Committee on Spatial Development

of  the Baltic Sea Region




Distinguished Ministers of Spatial Planning of VASAB Countries


At the 5th Conference of Ministers Responsible for Spatial Planning, held in Germany in September 2001, the Ministers adopted the Wismar Declaration on transnational spatial planning and development policies for the Baltic Sea Region to 2010. In the Declaration the Ministers noted with satisfaction that the States of the Baltic Sea Region were developing together by revitalizing their close historical relationships.

Furthermore, it was noted that spatial planning was increasingly acknowledged as an interactive, interdisciplinary and democratic instrument to promote sustainable and balanced spatial development and spatial cohesion, and that special attention should be dedicated to impact caused by borders between present and future EU Member States and their neighbouring countries and regions such as North-West Russia and regions of Belarus.

According to the Wismar Declaration, the Committee on Spatial Development of the Baltic Sea Region (CSD/BSR) prepares Ministerial Conferences and implements the VASAB 2010 Plus Spatial Development Action Programme. The preceding Russian Chairmanship of VASAB intensified the successful dialogue between North-Western regions of Russia and the other Baltic Sea Region countries represented in the VASAB Committee.

A Russian National Sub-Committee (RNSC), which is composed of high level regional politicians, has been established as a co-ordinating body for spatial planning and development for North-West Russian regions. Several conferences and meetings have been organised in Russia, aiming at exchange of know-how and experience in practical spatial planning.

A project called the East-West Forum has been thoroughly discussed at the last CSD/BSR in St. Petersburg in June 2002. This Project is now ready for applying for funding.

The East-West Forum has been elaborated to implement the Wismar Declaration. The objective is to strengthen the exchange of experience and information on spatial planning. The Forum will benefit all stakeholders, especially the RNSC, by providing implementation structures as well as training of planners and administrators. The project is practically oriented and based on the principle of learning by doing.

As the chairperson of the VASAB Committee, I kindly ask you to recognise the advantages of the East-West Forum. The recognition would encourage the participation of Russian regional authorities in the East-West Forum and would be beneficial for applying for funding from the EU TACIS programme and other possible sources.

I sincerely hope that the East-West Forum would promote the implementation of the Wismar Declaration by intensifying spatial planning co-operation between North-Western Russia and the rest of the Baltic Sea Region.



Sincerely yours


Ulla Koski