MEDITERRANEAN. The French Agency for sustainable Mediterranean cities and territories positions itself as a centre of excellence, coordinating the main French actors in sustainable, territorial, urban governance in the Mediterranean.
Created in February 2012 by the Government and a dozen local authorities and institutions working in the PACA region, the agency must meet the demands and satisfy the significant needs of the southern territories by bringing together national and local experts whose work had not been coordinated so far. “We wanted to build a place bringing together the knowledge and know-how of the North and the South on the issue of sustainable development”, explains Agency President Serge Telle, and French ambassador to the Union for the Mediterranean to date. “These are major issues for all countries faced with the challenges posed by population pressure, land transformations due to climate change and globalisation”.
Inter-ministerial Spatial Planning and Regional Attractiveness Delegation, DATAR, wanted this new actor in the Mediterranean to move to Marseille. The organisation has five staff, but should soon see its workforce increase, as and when its missions are implemented.
Training, cooperation and capitalisation
The Agency’s activities revolve around three areas: training, cooperation and capitalisation. “The organisation brings together many networks already working on projects”, observes Serge Telle. The Agency therefore benefits from this dynamic”. Its priority for 2012 is to start the training cycle of the Institute for Advanced Studies in Mediterranean Development and Urban Planning (IHEDAT-Med).
The Agency is also working on the fifteen projects that involve the Mediterranean Institute, which is one of their founder members. “Both organisations are focusing on working very closely together”, says Institute President Henri Roux-Alezais. The Institute will continue its mission of planning and action in favour of its own founding members, but it will also bring to the agency, a long-term vision on the future of the Mediterranean urban system and its expertise to introduce pilot schemes in public policy.
The Institute also makes its Mediterranean think-tank network (RIM) and its city networks available. In turn, the Agency will rely on the Institute for its biggest public governance projects. Both organisations will also share a Manager. A launch budget of €1m has been provided by members of the founding group. This is likely to change depending on the projects. The private sector will also be approached on a case-by-case basis.