Suvi RIHTNIEMI, Finland,
Chamber of Regions
Political Group : PPE/DC
Recently, the Committee on Sustainable Development of the Chamber of Regions launched the preparation of a report on the implementation by the Regions of the Recommendation of the Committee of Ministers on the “Guiding principles on the Sustainable Spatial Development of the European Continent”. The Congress has in fact contributed to the preparation of the Guiding Principles in the framework of its close cooperation with the Committee of Senior Officials of the Conference of Ministers Responsible for Spatial Planning (CEMAT).
Some rregions in Europe detain in fact considerable spatial-planning responsibilities, consequently the Committee felt very important to support the implementation of these principles at regional level. The purpose of the Committee has been in fact to ensure that the issues with which the Guiding Principles deal are put across to regional public authorities and the general public in the European regions and are not known solely within the narrow confines of national governments and specialized scientific agencies.
For doing so the report provides a series of examples and good practices, based on a comparative study, in implementing the Principles and suggests measures for different types of region in Europe (in particular coastal and island regions, mountain regions and border regions) as being specifically adapted to the particular regional context.
The Committee discussed and amended the draft Resolution during the meeting held on 1 April 2004 in Strasbourg and eventually adopted by written procedure the amended text.
The Committee wishes to thank François Saint Ouen and the Foundation for the Economy and Sustainable Development of the Regions of Europe (FEDRE) for the precious expertise given for the preparation of the report.
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Guiding Principles for Sustainable Spatial Development: a pivotal role for the regions
In many traditionally unified countries it was the need for spatial planning that gave rise in the 1950s and 1960s to the creation of a regional level, taking over from traditional action by the State. This movement, which was supported intellectually by economists or geographers and also followed the line of more political and longer-term developments in the wake of regionalist demands, has been decisive, for example in a country like France, in defining “programme regions” in the mid-1950s which have become the regions that we know today.
In 1983, in line with this tradition, the European Regional/Spatial Planning Charter adopted in Torremolinos went even further, making the “regional level” no less than “the most appropriate level at which to pursue a regional/spatial planning policy”, emphasising “co-ordination between the regional authorities themselves and local and national authorities as well as between regions of neighbouring countries”.
More recently, the European Conference of Ministers responsible for Regional Planning adopted “Guiding Principles for Sustainable Spatial Development of the European Continent” on 7 and 8 September 2000 in Hanover, which placed the concept of sustainable development at the centre of European spatial development policy. On 30 January 2002 the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe recommended that member States should apply these Guiding Principles, specifically based on the Torremolinos Charter, as a reference document for their national spatial planning and development measures [Recommendation (2002) 1 of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe].
The various member States produced “national contributions” for the CEMAT meeting in Ljubljana (Slovenia) on 16 and 17 September 2003, aimed inter alia at describing how far their respective spatial planning policies were capable of implementing the “Guiding Principles for Sustainable Spatial Development of the European Continent”. The result was a document (CEMAT CHF 82 (2004) 2 Actes Vol. II) which has been brought to the attention of Ministers.
The Committee on Sustainable Development of the Chamber of Regions was anxious to examine trends in putting these “Principles” into practice at regional level, in the context of their spatial planning policies. This was done by way of general discussions and by the examination in greater depth of concrete examples and good practice in three types of region identified by CEMAT as specific territories: a cross-border region (the Canton of Geneva), a region with substantial coastal and island areas (Tuscany) and a region with substantial mountain areas (Andalusia).
The report was discussed at the meeting of the Committee on Sustainable Development of the Chamber of Regions in Strasbourg on 1 April 2004.
Recapitulation of the CEMAT Guiding Principles
The document sets out ten Principles of a planning policy for sustainable development in Europe:
(1) Promoting territorial cohesion through a more balanced social and economic development of regions and improved competitiveness;
(2) Encouraging development generated by urban functions and improving the relationship between town and countryside;
(3) Promoting more balanced accessibility;
(4) Developing access to information and knowledge;
(5) Reducing environmental damage;
(6) Enhancing and protecting natural resources and the natural heritage;
(7) Enhancing the cultural heritage as a factor for development;
(8) Developing energy resources while maintaining safety;
(9) Encouraging high quality, sustainable tourism;
(10) Limitation of the impacts of natural disasters.
Provision is also made for more closely targeted measures for a whole range of “characteristic territories”, namely cultural landscapes, urban areas, rural areas, mountains, coastal and island regions, Eurocorridors, flood plains and water meadows, redundant industrial and military sites and border regions.
