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Goals and Organisation
The Austrian Conference on Spatial Planning (ÖROK), founded in 1971, is an organisation established by the federal government, the Länder and municipalities to coordinate spatial development at the national level.
Under the chair of the Federal Chancellor, the members of the executive body with policymaking powers include all federal ministers and heads of the Länder, the presidents of the Austrian Association of Cities and Towns and of the Austrian Association of Municipalities as well as the heads of the social and economic partners.
ÖROK uses the services of a Commission of Deputies as well as several committees and working groups to execute its tasks at the administrative level that are made up of representatives of the territorial authorities and the social and economic partners.
Apart from the formal bodies, there are a number of soft “governance” mechanisms that are gaining significance for ÖROK’s work. An ÖROK Office has been set up at the Federal Chancellery for operational activities.
Tasks and Products
One of the central areas of work comprises the drafting and publication of the Austrian Spatial Development Concept. The current “Austrian Spatial Development Concept (ÖREK 2011)” was published in October 2011.
So-called “implementing partnerships” have set up to execute the concept. These partnerships work on concrete themes of special relevance for spatial development in Austria.
The core products include the “ÖROK Publication Series” which covers findings and basic studies; the “Report on Spatial Planning” that periodically reports on spatially relevant activities of the fe-deral government, Länder and municipalities as well as the “ÖROK Recommendations” and the “ÖROK Atlas”.
ÖROK and Europe
Within the context of European regional and spatial development policies, ÖROK has played an important role as the coordinating body between the internal and the European level since Austria’s accession to the European Union.
In the area of “EU Cohesion Policy” and “Rural Development”, the “Partnership Agreement” for the period 2014 to 2020 (Working title: “STRAT.AT 2020”) is integrated into the organisation of ÖROK. This decision is based on the good experience made with the strategic monitoring process “STRAT.ATplus” within the National Strategic Reference Framework 2007–2013.
ÖROK serves as the Coordination Platform and joint secretariat for the monitoring committees of the regional structural fund programme for Austria and supports the partners involved in the programming cycle (programming, negotiations, evaluations, closure, …).
The ÖROK office has served as the “National Contact Point” for several years for the transnational and network programmes of the Objective “European Territorial Cooperation” (ETC) in which Austria participates. The focus of activities is on three programmes covering Central Europe, the Alpine Space and SEE (Southeast Europe), but it also provides supports to INTERREG IV C, URBACT II and ESPON. Additionally, it provides the coordination work for the programmes of the bilateral cross-border cooperation with Austrian participation within ÖROK.