Conceptual Approach

ETMS: A User-oriented and friendly service

ETMS must be a practical and operational system, providing a useful and friendly service to users, policy-analysts and policy-makers. A Monitoring System can be useful to provide policy-support only if it is designed to be focused on most relevant spatial policy objectives. Hence, it is necessary to identify first the main policy issues, priorities and objectives that interest policymakers and stakeholders, now and in the coming years, and to define indicators policy-relevant to these questions.

According to the report of the ESPON Workshop Monitoring Territorial Dynamics held 12 November 2008, “expert discussion rounds on appropriate indicators” are “an essential starting point for building up a Territorial Monitoring System”. Based on this recommendation, the TPG will first gather participants from relevant past and on-going ESPON projects: INTERCO, ESPON Database projects, ESPON 4.1.3 “Feasibility study on monitoring territorial development”, ESPON SIESTA, ongoing ESPON project dealing with the territorial dimension of the EUROPE 2020 Strategy.

Consequently, a close dialogue with the ESPON Monitoring Committee is necessary during project implementation, as well as with institutions developing and/or providing monitoring services, more or less formalised by EC (most EC DG’s have information and monitoring systems that regularly updates, e.g. the ETIS and Statistical Pocked Book by DGMOVE, the system to monitor Europe 2020 goals by DG REGIO…), CoR, as well as specialised agencies such as the EEA, or EIB, to international associations such as CRPM, ERF, ESPO, etc.). Also at national and regional level there are a large number of relevant territorial monitoring experiences (e.g. from the systems in Germany, o Navarra, to the network of territorial observatories linked to infrastructures in France focused on a much more detailed geographic scale).

Is necessary to review the formal information and knowledge-gathering activities carried out regularly by the stakeholders (e.g. online bulletins, newsletters, websites, publications, studies, workshops and congresses etc.), analyse the indicators and information they use, in order to design ETMS to provide a useful service to enrich such activities.

ETMS will produce a limited number of key territorial policy-relevant indicators (max. 30-50 core indicators) with a high communicative value and covering different geographical levels. NUTS (2 and 3) will be used as the main regional breakdown, and it will integrate maps and graphs based on the indicators selected to make them more easy to read. This key territorial indicators are the core of ETMS, and complementary information and communication means will also be used.

ETMS: A Policy-oriented system

Since the ETMS must be to provide a useful service to policy-users, offering indicators maybe not sufficient and expert interpretation is required, targeted to different groups. By interpreting the quantitative statistical information in the light of policy objectives and aims related to territorial cohesion, ETMS will help policy makers for instance to better identify development opportunities and territorial challenges, as well as better understand the diversity and relative position of cities, regions and territories in the European context.

ETMS interpretations will 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, as well as ongoing debates in relation to the reform of European policies to highlight the territorial implications they may have.

Based on these information elements (key territorial indicators and expert interpretations) the following policy-oriented products will be developed:

  • 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).
  • 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.

One of the added values of an interactive tool such as the ETMS compared to static maps and analyses of the ESPON space is that it allows for analyses at multiple territorial scales. This is one of the aspects the “European Territorial Monitoring Report” will need to focus, guiding the reader through a multiscalar reading of the European territory. Its purpose is not only to present policy relevant conclusions, but also to inspire the reader to use the ETMS to produce alternative readings of the European territorial patterns and trends. This will allow policy debates to be informed by evidence that reflects the perspective of each involved stakeholder.

The booklet will be structured in a simple and clear way that enables the readers to quickly interpret the territorial development trends portrayed and relate them to specific thematic issues and policy objectives.

ETMS: A scientifically-sound information system

ETMS builds on the extraordinary amount of quality information and knowledge developed in the ESPON Program, particularly on projects focused on data gathering, definition and development of policy-relevant indicators.

Statistical datasets needed to compute the key territorial indicators of ETMS, will be time-oriented and will have a geographic dimension:

  • ETMS will integrate time series (retrospective and even prospective, for different scenarios) and will define a procedure to ensure their update in a regular basis. 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, will be integrated, but also complementary information will be produced. Other tools developed within Prority 3 add to the available toolbox for this project. ESPON 2013 projects addressing cities and towns such as FOCI, TIGER, KIT and “Small and Medium Sized Towns in their Functional Urban Areas”, among others, will also be considered as an important input in terms of data and information, as well as ET2050 in relation to forecasts.
  • ETMS backbone for territorial monitoring and reporting will be 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. Additionally, the ETMS will lower and enlarge the geographical framework when relevant and appropriate. In particular, areas with geographic specificities such as mountainous regions, sparse territories and islands, as well as agglomerations, metropolitan regions, functional urban areas and rural regions shall be included as geographical identities in the framework of this project. With regards to this issue raster-based grid-cell data sources will be used in order to bridge the gap between the different breakdowns.
  • ETMS will 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 is 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.
  • ETMS geographical coverage will encompass all the countries participating in the ESPON 2013 Programme and as much as possible Croatia, for which the accession negotiations were closed and the Accession Treaty was signed at the end of 2011, and in the EU Candidate Countries (i.e. The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Turkey, Montenegro) and/or the other countries of the Western Balkans (i.e. Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Albania, Kosovo under UN Security Council Resolution 1244)... Depending on the respective data situation these countries would then be included in the European Territorial Monitoring System, application and reports developed.
  • ETMS Medatata will be based on ESPON already defined protocols, refined and complemented when necessary.
  • ETMS core indicators (30-50) will be supplemented and supported by other available data which may be more up to date and also strategic. Around this data and information core, ETMS will also include a knowledge-base (e.g. repository of selected studies on territorial dynamics and policies, news related to European policies debates from specialised press, etc.) to support the expert qualitative interpretation of monitoring indicators and provide a reference to users willing the investigate deeper.

ETMS: An ESPON integrated tool

The ETMS builds mainly on existing tools developed within the ESPON Programme, reorganised, improved whenever needed and complemented to support a continued monitoring effort of European territorial trends.

The next image (Image 1) shows the ESPON strategy in terms of territorial knowledge to assess policy makers and policy analysts. This strategy is based on linking the results of ESPON Database project and the ESPON projects providing territorial indicators, mostly INTERCO (or access to them, e.g. ESPON Data Navigator), to the ETMS. All these three field areas cover all stages of territorial development such as data availability, data accessibility, data quality.

Image 1 The P3 Triad

Therefore, work developed in INTERCO project and the ESPON 2013 Database Project (Phase I and Phase 2) are the main pillars to build upon the ETMS, together with ESPON Data Navigator. Existing ESPON tools for territorial analysis, data integration and data visualisation such as the ESPON HyperAtlas, the OLAP Cube and the Online Mapping Tool will also be linked and used for the ETMS.

In addition, the experience gained during ESPON 2006 will be considered, in particular the results of the test phase implemented at the end of the previous programming period with the ESPON 2006 project 4.1.3 on “Feasibility study on monitoring territorial development” based on ESPON key indicators.

ETMS will be complementary to the ESPON European Urban Benchmarking tool, which focus is to provide detailed a quick scan tool providing more detailed information at urban level highlighting opportunities and risks for cities within the logic of supporting public and private management and investments in cities (bottom-up approach), and will 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.

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