Major trends in Europe regarding regions in relation to these Principles
A preliminary observation must be made: regions with legislative power usually have substantial powers for planning their own territory. They also have considerable financial and administrative resources available. The policies that they pursue are generally in harmony with most of the Guiding Principles, even if these are referred to only indirectly, by way of reference to national documents which extend them to the area of sustainable spatial planning. However, the situation is a little less favourable in eastern Europe, for example in Russia, where only a dozen or so of the 89 constituent entities in the Federation base themselves on a vision of sustainable spatial development close to that which emerges from the Guiding Principles defined by CEMAT at the European level.
At the same time, in a number of states where regions do not have legislative powers, national legislation does nevertheless assign them significant responsibilities in the particular field of spatial development. They have the task of planning, developing and implementing regional planning measures and co-ordinating the activities of local and sub-regional authorities in this area. This assignment of responsibility for spatial development to the regional level applies, for instance, in France, the Netherlands, northern European countries and increasingly also in central European countries (because of the EU and its structural policy).
Another relatively important issue is the sometimes considerable difference in size among European regions, so much so that it is certainly difficult to make out a common scale. Thus while on average a constituent entity of the Russian Federation covers 190000 km2 (a much greater area than many European countries), a Czech or Lithuanian region is only about 6000 km2 in area (30 times less!), while Autonomous Spanish communities (32000 km2), French regions (25000 km2) and Ukrainian regions (22500 km2) or German Länder (21000 km2) come between these two extremes.
The debate on “adequate” regional structures has recently been very intense in countries affected by the enlargement of the European Union (for example in the case of Romania, where it is still continuing). History shows that two major types of development are possible:
- development “French style”, in which a pre-existing technocratic division (the programme regions dating from the mid-1950s) was subsequently given a political dimension with the 1981 decentralisation laws;
- development “Polish style”, in which a regional political level was created by bringing together former territorial divisions (thus 16 voivodeships were created, replacing the 49 that had been set up in the mid-1970s).
Moreover, when assessing capacity to implement the Guiding Principles (and the aims that inspire them), due emphasis must be given to the particular challenge presented by countries in transition. These have to absorb a whole range of specific threats to the environment and to spatial development inherited from the previous system, for example the redevelopment of redundant heavy industry or mining areas, or even of armaments production in some cases. In addition, regional structures have often been changed recently, so they are young and only rarely have the human, technical and financial capabilities to cope with such substantial problems, at least in the short term (even with help from the European Union). Besides, the influence of central State government departments is usually still very substantial in spatial planning, and the Guiding Principles themselves are better known at this level than by the regional authorities themselves, which are sometimes even unaware of their existence.
In more general terms, much also remains to be done in order to extend the topics developed by the Guiding Principles from the limited sphere of specialised scientific bodies, in order to have a more direct impact on regional public authorities, as well as on public opinion and on the citizens in the various regions of Europe. A wide-ranging programme of education and information seems essential from this viewpoint. This is important if in the long term we really want the sector policies (economic development, employment, housing, transport, energy, culture and education, health, etc.) developed at the regional level genuinely to cater for consistent spatial planning objectives geared to sustainable development. The fact is that a sustainable spatial development policy is “cross-sectoral” by definition and concerns all policies conducted in the various sectors at local, regional, national and European level. Those in charge of the policies in the various sectors must be fully aware of the main elements and objectives of such a spatial development policy and must also share its aims and constantly ensure that they are followed at their particular levels. Otherwise, spatial development would run the risk of remaining more a set of good intentions than a concerted programme of action and measures aimed in a single direction. Likewise spatial planning must take into consideration needs and aims of sector policies. There should be interaction between sector policies and spatial planning.
An example of border policy in a region: the Canton of Geneva
There are about 150 Euroregions in Europe. What happens in the Geneva region, where cross-border co-operation is both a necessity and a long tradition, demonstrates some of the specific difficulties that have to be faced in this case, as well as what can be achieved in many areas.
The Canton of Geneva has over 100 kilometres of border with France and only 4.5 with the rest of Switzerland. It is the principal urban centre in a region that overflows into neighbouring territories, French and Swiss (Canton of Vaud). The cross-border phenomenon has been has been firmly established there for many years. This type of relationship is made even more necessary by the smallness of Genevan territory (246 km2) relative to its French counterpart, the Rhône-Alpes region (43698 km2), which also makes it necessary to work with smaller entities, inter alia the two neighbouring departments of Ain (5762 km2) and Haute-Savoie (4388 km2), and even with inter-commune levels. These relations were actually institutionalised in 1973 around the phenomenon of persons residing in France and working in Geneva (cross-border employees). Since then Geneva has transferred the tax levied by the Canton on these workers’ places of employment to the communes where they reside.
