriate. In particular areas with territorial specificities such as cities and metropolitan regions, rural regions, mountain regions, sparsely populated areas and islands, as well as agglomerations and functional areas shall be included as geographical identities in the framework of this project. With regard to this issue it is important to consider the use of raster-based data sources in order to bridge the gap between the different breakdowns.

(j) Apply a 5-level-approach in the interpretation of territorial trends. The 3-level-approach (European – transnational – regional / inter-regional) has been used in the context of the ESPON 2006 Programme. This approach should, where relevant and feasible, be considered enlarged to a 5-level-approach by adding (a) the global positioning of Europe as a whole and (b) a more detailed geographical level considering the local level.

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