Territorial approaches for sustainable development

The Agenda 2030 with 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and 169 targets was launched in 2015. However, more than halfway to 2030, most of the goals and targets are far from being achieved. In order to achieve the SDGs, the interlinkages between the SDGs should be acknowledged. They require a multi-level, multi-stakeholder, multi-sector, and whole-of-government approach to governance. Against this background territorial approaches are highly relevant. They provide systemic, context-specific, spatially anchored, and inclusive efforts for sustainable development. Territorial approaches bring together multiple SDGs and provide a concrete methodological and operational pathway to overcome isolated approaches. COVID-19 highlighted how vulnerable groups and those living in remote regions can be marginalised in development, relief and mitigation actions. The rights-based and participatory nature of territorial approaches can support the development of more inclusive and equitable long-term solutions. Following a conference on “Living Territories”, hosted by CIRAD in 2018, a first White Paper was produced by the AFD, AUDA- NEPAD, BMZ, CIRAD, European Commission, FAO, GIZ, OECD, and UNCDF. It was titled “Fostering Territorial Perspective for Development, TP4D”. The paper identified common principles of territorial approaches and described their contributions to policy action, people-centred development, and coherent governance. The four years between 2018 and 2022 saw parallel and overlapping developments that evaluated, deepened, and expanded the application of territorial approaches to governance in order to address power asymmetries, reduce inequalities between urban and rural areas, promote sustainable food systems, protect ecosystems and biodiversity, adapt to climate change and promote sustainable natural resources management and livelihoods. All this is geared especially towards women, youth, indigenous peoples, as well as small and medium sized enterprises, amongst others. Key Features of Territorial Approaches The TP4D White Paper of 2018 identified core principles for territorial approaches, which have since been refined and adapted. These include that they should be place-based, people-centred, rights-based, cross-sectoral, multi- actor, and multi-level. Shared principles can lead to a higher degree of policy coherence and integrated territorial governance. Both enable actions that are inclusive i.e., reach different levels, actors, and spaces to foster more sustainable development. Territorial approaches adapted to specific places provide a solid framework for analysis and operations. They involve multiple sectors and 2 Among other processes, publications, and events it is worth mentioning the UN-Habitat Urban-Rural Linkages Guiding Principles (2019), FAO/ BMZ/GIZ Territorial and Landscape Days (2020), OECD report (2020) on territorial approaches as pathways to localise the SDGs. Relevant are also the following: GIZ Stocktaking on Territorial Approaches (2021), the “ad hoc” working group on Territorial Governance and the International Coalition to Promote Territorial Food Systems Governance launched by the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries in the context of the UN Food Systems Summit (2021). Moreover, the G20 meeting hosted by Italy in 2021 and the UN desertification, biodiversity, and climate COPs in 2022 stressed the importance of systemic and integrated approaches. This prompted an update to the TP4D White Paper of 2018, incorporating lessons learned. The new White Paper of 2023 is aimed at policymakers, donors, and practitioners by offering recommendations for policy formulation, project design, and governance.

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