One of the specific aims of the CEMAT Guiding Principles is to organise cross-border pools of employment. The Geneva region is both pioneer and example in this area. Today there are about 38000 cross-border employees in Geneva. This employment market, in response to a shortage of Swiss labour in some sectors, is highly structured today. The parties to this co-operation are not only the political authorities, but also include active segments of society, in particular the Groupement transfrontalier européen, a French non-profit-making association whose aim is to inform, to represent and to defend cross-border employees. It has been possible to set up a “Maison transfrontalière européenne” thanks to funding from the INTERREG III programme involving French and Swiss partners (including the Canton of Geneva), with the aim of supplying cross-border information on employment, creation of new businesses, housing, social insurance, transport and cultural activities. Moreover, a Cross-border Statistics Centre observing population movements has been created within the framework of bilateral agreements between the European Union and Switzerland: the parties to them are the Geneva Canton Office of Statistics and its counterparts in the Rhône-Alpes region in France (INSEE) and the Vaud Canton in Switzerland (SCRIS).
Recent regional efforts to protect the environment at the cross-border level have concentrated on rivers and watercourses. Thus three river contracts were signed between October 2003 and February 2004, aimed at combating pollution and improving water quality. In this there are many parties, representing various levels of responsibility in their respective domains: apart from the Canton of Geneva they include the French Ministry of Agriculture, the Rhône-Alpes Regional Water Authority, the French department of Ain (as well as its Chamber of Agriculture and its Fishing and Water Conservation Federation) and a French Community of Communes covering part of the department of Ain.
In another area, sustainable tourism, a cross-border heritage guide was published in 2002 under the aegis of the Franco-Genevan Regional Committee. It suggests various tourist routes, illustrated by photographs, on both sides of the border. In the area of transport, action to promote rail travel initiated long ago is about to come to fruition with the recommissioning of a rail line linking Geneva’s two stations and the neighbouring French station in Annemasse. The agreement of the Swiss Confederation and of the Swiss Railway Company was necessary for an operation on this scale, which affects the Franco-Swiss international rail network. However, the Canton of Geneva has assumed responsibility for a substantial part of the funding. In addition, it should be noted that public transport (buses and trams) have already been operating as a network on both sides of the border for several years.
The linking of entities belonging to different national legal systems is one of the principal features of decentralised cross-border co-operation, and one of its principal difficulties; these entities often do not have the same powers and resources and their administrative habits are sometimes quite different.
This is not necessarily a disadvantage, as the Genevan experience shows. The Canton of Geneva is the urban centre of the cross-border area, and its other principal asset is that it is a region with legislative powers, like all the other Cantons in the Swiss Federation. This gives it constitutional powers to act in certain areas of decentralised cross-border co-operation without having to go through the central government. It also gives it the resources to be a driving force in that co-operation. A good example of this is the adoption in 2001, as authorised by the Constitution, of a Law establishing an Agenda 21 for the Canton of Geneva, but also providing for its long-term extension to the regional and cross-border plan1. Thus inherent legislative powers may have an induced effect on the cross-border process as a whole. This is only one example, but which can have this kind of positive effect only if a climate of dialogue and mutual respect is maintained among the parties, without seeking to impose anything. In the case of Geneva, the community of language and culture (except in the political and administrative area) and the complementarities of all kinds that have made this cross-border relationship necessary for years mean that this usually occurs. To this may be added the entry into force of bilateral agreements between Switzerland and the European Union that provide an additional framework for development of cross-border relationships in various areas.
On the other hand, it is apparent that such co-operation involves a very wide range of parties (we have already mentioned the Association of Cross-border Employees, Chambers of Commerce or Agriculture, etc.). In reality the Canton of Geneva is often in direct contact with sub-regional levels on the French side, either the two departments of Ain and Haute-Savoie or Communities of Communes covering border areas within these two departments. Let us take as an example a project (which meets one of the aims of the Guiding Principles) to set up a cross-border town: the Geneva Canton departments concerned deal directly with four Communities of French communes within this framework. Thus a regional level has an inter-commune level as its principal contact in this case. While in theory on the French side elected representatives act for the Communities of Communes, the Canton of Geneva is represented above all by civil servants.
