Les villes et le développement durable

NEW YORK – La municipalité philippine de Tacloban a désormais rejoint la liste croissante des villes – parmi lesquelles la Nouvelle-Orléans, Bangkok, Moscou, New York, Pékin, Rio de Janeiro ou encore Port-au-Prince, pour n’en citer que quelques-unes – frappées ces dernières années par les catastrophes naturelles. Nombre des plus grandes villes au monde, bâties au bord du littoral ou à proximité de fleuves, sont aujourd’hui confrontées à la menace de la montée du niveau des mers ainsi que de l’intensification des tempêtes. C’est pourquoi il est nécessaire que le nouvel agenda du développement mondial qui se dessine à l’heure actuelle confère aux villes la possibilité de s’inscrire en chefs de file du développement durable au XXIe siècle.

L’importance des villes dans l’économie mondiale actuelle se révèle sans précédent. Jusqu’à la Révolution industrielle, l’histoire humaine fut principalement rurale. Seulement environ 10% des individus vivaient dans les villes. À l’heure actuelle, la proportion de citadins avoisine les 53%, et devrait s’élever jusqu’aux alentours de 67% d’ici 2050.

Le revenu par habitant étant plus élevé en milieu urbain qu’en zone rurale, les différentes villes de la planète représenteraient plus de 80% du revenu global, les 600 plus grandes d’entre elles équivalant à environ la moitié de ce pourcentage. La plupart des emplois créés au cours des prochaines décennies le seront au sein des villes, contribuant à la subsistance de centaines de millions de jeunes, et, comme la Chine et le Brésil l’ont démontré, permettant de réduire considérablement la misère.

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