Metropolis Observatory Lous- Charles Dumais

Metropolises addressing the global agendas

In the congress of Montreal, on the 21st of June, the second volume of the collection of issue papers of Metropolis Observatory was presented under the title “Metropolises addressing the global agendas”. The document was written by the advisor and international relations expert Agustí Fernández de Losada, who meanwhile led the first part of the session. This second volume analyzes the six principal global agendas that will mark the future strategies of local governments, and raises a series of recommendations for the metropolises with the goal of achieving their proper implementation.

Following the presentation of the issue paper, Edgardo Bilsky (UCLG) introduced the challenge and the work of connecting the global agendas with local and metropolitan realities through the “Location of the SDGs”.  

In addition, the session involved the participation of four rapporteurs with the intention of representing the different subjects of the SDG11: social inclusion, sustainability, planning and resilience.

Eduard Saurina (joining the Management of the AMB), highlighted the wide socioeconomic diversity in the different metropolitan areas. For this reason, according to him “the local and metropolitan governments need help to read, interpret and locate the global agendas”. In this sense Teodora Nikolova (architect and urbanist of the IAU-Île de France and coordinator the project sustainable airport areas), pointed out that in the field of urban and territorial planning, the agencies of urbanism are key actors, considering they help make a reality the lecture Saurina claimed. “They play a major role for feeding the public debate, through observatories, urban laboratories, resource centers… building tools that follow and join the long-term development of the territories”.

In his intervention, Patrick Jarry (mayor of Nanterre), supported this idea of diversity affirming the “need to construct a polycentric metropolis that recognizes the identity, history and singularity of its territories and municipalities”. According to him, only if a balanced and diverse metropolitan territory is built, social and territorial inequality will be challenged”.

In regards to the global agendas, the Vice-president of 100 Resilient Cities, Bryna Lipper, restated that “global frameworks are necessary and are good spaces of exchange. But to be useful they need to recognize cities as actors”. The bad planning of many metropolises is the main problem of the metropolises for being resilient. Only if they are active actors in applying the global agendas, have access to resources and hold sufficient competences, will they be able to face the challenges.

In conclusion, the new urban agendas need to recognize the local and metropolitan actors as active actors. In this recognition the governments need to be supplied with the necessary tools of planning and financing for being able to plan correctly. The planning needs to be based in concretizing the global agendas, parting from clear and concrete indicators that allow adaptation to territorial diversity. An implementation, and location, that will need at all times a good institutional coordination for guaranteeing the necessary “multilevel governance”.