However, substantial progress has been made to bring the Canton of Geneva and its French counterpart at the same level, the Rhône-Alpes Region, closer together. A Co-operation Agreement between the parties was signed in 2001, with a three- year programme between 2003 and 2005 covering six areas: transport, spatial planning, education and training, biotechnologies, new information and communication technologies and tourism. The priorities defined at the European level in the CEMAT Guiding Principles can be found under each of these items. This inter-regional programming effort is a decisive stage in cross-border co-operation.
An example of coastal policy in a region: Tuscany
Europe has tens of thousands of kilometres of coastal and island regions, from the far north to the Mediterranean and from the far west to the North Sea. Consequently wide-ranging powers in these regions and the highly variable extent to which the aims set out in the Guiding Principles are included in their development and planning policies are the rule here.
Broadly speaking, four major groups of coastal and island regions, which can be arranged in ascending order of inherent powers, can be distinguished. In the first group, which includes, for example, normal Portuguese regions, the Greek “peripheries” and the entire east Adriatic coast, these powers is very underdeveloped. Inherent powers exist in the second group, which might include, for example, Swedish and French regions, but the central State is still a key player in coastal planning policy. In the third group, which might include the Autonomous Spanish Communities and the Italian regions (at least those which have set themselves strategic objectives and have found the practical resources for a true regional planning policy), we find a situation in which a large number of points raised by the Guiding Principles can be addressed. Finally, in the last category, which includes regions with legislative powers like the German Länder, we have political authorities which have the means to apply the Guiding Principles for themselves.
Tuscany (22992 km2), whose coast is very indented, accounts for nearly one-third of the Italian Tyrrhenian Sea shoreline. It is one of the regions of normal status in that country that has developed furthest along the lines of the Guiding Principles. A Regional Development Plan 2003-2005, supplemented by various sector plans, is currently being implemented. This document is supplemented by a Regional Environmental Action Plan 2004-2006, referred to hereafter by the acronym PRAA (Piano Regionale di Azione Ambientale). The search for what is called “eco-efficiency”, a concept close to sustainable development, leads to a series of objectives seeking better integration of environmental themes into the regional authorities’ economic and territorial policy.
The idea is to make Tuscany a leader in Europe through its concrete efforts to improve the quality of the environment and so to plan the territory and anticipate ecological risks. This large-scale planning, which ties up with the various objectives in the CEMAT Guiding Principles, brings together various players ranging from the ordinary citizen to businesses, as well as public authorities at different levels. Each area of activity refers to European Union legislative instruments, to existing national laws and regulations and also to regional laws and decrees on the subject. Four major priority areas have been adopted: climatic change, nature and biodiversity, environment and health and the sustainable use of natural resources and waste management.
The PRAA identifies 15 macro-objectives in these four priority areas:
1. Climatic change (3 macro-objectives)
- reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in accordance with the Kyoto Protocol;
- stabilisation and reduction of energy consumption;
- increasing the share of energy from renewable sources.
2. Nature and biodiversity (5 macro-objectives)
- increasing the number and area of protected zones;
- preservation of terrestrial and marine biodiversity;
- reducing the impact of man-made areas;
- technological risk prevention;
- prevention of coastal erosion.
3. Environment and health (3 macro-objectives)
- reducing the number of people exposed to atmospheric pollution;
- reducing the number of people exposed to noise pollution;
- reducing the impact of pesticides and chemicals harmful to health and to the environment.
4. Sustainable use of natural resources and waste management (4 macro- objectives)
- reducing the overall production of waste;
- reducing or eliminating dumped waste;
- protecting the quality of fresh water and sea water;
- promoting the sustainable use of water resources.
A map of the Tuscany region has also been prepared which identifies “critical areas” from the environmental viewpoint and the action to be taken thereon. In addition, the PRAA brings out two concepts that the CEMAT Guiding Principles also regard as important: “governance”, i.e. the linking of various levels of public and private players; “integration”, i.e. the dynamic links and common aims that should inspire the various
sector policies in sustainable spatial development.
The PRAA is also developing a real “sea strategy” affecting coastal and island areas2. Several strategic objectives are formulated, which include the upgrading of provinces and other coastal authorities in the planning process: this involves improving convergence in development between coastal and inland areas and giving Tuscany the identity of a maritime region by putting forward criteria for upgrading and sustainability, promoting sustainable tourism, improving the accessibility of certain areas, developing the culture and heritage of coastal regions and islands, training and retraining of the workforce, etc.
