In 2007, for the first time in History, half of the world’s population, or 2 billion inhabitants, was recorded as urban-dwelling. In 2030, city-dwellers will number nearly 5 billion and account for 60% of the population. 95% of the forecasted growth will come from Southern countries, where cities will then become home to 80% of the world’s citizens. The urban boom, under the combined of the rural exodus and demographics, could well intensify following climate change. It will have a considerable impact on the planet’s social, economic and environmental equilibrium and is one of the major challenges which humanity will have to face in the 21st century.
The sustainable development of cities, in which both the crises and the hopes of Southern countries are concentrated, is an issue of special importance to French Cooperation. To address it, the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs launched, in July 2007, an interministerial thinking process on urban governance, which will continue in 2008 in order to more clearly set out the objectives of French Cooperation in this field.