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Cohesion Policy and Sustainable Development. Literature Review, Supporting Paper 1

AUTHORS: Keti Medarova-Bergstrom – Thissen, M. – Ian Skinner – James Medhurst – Marianne Kettunen – Kalinka P. – Hausemer P. – Grubbe M. – Evers D. – Cachia F. – Peter Hjerp – Patrick ten Brink

The literature review describes the evolution of Cohesion Policy and its structural instruments in relation to sustainable development and integration of environmental concerns. It highlights underlying concepts and models of sustainable development which will frame the analysis under different tasks of the overall study. Theories of economic regional development are summarized in relation to sustainable development and the environment with a special attention to the concept of New Economic Geography. The report explores the current trends in key environmental challenges and their implications for Cohesion Policy. The integrated development approaches and environmental integration are described in relation to the complex multi-level governance system that Cohesion Policy operates in. 

The report suggests that Cohesion Policy has a role to play in decoupling economic growth from environmental impacts by investing in ‘green measures’, which can contribute to ‘win-win’ solutions, as well as reforming/phasing out other Cohesion Policy spending which currently puts pressure on the environment and climate.

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