The regional authorities have identified six especially critical areas from the point of view of sustainable development of their coastal areas and islands, for which specific action has been worked out:
1. The environment: strengthening and co-ordinating action to combat coastal erosion, to protect the sea from oil pollution, and to defend the biodiversity of the coastal system more effectively.
2. Transport: strengthening and co-ordinating action to make certain areas more accessible and to promote intermodality.
3. Economic development: promotion of economic and port activity from the perspective of sustainable development, concentrated aquaculture, environmental education, and promotion of seaside tourism in its environmental and cultural aspects.
4. Islands: strengthening and co-ordinating action, particularly for better routes, for a better water supply for the islands, better waste treatment and reducing the impact of traditional tourism and development of sustainable tourism.
5. Culture: investment in the historical and cultural heritage linked to the sea, promotion and dissemination of the cultural and history of the coastal people.
6. Human resources: training and retraining of persons employed in sectors connected with the development of the marine system, creation of employment centres.
An example of mountain policy in a region: Andalusia
Mountain areas often cross borders. In that case the issue is one of cross-border co-operation; we have seen an example of this in the case of the Canton of Geneva. In particular there are difficulties in linking up political and legal systems, to say nothing of different levels of development or different languages and cultures. The same kind of issue also arises in the case of mountains within a country but which are very often shared among several regions3, which raises problems in harmonisation of planning. In some cases this enables the State to retain a significant role. Thus in France, where mountain policy is formulated massif by massif, the State retains a very important advisory role in relation to regions in the Alps (shared between the Rhône-Alpes region in the north and Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur in the south) and in the Pyrenees (shared among Aquitaine in the west, Midi-Pyrenees in the centre and Languedoc-Roussillon in the east).
The Alps, situated as they are in the centre of Europe, consist in large measure of regions with extensive powers in spatial planning, often highly oriented towards sustainable development (in particular the Swiss Cantons, the Austrian and German Länder and the Italian Autonomous Regions). The situation in the Pyrenees is asymmetrical, with regions more in evidence on the Spanish side and the central State more in evidence on the French side. The role of the regions in mountain planning is limited in the Carpathians (with certain exceptions) in central Europe and even more generally in the Stara Planina massif in the Balkans4.
Andalusia has the largest area of nature reserves in Spain, especially in its mountains, covering 17% of the area of the Autonomous Community. Article 13 of its Statute of Autonomy (1981) grants Andalusia “exclusive jurisdiction” in a large number of areas highly relevant to the objectives defined in the CEMAT Guiding Principles, for example culture, the historical heritage, the craft industry, spatial planning, tourism, sporting and leisure activities, health, water resources, energy, etc.
The key legal instrument is the regional spatial planning law dating from 1994, which sets balanced and sustainable development as its objective. This law was extended in 1995 by a Development Plan. After a comprehensive consultation procedure involving a very wide range of interests, on 4 May 1999 the regional government issued a decree approving the bases and strategies of the Andalusian Spatial Plan for the beginning of the twenty-first century. This document seeks to co-ordinate the various sector policies from the viewpoint of sustainable development by addressing two concerns:
- external, to establish Andalusia more firmly in the European Union economic space and to strengthen its integration with neighbouring regions so as to act as a real link between the North and South Mediterranean in accordance with the Euro-Mediterranean Conference in Barcelona in 1995;
- internal, to strengthen economic integration and social cohesion, having regard to the fact that Andalusia is an extensive and varied territory (87268 km2), with much potential and many possibilities of development.
The development model sought is based on improving the competitiveness of the various economic sectors, pursuing better social cohesion, strengthening the physical linkage of the regional territory, making efficient use of resources and developing the natural and cultural heritage. The document stresses that “spatial planning, being specifically within the jurisdiction of the Autonomous Community, has to establish the desirable characteristics of the regional spatial model”. Moreover, this Plan has recently been supplemented by an Environmental Plan 2004-2010 for Andalusia based on the linkage, advocated in the CEMAT Guiding Principles, between sustainable development and the information society, so that the environment is not only differentiated as “traditional” or “rural” but also as “innovative” and “enterprising”.
The “specific treatment of mountain areas” is within the exclusive jurisdiction of the Autonomous Community (Statute of Autonomy, Article 13). Consequently a separate chapter of the Plan bases and strategies is devoted to the substantial mountain areas in Andalusia (Sierra Aracena, Sierra Morena, Sierra del Castril, Sierra Nevada, Sierras de Cazorla, Segura and Las Villas, etc.). It is noted that up to the present the mountains have played little part in Andalusia’s economic boom but that on the other hand they contain a major part of its heritage and its natural resources (water, forests, biological and environmental diversity). The crisis in the traditional mountain economy is interpreted by the Autonomous Community authorities as a series of potentials to be exploited. The drive for development involves promoting them as areas of tourist and leisure potential, as reservoirs of high-quality traditional products and also as enclaves where biodiversity and natural resources are preserved. A significant part of the CEMAT Guiding Principles regarding mountain areas is to be found here in various forms.
