The ESPON 2007-2013 Programme, the European Observation Network for Territorial Development and Cohesion, was adopted by the European Commission on 7 November 2007. ESPON is a transnational planning and related research programme. It has a European focus and seeks to inform a better understanding of spatial planning and territorial cohesion policies at local, regional, national and transnational levels in Europe.
The programme budget of €47 million is part-financed at the level of 75 % by the European Regional Development Fund under Objective 3 for European Territorial Cooperation. The rest is financed by 31 countries participating, 27 EU Member States and Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.
The mission of the ESPON 2013 Programme is to:
Support policy development in relation to the aim of territorial cohesion and a harmonious development of the European territory by:
(1) Providing comparable information, evidence, analyses and scenarios on territorial dynamics;
(2) Revealing territorial capital and potentials for development of regions and larger territories contributing to European competitiveness, territorial cooperation and a sustainable and balanced development.