While the world has been urbanising at an unprecedented speed, the dynamics in rural areas are also remarkable, particularly in Africa, where the rural population continues to grow alongside booming cities.
These dynamics are accompanied not only by a sharp increase in inequalities of income and well-being both within cities and between urban and rural areas, but also by the challenge of adapting to climate change. As a result, a renewed approach is called for, now more than ever. The scale, the strength and, above all, the speed of these changes make it imperative to act quickly and on a transformational scale. The recent crisis related to the COVID-19 pandemic has further exacerbated the effects of geographic, social and environmental inequalities.
The territory, understood as a cohesive entity – a living space and economic basin – exemplifies this scale and space, where the issues of social cohesion and attractiveness emerge, often well beyond the administrative boundaries of the local entities. It is at this level that the interdependencies and essential complementarity between urban and rural areas can be understood, and that suitable solutions will be developed in response to the always complex and interwoven development problems. It is at the territorial level that reconciliations between the economy, the social dimension and the environment can be built.
Successful territorial and ecological transition means developing the potential of each territory and ensuring that it comes up with its own answers to the issues relating to people, the planet and prosperity as set out in the sustainable development goals. It means focusing on human beings while ensuring that their ecological footprint is sustainable. It means strengthening the ability of stakeholders and ecosystems to continue developing despite the stress and shocks to come. To achieve this, the competent political and technical leaders, both national and local, must act with a long-term vision to ensure access to essential services and develop infrastructure and local economies, while protecting natural capital and strengthening social cohesion. These issues concern both urban and rural areas, forests and wetlands as well as oceans.
AFD is launching an open digital survey to enable all its stakeholders to vote, comment on and complete this new Strategy.
“This Territorial and Ecological Transition provides a framework and purpose to enhance territorial and holistic approaches, in the spirit of the SDGs, in AFD’s project portfolio. Our goal? Think global and act local, making sure no one is left behind.
The bedrock of this strategy is a vision of a World in Common, based around five key commitments of our AFD Group Strategy 2018–2022: 100% Paris Agreement; 100% Social cohesion; ‘3D’ Development (Defence, Diplomacy, Development); Priority to non-state stakeholders; and Partnership as a reflex.
Facing the Planet’s greatest challenges – including the fight against climate change – calls for the mobilisation of all at the local level, which is why AFD is committed to promoting cooperative, productive and low-emission urban and rural territories.
In order to make good on this commitment, we are counting on you. Let’s build this strategy together. Thank you all for your precious contributions!”
Rémy Rioux, Chief Executive Officer
Whether you are in Paris, Jakarta, Dakar or Mexico, whether you work in the public or private sector, whether you represent a civil society organisation or are a private citizen, whether you are an expert or not, we hope that many of you will participate in this survey.
We guarantee that:
“All contributions will be taken into account and included in a summary made available to the public. AFD will report on how the results of the survey will be incorporated into its strategy. AFD will make this survey part of a broader conversation with its stakeholders, and will therefore regularly provide information on the implementation of this strategy.”