VASAB Long-Term Perspective for the Territorial Development of the Baltic Sea Region (LTP) outlines that ‘A progress towards achieving the territorial cohesion perspective of the Baltic Sea Region in 2030 should be monitored and evaluated on a regular basis. This is a clear role of VASAB to act as an observatory of trends and processes related to the territorial cohesion in the Region and to provide evidence, either providing a right development of the taken initiatives and actions, or flagging the necessary changes. Fulfilment of this role will not be possible without well- tailored indicators, which should measure the state of territorial cohesion in the BSR. If acknowledged in the Baltic Sea Region, such territorial cohesion indicators should be promoted at the European level and replicated in other European macroregions. The LTP may provide a synergy input to the implementation of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region by animating some key actions by applying spatial planning systems, tools and methods in coping with socio-economic development disparities between the countries and regions, and by setting a monitoring system for territorial development processes in the Region. The set of indicators may serve for measuring of the progress in achieving territorial cohesion at both the BSR and the EU level.’
Accordingly, VASAB countries initiated an ESPON project ‘The Baltic Sea Region Territorial Monitoring (BSR TeMo)’ (2012-2014). The main objective of the BSR TeMo project was to develop an operational indicator-based territorial monitoring system, comprehending a policy and a methodological dimension aimed at promoting territorial cohesion, contributing to European competitiveness and supporting policy makers at different levels.
The VASAB Ministerial Conference in Tallinn in 2014 instructed the VASAB Committee to observe the territorial development processes in the Baltic Sea Region, using the monitoring system developed by the ESPON BSR-TeMo project and to report the findings to the Ministers and relevant stakeholders. Consequently, VASAB countries appealed ESPON for a continuation of BSR TeMo project in order regularly update and possibly add new indicators to the monitoring system.
In 2018 a new ESPON project ‘European and Macro-regional Territorial Monitoring Tool’ was launched. The project aimed at developing a web tool that provides territorial evidence to stakeholders and policymakers in Europe and in particular on the Baltic Sea, Danube, Alpine and Adriatic-Ionian macro-regions on key development trends over time and on the progress, implementation and contribution of policy objectives as defined in the EU macro-regional strategies and in the VASAB LTP. The project was completed in February 2020.