How would a desired Baltic Sea Region look like in the future? How do we envision its urban networks and settlement structure, its physical and digital connectivity, the management of its ‘commons’ that ensure a good quality of life?
Visions are powerful tools to imagine desirable futures and a path towards them. In this regard VASAB has been one of the pioneers in developing visions for territorial development of the Baltic Sea Region, dating back to the first VASAB Vision “VASAB 2010. Towards a Framework for Spatial Development in the Baltic Sea Region” in 1994. In 2009 a Long-Term Perspective for the Territorial Development of the Baltic Sea Region was adopted. Most recently – a new VASAB Vision 2040 was elaborated and adopted in 2023 as a response to arisen territorial challenges and climate change impacts.
VASAB Vision 2040
On 2nd June 2023 VASAB Ministers responsible for Spatial Planning and Development in the Baltic Sea Region endorsed the VASAB Vision for the Territorial Development of the Baltic Sea Region in 2040.
VASAB Vision 2040 sets long-term territorial perspective for a vibrant, resilient, well-connected Baltic Sea Region, comprising the land-based and maritime spatial elements of the Region, respecting its diversities and specificities, and embracing sustainability, integration and cooperation throughout. It proposes potential future actions to be jointly implemented with stakeholders in order to cope with challenges across various levels, sectors and borders.
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The Baltic Sea Region faces many challenges like digitalization, demographic trends, vulnerability of the Baltic Sea. In the last couple of years unpredictable events – COVID pandemic, war against Ukraine, energy crisis – have brought additional challenges and consequences to our regions and cities, while impacts of climate change have also become more visible affecting environment and our living conditions.
Acknowledging the current challenges, development and trends and the need for strong coordinated policies and experience exchange across the Baltic Sea Region and beyond, VASAB CSPD/BSR decided to update the Long-Term Perspective and elaborate the VASAB Vision 2040.
The new VASAB Vision 2040 supports different stakeholders in the Baltic Sea Region countries in policy making to cope with challenges across various levels, sectors and borders, and to better anticipate and prepare for the future development paths towards sustainability and territorial cohesion perspective of the Region till 2040. Particularly, it proposes potential future actions targeted for transnational and cross-border cooperation and synergies in such fields as development of urban settlements, virtual and physical connectivity, carbon neutral energy production and supply, resilient ecosystems, as well as cooperative planning systems.
Preparation of the VASAB Vision 2040 took place from 2021 by the end of 2022 and was steered by VASAB CSPD/BSR and led by a partnership of Spatial Foresight GmbH and Nordregio, both together having a long experience in EU policies, territorial cooperation, visions and scenario development, development and implementation of strategies, a considerable focus on the Baltic Sea Region and a long track record of working together.
The VASAB Vision 2040 was developed through an open, participatory and co-creative process. It engaged stakeholders at different governance levels (EU, macro-regional and national), including the thematic coordinators of EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region, other pan-Baltic organizations and national and local key stakeholders through series of events and targeted thematic workshops.