The Cordoba Sierra Morena in northern Andalusia can be taken as an example. The development of the dehesa as an ecosystem well integrated into the Mediterranean context is a central theme, with a view to sustainable development.
The dehesa is a unique landscape of oak forests, peculiar to Western and South-Western Spain (half the oak forests on the planet are concentrated here). Smallholders raising livestock (ganaderos) traditionally reside there. Action is also under way inter alia to rehabilitate the traditional habitat and the rural roads and to develop sustainable tourism.
The Autonomous Community is not alone in the Sierra Morena rehabilitation operation. With the Spanish State, which has jurisdiction to create nature reserves (there are two in this area), the European Union is represented by two programmes, LEADER + and PRODER. The former is involved in developing the natural and cultural heritage and in improving the capability of communities living in the territory to generate their own forms of development. The latter relates to the endogenous development of rural areas.
In addition the Government of the Autonomous Community has its own powers extending to tourism (Regional Law of 15 December 1999) and to tourism in the rural environment (Regional Decree of 29 February 2002). The latter sets “as its principal objective the development of a system of sustainable and competitive tourism” based for the population concerned on diversification of activities outside agriculture and raising livestock and on the provision of high-quality services. A Centre for Tourist Initiatives was set up in the Sierra Morena in 2000, its aims being inter alia the defence of the environment, the rehabilitation of traditional architecture, the promotion of new buildings that fit into the countryside and the dissemination of local culture. In another area the Regional Decree of 6 November 2001 on the creation of certified quality labels for food products is important to the Sierra Morena region, where an attempt is being made, alongside traditional products with a very high reputation such as ham5, to develop other types of product such as honey, mushrooms or fruit.
Of course the Autonomous Community is working with the local authorities concerned in its policy definition and implementation stages. It is also working with areas in the private sector (such as tourism professionals) and various associations. Thus in the Sierra Morena, apart from the Centre for Tourist Initiatives referred to above, a very substantial part of the work to make the best of the area with a view to sustainable development is done by a Rural Development Group and an Association for the Development of the Cordoba Sierra Morena set up in 1998, which manages the LEADER + programme and has powers in the fields of environment, employment, training, tourism and product promotion.
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In conclusion, therefore, we can stress that the “educational” aspect developed in the Hanover document regarding regional “characteristic territories” (coastal and island areas, mountain regions, border regions, etc.) seemed to us to be most relevant to the role of the regions.
We hope that the typical cases that we have analysed can serve as a basis for discussion for all the regions of Greater Europe and help the latter to implement the “Principles” stated by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, in collaboration with national authorities.
For the future, it would certainly be useful for the Congress to be able to take up the “Principles” adopted in Hanover, by way of a preliminary discussion by the Committee on Sustainable Development of the Chamber of Regions, in order to express them as precise objectives more specifically affecting regional political authorities. For the future, therefore it would be necessary to publicise and explain in what respect each of the principles listed can be embodied in specific action at the regional level.
1 Article 15-A of this Law makes longer-term provision (in 2006) for “the implementation of a regional and cross-border Agenda, in collaboration with the competent authorities”.
2 The Tuscan archipelago has been made a National Park, and consists of seven islands: Elba (made famous by Napoleon), Montecristo (popularised by Alexandre Dumas), Giglio, Giannutri, Capraia, Gorgona and Pianosa. Montecristo is uninhabited. Gorgona and Pianosa are penal colonies (nature is no less beautiful there for all that).
3 This is true of the Sierra Morena massif, discussed in this document, which is shared by Andalusia, Extremadura and Castilla-La Mancha.
4 Of course, this does not mean that nothing is being done as regards sustainable development and protection of the environment (as witness the nature reserve in the western Stara Planina between Bulgaria and Serbia, set up in 1996), but those active in these initiatives are central States and communes, the regions much less so.
5 This is a very special product, matching the dehesa (oak forest) ecosystem: it is “bellota ham”, the pigs being fed on acorns (bellotas). The ham with the highest reputation in the Sierra Morena comes from the Valley of Los Pedroches north of Cordoba, and has an ‘appellation d’origine’.