Third French National Conference of Territories: Publication of a report on territorial cohesion

September 2018

Third French National Conference of Territories: Publication of a report on territorial cohesion

On the occasion of the third Conférence national des territoires (CNT) on 12 July 2018, a “Report on Territorial Cohesion” was presented by Serge Morvan, head of the CGET (General Commission for Territorial Equality) A new tool shared with associations of elected representatives, this report fulfils two objectives: updating an inventory of France and its territories after a decade of crisis, and the elucidation of the factors influencing territorial cohesion. What about cross-border issues?

The report identifies six factors contributing to cohesion among the territories: solidarity, quality of life, cooperation, social capital, empowerment, and the socio-environmental transition.

The 3rd factor, “cooperation between territories”, was presented by Serge Morvan as “the key driver of territorial cohesion”:

“The notion of cohesion between territories invites us to put what holds the territories together, what creates solidarity between them on a functional and political level, at the heart of policy.” Thus the report reads:
“It appears essential to have at our disposal suitable and efficient statistical and methodological tools, that allow us to measure/quantify the flows and exchanges between the territories. These tools would help to give an objective view of the complementarities and interdependencies between territories, at the different levels of governance, and thus establish inter-territorial cooperation initiatives. While systems and tools for observation have been developed at the local level, they do not yet cover all types of flows and exchanges.”

“The question of specific engineering constitutes a [further] challenge. The development of cooperation actions between territories may indeed require the conception and implementation of specific mechanisms and tools, for example in the case of cross-border cooperation. Furthermore, it is important to determine whether a national framework would contribute to facilitating and multiplying both horizontal and vertical cooperation, or conversely whether we need to prioritise flexibility, agility, experimentation and adjustment by the stakeholders themselves in order to obtain tailor-made solutions.”

A tool to help decision-making
The report is the result of a co-construction between the State and associations of elected representatives. It constitutes a basis for reaching the definition of priorities for action, calling for a joint mobilisation of local and regional authorities, the State and, more widely, civil society and businesses. It should also be noted that the report makes use of a “Barometer of territorial cohesion” produced by the Territorial Observatory, proposing a series of indicators.

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