A First Stock Take: Integrated Territorial Approaches in Cohesion Policy 2014-20

Arno Van Der Zwet, Stephen Miller, Frederike Gross

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Territorial approaches are a more prominent part of Cohesion policy in the 2014-20 period. Under the evolving urban dimension in European Structural and Investment Funds, the new regulations stipulate a ring-fenced budget of five percent of expenditure for Integrated Sustainable Urban Development (ISUD). New tools to implement territorial approaches have been introduced, including Integrated Territorial Investment (ITI) and Community-led Local Development (CLLD). These tools can be applied in urban areas but also in other territories. The manner in which territorial approaches are programmed, funded, thematically focussed and implemented differs greatly across IQ-Net countries/regions:
•ISUD. In countries/regions where ISUD is implemented through a Priority axis, spending allocations range from close to five percent to almost 20 percent. Some programmes are solely focusing on large metropolitan centres, while others are also concentrating on smaller regional centres. Thematically, ISUD tends to focus on environmental protection and social inclusion. The governance arrangements require a significant level of delegation to the local level, but not all countries use Intermediate Bodies to achieve this.

•ITIs. These are used to implement ISUD but can also target other forms of territorial development. In some countries/regions, ITIs are expected to be a major delivery instrument. Geographically, ITIs tend to focus on urban areas but can also target sub-regional areas, interregional areas or regions with specific territorial features. ITIs are programmed to cover innovation and competitiveness, low carbon economy and renewables and social cohesion themes. Selecting ITIs either happens through pre-selection (based on indicators or a political process) or competitive selection. Local bodies will be significantly involved in the implementation of the strategies, taking on responsibilities concerning the development of strategies, animation and project generation, selection or pre-selection of project activities.

•CLLD. Funding allocations for CLLD will vary significantly across Member States and regions. Some use CLLD in a large range of geographical areas, including urban and peri-urban areas. Most Member States will implement CLLD across multiple OPs, contributing to a range of thematic goals. Most CLLD management approaches retain programme Managing Authorities (MAs) in a management role. CLLD can also be used on a cross-border basis.
The approach for 2014-20 is an extension of existing methods and fits within emerging domestic policy frameworks. Many authorities at Member State level recognise the value of, and show enthusiasm for, integrated territorial approaches and some consider them innovative and inspiring. Potential benefits include increased efficiency and more local power/influence in decision-making. However, MAs have the difficult task of having to establish structures and implementation mechanisms that satisfy local actors’ expectations but also adhere to regulatory requirements. Other challenges include local capacity issues in relation to implementing territorial approaches and questions concerning how thematic concentration and results-orientation align with ring-fenced territorial approaches.
Finally, due to the variety of ways in which territorial approaches can be implemented, the provision of guidance has been challenging. A workgroup, Territorial Cohesion and Urban Matters (TCUM), has been established to support implementation of the territorial and urban aspects of the regulations governing the European Structural and Investment Funds. In relation to ITIs, the drafting of scenarios should provide clarification and be a source of inspiration.  
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIntegrated Territorial Approaches in Cohesion Policy 2014-20
EditorsArno Van Der Zwet, Stephen Miller, Frederike Gross
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2014
Event37th IQ-Net Conference - Cheshire, United Kingdom
Duration: 19 Nov 201421 Nov 2014


Conference37th IQ-Net Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


  • territorial instruments
  • integrated territorial investment
  • cohesion policy
  • community-led local development
  • sustainable urban development


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