Organised as part of the French EU Council Presidency 2022 with the French National Agency for Territorial Cohesion (ANCT). 

The Territorial Agenda 2030, endorsed by Ministers responsible for spatial planning, territorial development and cohesion in December 2020, promotes territorial cohesion by providing an action-oriented framework aimed at rebalancing territorial dynamics and ensuring a future for all places and people.

Similarly, acknowledging today’s global challenges as complex and intertwined, the Ljubljana Agreement emphasises the need for integrated responses and specifically invites Trio presidencies to provide exchange platforms for urban and territorial policymakers. With this Policy Lab, the current French Council Presidency honoured the invitation.

The event provided a platform to discuss and formulate the most adequate questions to be addressed by Directors General for urban and territorial matters, for them to seize the potential of strengthened urban-territorial linkages.

Expert Contributions

Reweaving urban-territorial linkages towards resilience

Adrian Hiel, EU Policy & Communications, Energy Cities

The ongoing tension between the production of food and energy reflects the conflicts related to land use competition as both food and energy require large amounts of land. Striking a balance between the two is instrumental in responding to external stresses on land. Reweaving urban-territorial linkages can help achieve long-term targets to achieve climate resilience. Current crises also reaffirm the EU’s commitment to tackle climate change through the REPowerEU which seeks to end dependence on Russian fossil fuels. However, as the energy system’s capacity to react is rather limited, the most realistic short-term trajectory is to achieve energy savings with behavioural changes. 

"Food system framework"

Francesca Galli, Assistant Professor, Department of Agriculture, Food and Environment, University of Pisa

In light of the ongoing crises, adopting the ‘’food system framework’’ would be beneficial to better anticipate external stresses and enhance crisis preparedness. This framework looks into food availability, access, utilisation, and stability over time. Providing a better understanding of the impacts of shocks on the food system is conducive to developing more sustainable policies. However, the food system framework approach requires extensive data collection (i.e. mapping) which is still lacking nowadays.  

Food systems as powerful rural-urban linkages

Aniek Hebinck, Postdoctoral researcher, DRIFT, Erasmus University Rotterdam

The current food system is arguably unsustainable as issues related to equity and social justice remain insufficiently addressed in policies. This calls for societal changes at all levels of government. Food is also seen as a powerful vehicle for change that would benefit from enhanced rural-urban linkages and innovative governmental experiments transcending administrative boundaries.  

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