SPAIN: Territory facing Crisis: a vision from ESPON

The Spanish National Event: "Territory facing Crisis: a vision from ESPON" was held on the 16th and 17th of October in Alcalá de Henares.The event was organized by the Spanish ESPON Contact Point (General Foundation of University of Alcala - FGUA).

The event counted on three round tables and a “Use of ESPON” section where Scientific Platform technical tools wereintroduced. Itbrought together more than 30 participants with different profiles, such as academics, researchers, practitioners, stake-holders and policy-makers.

The event started with the opening section, where the Vice-Rector for International Relations, the Coordinator of ECP in Spain and the Member of Spanish Monitoring Committee welcomed the participants and focused on the importance of discussing territory issues, the crisis and ESPON project.

The introduction was followed by an overview of ESPON, and particularly ESPON ON THE ROAD project, as well as a presentation of the goals of this seminar, the topics, the intentions and expectations. After the break, we started the round tables.

The general goal of the round tables was making results of projects and practical experiences on each of the proposed topics more visible, and so, try to integrate them into the practical agenda of stakeholders.

The first round-table – Green economy, Sustainability and Environment – counted on experts presenting their point of view on those topics, making relations between their projectresults with the real needs, exposing some limitations in order to put them into practice, generating an active discussion aboutthe territorial dimension on the proposed thematic lines. At this table, some ESPON project results were exposed.

In the second round-table – Integrated Coastal Zone Management and Blue Economy– two important topics were touched by all the speakers. Integrated Coastal Zone Management and Maritime Spatial Planning, both exposed and discussed deeply, including definitions and current situation in EU and Spain, considering their application, needs and foreseen steps. Also some practical examples, including one ESPON project, were introduced.

The third and last round-table – Urban Regions and Urban-Rural Relation – focused on multi-functionality of both, urban and rural surroundings, landscape, general interest services, territorial cooperation, rural areas as spaces of functional and economic opportunities, public participation, resilience, among many other important topics for territorial cohesion on those matters. This round-table closed with the ET2050 prospective project presentation, introducing the different scenarios proposed, focusing to the Spanish situation, generating an active debate comprehending the presented projects.

The last section was dedicated to a “Use of ESPON” discussion, starting with the practical experience of a group of enterprises associations of Soria, Teruel and Cuenca, the three less populated regions in Spain, who presented the limitations and difficulties on developing their regions. They shared their experience on using ESPON information to base their political position and requestsof recognition in order to receive funds to progress their territories. That generated an active debate with the audience on how to use that limitation as a territorial opportunity. The section ended with the brief presentation of the technical tools available on ESPON Scientific Platform.

All interventions centered on a diagnosis of the thematic situation, having into account some ongoing of finalized project specificities, as well as the general EU point of view about the topic, followed by the Spanish case for each raised issue.

At the end of each intervention, some conclusions and recommendations were presented by each speaker about specific needs for Spain, in terms of academic-technician-practitioner level, as well as how could that really have aninfluence in European context, mainly focused on investments, strategies and European cohesion policies.

The final conclusion is that (as the leaflet produced by Spain reinforce) Territory matters, and we must keep discussing this topic in Spain and at European level.

All the information about the event, including the agenda and the slides presented by the speakers, is available here.

Presentations and photos from the event are available below.


Photo: Quijote and Sancho CC BY 2.5