Network conference 1996 overview conferences

Sustainable Spatial Development for the Black Sea Region

Odessa, November 1996

The fourth conference of the Network of Spatial Research Institutions in Central and Eastern Europe took place at Odessa / Ukraine on 11th and 12th November 1996 as a common conference of the Council of Europe, the German Ministry for Buidling and Housing and the Ukraine in co-operation with the Network of Spatial Research Institutions in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE-Net).

Aims of the conference

A result of the Network conference in Vilnius was the demand for a more intensive discussion of a sustainable spatial development in Central and Eastern Europe. Discussions with Network partners and the Council of Europe put the Black Sea Region into the center of interest.

The region around the Black Sea has historical, economic and cultural links to Central and Western Europe. Due to the tremendous political changes, the conditions for the regional and international relations of the Black Sea countries changed fundamentally.

The Black Sea Region shares with other European regions - like the Baltic Sea Region - the challenge which results from the complexity of the present economic, social and ecological problems. A sustainable development is needed. Especially important for spatial planning and development in Europa are the increasing economic co-operation, the need of better communication networks, the population development and the pollution of the environment. Spatial Planning coordinates urban, regional and international development; its importance for the implementation of sustainable development is therefore outstanding.

Given these facts, the Council of Europe and the Governments of the Ukraine and Germany invited together with the CEE-Network of Spatial Research Institutions to the conference in Odessa. Main issue is the sustainable spatial development in the Black Sea Region. The conference was to be the intitial for a continuous dialogue between representatives of governments, regions, local administrations and science about spatial development in the region in the context of european integration.

Participants and funding

90 scientists and government officials from Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Greece, Germany, Latvia, the Netherlands, Austria, Poland, Romania, Russia, the Slovak Republic, Turkey, the Ukraine, Hungary and Belarus came to Odessa. Funds were provided by the TRANSFORM programme of the German government, by IOER, the Council of Europe, the regional administration of Odessa and the Ukrainian government.


Since the Network conference in Vilnius, it was clear that the Network conferences are a contribution to the promotion of spatial organisation and spatial research. This impression was even stronger in Odessa.

Given the fact that co-operation in spatial organisation and spatial research is not very well developed in the Black Sea countries, many participants took the opportunity to exchage their experiences, to make new contacts and to prepare research projects. In spite of these activities, the start towards an intensive cooperation in the Black Sea Region which includes all neighbouring countries is still a long way to go. The conference may be regarded as a first step.

The results of the discussions concerning co-operation in spatial planning politics are summarized in the Declaration of Odessa. It reaffirms the importance of a european co-operation in the implementation of coordinated, integrated and sustainable spatial planning politics. The elaboration of strategies for sustainable development in the Black Sea Region is an aim with high priority. With this declaration, the Network is encouraged to do more research on sustainable spatial development in Europe. The declaration was forwarded to the European Conference of the Ministers of xx (CEMAT) and could prove as an important argument for the representatives of spatial research institutions, as spatial planning and spatial research are often not properly funded in the Black Sea Region.

Following the scientific lectures about the Danube delta resp. the whole Danube Region, a discussion emerged about a closer co-operation in the Danube Region. Therefore, it was proposed to organise the Network conference 1997 in the Danube Region.


Selected lectures and discussion results from the Odessa conference were published 1998 together with contributions of the Vilnius conference as volume 1 of the "CEEDES" (Central and Eastern European Development Studies) series at Springer publishers under the title "Sustainable Development for Central and Eastern Europe - Spatial Development in the European Context". The volume was edited by Ulrich Graute of the CEE Network.


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