VASAB 2010+ - Spatial Development Action ProgrammeA follow-up project to VASAB2010:
Vision and Strategies around the Baltic Sea 2010 - Towards a Framework for Spatial Development in the Baltic Sea Region

Prepared by Holger Platz

PLANCO Consulting GmbH, Essen
Lilienstr. 44, D-45133 Essen
Tel. +49-201-43771-0; Fax +49-201-411468

supported by an international consultant team and based on intensive discussions with the Committee on Spatial Development of the Baltic Sea Region.

For further information on contributors see the back pages.

The preparation of this document was co-financed by the INTERREG IIC Programme in the framework of the VASAB2010Plus project and PHARE CBC Programme in the framework of the project PL 9612.02.02.02

National co-financing was provided by the participating partner states. The project was in particular supported from the action programme "Demonstration Projects of Spatial Development" of the German Federal Ministry for Transport, Building and Housing through Federal Office of Building and Regional Planning (Lead Partner).

This report can also be found at the VASAB home page:

Background documents containing more detailed information on spatial structures and trends, and on action during previous years are available in a separate volume.

July 2001


VASAB – Vision and Strategies around the Baltic Sea 2010 - is a co-operation among Ministers respon­sible for spatial planning and development, of the countries around the Baltic Sea. Germany and Russia participate also through representatives from the regions which are adjacent to the Baltic Sea Region (Län­der in Germany, Oblasts and Republics in Russia).

The co-operation started in 1992. In 1994, a report ‘VASAB2010 – Vision and Strategies around the Baltic Sea 2010’ was presented, being the first transnational vision for spatial development world-wide. It was adopted at a Ministerial Conference in Tallinn (Dec-1994) and laid the foundation for joint action of the participating countries and regions.

Partners in the VASAB initiative

This new report, VASAB2010 Plus, reflects the experience made during 8 years of co-operation. It considers changed conditions after a first decade of transition, new knowledge on spatial trends in the Baltic Sea Region, and a diversity of transnational co-operation projects on spatial development. On this basis, recommendations for future transnational actions are developed.

These recommendations demonstrate possible ways how to make the principles of sustainable development operational. Specific attention is paid to the south-eastern parts of the BSR where transition and EU accession lead to particular challenges for sustainable development.

To realise proposed actions requires the co-operation of governmental and non-governmental stakeholders, at local, regional, national and transnational levels. They all are invited to contribute with their comments and implementation ideas. Therefore, a draft report has been widely spread, during spring 2001, among international organisations, national sector institutions, regional and local authorities. Members of CSD-BSR have arranged presentations and discussions inviting addressees to comment on the report.

Among the questions discussed in this concertation process were: Does the document suit the needs of addressees? Do they agree with the chosen priority themes? Do they consider to contribute to common action as proposed by VASAB? Would they like to propose specific projects? How should the VASAB cooperation promote the priority themes?

A tremendous wealth of comments has been received, including constructive proposals how to further improve the report. These have been taken into account as far as possible when revising the draft.

Local and regional authorities widely support the choice of priority themes, all of which are relevant for them. They declared readiness to support implementation through their participation in transnational cooperation projects. They request strong involvement in further discussions on specific projects, supporting the subsidiarity approach advocated in this report. VASAB is welcomed to facilitate that discussion process. A number of project examples have been suggested which can serve as an input for future InterregIIIB/ Phare and Tacis CBC project applications, facilitating also the search for partners. In some cases, further specification of approaches to the six proposed priority themes has been requested. VASAB is called to promote methodological discussions on ways to implement its concepts.

International organisations (among them Baltic 21, BSSSC Baltic Sea States Subregional Co-operation, CPMR Baltic Sea Commission, HELCOM, Nordic Council of Ministers, Union of Baltic Cities UBC) warmly welcomed the action programme as an operationalisation of visions and strategies laid down by the VASAB initiative in 1994. They, too, support the choice of priority themes, recommending in some cases their amplification (e.g. adding river basin management to the theme of Integrated Coastal Zone Management - ICZM). Baltic21 and HELCOM have offered concrete cooperation to implement ideas put forward in this report, particularly to achieve integration of their concepts for ICZM into spatial development planning. All contacted organisations consider the approach represented by the chosen priority themes as useful for the discussion on ways towards sustainable development. The European Investment Bank has declared readiness to consider the financing of investment projects identified during future specification of VASAB concepts. BSSSC, CPMR as well as the Nordic Council subscribe to VASAB's approach to act only if a problem can be better solved through international cooperation and to respect the subsidiarity principle. But VASAB is also encouraged to take part in discussions even on local level.

The concertation process has underlined the need for a closer dialogue between organisations dealing with spatial development with national and transnational sector organisations. There is clear willingness on the side of sector organisations to enhance the consideration of spatial impacts in their respective programmes. This gives VASAB and other actors in spatial development a high responsibility to communicate their ideas to the sector institutions and to seek their contribution to the common goal of sustainable development.

This concertation process will be continued by the VASAB cooperation.

The project VASAB2010Plus was funded by national contributions of VASAB partners and co-financed from the EU InterregIIC and Phare programmes.

Terms: In this report, if no further specification is added, the term 'VASAB' stands for the co-operation and its institutional arms - the Committee on Spatial Development of the Baltic Sea Region (CSD-BSR) and the VASAB Secretariat. The term VASAB2010 refers to the vision and strategies described in the 1994 report.

The Committee on Spatial Development of the Baltic Sea Region, July 2001

Table of content

Why Revise Vasab2010 ?
Action During Recent Years
Challenges For Spatial Policies
Spatial Development Action Programme
Key theme 1: Co-operation of urban regions on key issues of sustainable development
Key theme 2: Strategic development zones important for transnational integration within the BSR
Key theme 3: Transnational transport links important for cross-BSR and cross-Europe integration
Key theme 4: Diversification and strengthening of rural areas
Key theme 5: Development of transnational green networks incl. cultural landscapes
Key theme 6: Integrated development of coastal zones and islands
ANNEX 1: Abbreviations, Acronyms, Organisations of pan-Baltic importance
ANNEX 2: Members of CSD-BSR
ANNEX 3: Consultants involved in preparation of this report