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French Alliance for Cities and Territorial Development

Rise to the challenges of urbanization through democratic governance

The explosion of urban growth over the coming decades is one of the major challenges that humanity will have to face. Between now and 2030, 95% of this rapid growth will take place in developing countries. Southern cities will be home to four billion inhabitants - almost 80% of the world’s city-dwellers. Currently, one billion men and women live in unofficial districts or slums. This figure will have doubled by 2030.

While cities crystallize the challenges of development, they also offer solutions. They provide a framework that - through an integrated territorial approach - is conducive to resolving global issues that have become too complex to be handled at any single level by any single player.

France has therefore defined democratic urban governance as a strategic priority to support a sustainable and inclusive development of cities, where access to basic services and jobs helps combat poverty and reduce inequalities.

Democratic urban governance consists in adopting methods of decision-making and public action using a partnership-based approach involving local governments, which have an important role to play as a catalyst for local development.

The balanced participation of all of a region’s players - its inhabitants first and foremost, but also the State, local authorities, the private sector and civil society - will enable policies that can effectively meet the needs of the majority to be defined and applied.

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Online: 19.04.10


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All rights reserved - French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development - 2014