CODATU’s participation to AUF Conference, 21 and 22 October 2019
CODATU participated to the annual Conference organised by the Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie (AUF) which took place in Dakar in October 2019 on the following topic : « The role of Universities and Research institutions to promote sustainable cities and the evolution of urban mobilities ». Several members of CODATU attended the Conference and contributed to the elaboration of the content. As requested by AUF, Christian Philip (General Secretary of Codatu) and Solène Baffi (project manager) participated to the construction of the programme as members of the Scientific Committee, in partnership with other institutions such as Association pour la Promotion de l’Enseignement et de la Recherche en Aménagement et Urbanisme (APERAU). CODATU was also part of the animation of the session; Dominique Breuil (Board member of CODATU) discussed about “Research, Innovation and sustainable city” in a roundtable, and Christian Philip also moderated a session of the Conference dedicated to young scholars’ perspectives. Other members of CODATU’s network attended the symposium, especially Professor Tchini from Ecole Africaine des Métiers de l’Aménagement et de l’Urbanisme (Lomé) and Professor Hanzaz from Institut National d’Aménagement et d’Urbanisme (Rabat), who both coordinate the Master programmes co-organised by CODATU.
An original symposium
The annual Conferences organised by AUF differs from the traditional academic symposiums. Participants come from the institutions part of AUF’s network, and therefore represent a broad range of countries. Besides, even though the symposium is open to the public, it is mostly academics and universities leaders who attend the event, as well as public servant and elected representatives.
During the two-day symposium, general discussions dealt with the state of knowledge regarding sustainable cities and mobilities through plenary sessions as well as the presentations of local initiatives in the field of academia. The communications also regarded the integration of these issues in the building of the universities and research centres “for tomorrow”. To do so, the discussions focused on the integration of sustainable mobilities and cities issues in the framing of new curriculum, in the research ambitions, in the management of the institutions themselves and their integration in urban territories. In this regard, it is important to stress the critical effort the participants showed, as well as the organising institution.
Mobility, sustainable city and francophonie
During this event, the richness of the discussion was highly correlated to the diversity of the speakers, their commitments and the territories that were represented. Several kinds of communication enabled to engage the discussion at different levels. Plenary sessions allowed to detail the challenges of sustainability and mobility for academic institutions, and more generally urban societies. Roundtables gathered mayors, leaders of universities and research centres, academics and decision-makers and offered the space to see transversal issues emerging, to present original initiatives and share feedbacks. The discussion gave the opportunity to identify the existing synergies between civil society, academia and local authorities, which still needs to be drastically stimulated and reinforced. More generally, the two days enabled to draw a panorama of heterogeneous situations, the examples used regarding very different urban realities and institutions, from Canada to Phnom Penh, through Marocco and Bulgaria for instance.
And… after the symposium?
The Conference concluded on the writing of a roadmap which engage all the participants. The goal of the Statement is on the one hand to report on the debates that took place in Dakar and the shared vision that emerged, and to propose actions to implement through the roadmap on the other hand.
The quality and the density of the discussions demonstrate clearly the urgency of the issues raised, as well as the relevance of questioning the role of the academic institutions to promote sustainable cities and mobilities at the scale of the Francophonie. The challenge now regards the capacity to follow the discussions, and to actually implement the main conclusions that were reached. CODATU Conference, which will take place in Dakar between 9 to 11 November 2020, will be a great opportunity to assess the progress a year later. In order to do so, CODATU committed to create a network of Higher Education and Research Institutions on sustainable cities, which will be launched during CODATU Conference next November.
Here is the roadmap