. . DEMOCRATIC PARTICIPATION . .
In 2021, Montpellier hosted an innovative event promoting a desire to reinvent the links between the African continent and the French territory: the New Africa-France Summit. A Summit highlighting the links between civil societies, in which the participants were not heads of state or ministers, but artists, entrepreneurs, athletes, or even researchers and African academics and French.
Today, we must urgently innovate and together forge the conditions for a sustainable future for all. As you know, our metropolis is still in the running to become European Capital of Culture in 2028, as such, I wanted this first edition of the Euro-Africa Montpellier Biennale to be the highlight of our candidacy. For a week, we will bring together a wide range of actors from our two continents to discuss together the subjects that connect us. Whether by addressing the theme of water, a crucial subject for our territories and so central to our MedVallée strategy, or the importance of changing views on the African continent, Montpellier creates, through this Biennale, a framework conducive to innovation and the collective implementation of concrete solutions.
Michaël Delafosse Mayor of Montpellier
President of Montpellier Méditerranée Métropole
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The Euro-Africa Biennale will have two parts:
A general public cultural component
The program includes events of national and international influence to promote existing and future cooperation between Montpellier and the African continent (general public festival, screening evenings, concerts, dances in the halls and emblematic places of the city as well as ‘in the open air”, artist residencies in places of art, culture and knowledge in the city) We hope to transform the public’s outlook on the reality of current African cultures, particularly in the field of Cultural and Creative Industries (ICC).
An exposition of African fabric will be displayed at the Halle Tropisme and in the city’s spaces, as an extension of the Africa Past Forward Forum which will be held at the Gaîté Lyrique in Paris on October 6 and 7, 2023.
A development and innovation component
The “Euro-Africa Montpellier Water Days” will take the form of a multi-stakeholder congress around issues linked to water resource management and cooperation between territories, scientists and civil society.
Another highlight will be the “Young African Entrepreneurs Campus” which will open its doors for its second edition in Montpellier from October 1 to 11. This offers a support program to innovative African entrepreneurs operating in the fields of technology and innovation, global health, cultural and creative industries and sport in Africa.
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And three axes:
Axis 1: The water that connects us,
Axis 2: Future plans for other modes of cooperation,
Axis 3: Transforming the views of European citizens on the reality of the African continent.
Water is a major issue within the framework of the MedVallée strategy, the water which connects us is at the heart of the issues of health, environmental preservation and agriculture which constitutes the basis of the strategy and image of the triptych “Heal, Protect, Nourish”. Responding to the challenges of these days, the scarcity of precipitation, over-demanding resources and lack of infrastructure, we want to createa dialogue between state and private stakeholders, scientific or from the field, to solve the geopolitical and economic problems posed by the lack of water in a context of global warming, increasing urban demography and supply inequalities.
October 9 to 10: 2 days of discussions to explore reality and find solutions between stakeholders involved in the following themes:
° Climate change and hydrological risk
° Urbanization of Mediterranean and African megacities
° Access to water
° Sanitation and health
° Urban and peri-urban agriculture
° Water and gender
° A look back at the United Nations Water Conference (March 2023)
To address these themes, the planned round tables and workshops will bring together:
° Scientists: 40 Mediterranean, African and European scientists.
° Mediterranean, European and African private sector companies: 30 company representatives.
° Institutionals and decision-makers: 40 representatives of local, regional, national, Mediterranean, African or European governance
° International organizations: 40 representatives from various international organizations and associations
° UNESCO Representatives and Chairs: 20 people are invited to participate in the round tables.
(Thank you to Emanuelle Defossez, the reporter for this article.)