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The Pan-European General Principles on Spatial Planning

  • Council of Europe Conference of Ministers responsible for Spatial/Regional Planning (CEMAT)

1. 16th European Conference of Ministers responsible for spatial/regional planning on Promoting Territorial Democracy in Spatial Planning. Nafplion Declaration.

2. 17th European Conference of Ministers responsible for spatial/regional planning on functional areas – capitalisation of local potential in territorial development policies over the European continent.

  • The role of functional areas as a tool to encourage sustainable spatial development. By addressing functional areas within territorial development policies, a series of prerequisites for the protection, capitalisation and promotion of local resources and specificities are created, contributing to social, economic and territorial cohesion, hence to the improvement of living conditions for all persons regardless of their residence environment. Nevertheless, functional areas imply a new model of territorial governance and development of tools that contribute to ensuring collective welfare and respecting the interest of society and the individual rights of citizens.
  • Also, the sustainable use of the local potential - human, natural or cultural resources - and any other specificities regarding functional areas, contributes to increasing territorial competitiveness.
  • Defining and establishing functional areas can support sustainable spatial development of all member States of the  Council of Europe through different means: by using tools available for planning and territorial development, by defining new governance solutions based on cooperation (such as models of association between administrative entities, for developing and implementing policies, providing services, ensuring the management of funds), by developing financial programs which can support a good infrastructure for the mobility of people and of information, by defining protection areas for the heritage and local resources or by offering opportunities for territorial marketing.

3. 14th European Conference of Ministers responsible for Regional/Spatial Planning on: Networks for sustainable spatial development of the European continent: bridges over Europe. Lisbon Declaration.

4. Recommendation No. R (84) 2 of the Committee of Ministers to Member States on the European Regional/Spatial Planning Charter (Torremolinos Charter)

  • Regional/spatial planning contributes to a better spatial organisation in Europe and to the finding of solutions for problems which go beyond the national framework, and thus aims to create a feeling of common identity, having regard to North-South and East-West relations.
  • Regional/spatial planning should be democratic, comprehensive, functional and orientated towards the longer term.
    • Democratic: it should be conducted in such a way as to ensure the participation of the people concerned and their political representatives,
    • Comprehensive: it should ensure the co-ordination of the various sectoral policies and integrate them in an overall approach,
    • Functional: it needs to take account of the existence of regional consciousness based on common values, culture and interests sometimes crossing administrative and territorial boundaries, while taking account of the institutional arrangements of the different countries,
    • Long-term it should analyse and take into consideration the long-term trends and developments of oriented: economic, social, cultural, ecological and environmental phenomena and interventions.
  • Regional/spatial planning seeks to achieve responsible management of natural resources and protection of the environment
    • By promoting strategies to minimise conflicts between the growing demand for natural resources and the need to conserve them, it seeks to ensure responsible management of the environment, the resources of land, subsoil, air, water, energy resources, fauna and flora, paying special attention to areas of natural beauty and to the cultural and architectural heritage.

5. Council of Europe Conference of Ministers Responsible for Spatial/Regional Planning. The Council of Europe Spatial/ Regional Planning considering Landscape with its Heritage Values

  • Good governance should release the inherent capacity and potentials throughout the society. National and European policies have significant spatial impacts. However, such impacts affect different regions in different ways. Multi-level governance is required to ensure successful orchestration and synergies between local, regional, national and supra national actors. This needs horizontal and vertical coordination between sector-related policies and decision-making bodies at different levels.
  • Local and regional self government and planning are creating added value to the spatial development. Municipalities and regions or county councils are obliged to prepare municipal and regional plans according to the national legislation. However, this obligation is also a fundamental right in local and regional self government – the right to evolve their own policies and strategies for urban and rural development and infrastructure, including how national policies should be applied within the community.