“The Club Territoires Maritimes, an ideal forum for exchanges between city port stakeholders across the country and beyond”
Interview: Juliette Duszynski, Deputy Director of the AURH, Co-Director of the Club Territoires Maritimes, France
The AURH is member of AIVP since 1992.
AIVP – Juliette, you are currently Co-Director of the Club Territoires Maritimes, an organisation set up by urban development agencies in France’s maritime territories. Can you tell us briefly about how the club was created and how it works?
Juliette Duszynski – It was created in 2009, at the initiative of the AGAM (Urban Development Agency for the Marseille Conurbation) and the AURH (Urban Development Agency for the Le Havre and Seine Estuary Region), by two agencies looking to create a club to discuss issues specific to port cities (sea and river ports), coastal areas and port hinterlands which, by their very nature, can also affect the whole of France. The FNAU (National Federation of Urban Development Agencies) saw the strategic implications of such a unified approach and lent its support to the initiative. The club meets four times a year and brings together port authorities, academics and research institutes and urban development agencies concerned by port, maritime and/or coastal issues.
AIVP – Are there any topics which come up regularly in the Club Maritime’s debates, and what is your forward-looking approach?
Juliette Duszynski – We deal with issues ranging from application of coastal law in Territorial Cohesion Plans (“Schémas de Cohérence Territoriale”), to the development of hinterland areas and European corridors, observation of the economic impacts of ports, the organisation of the boating sector, port land management, and so on. In 2015, for example, the club looked at: – How port land reserves can be capitalised on and optimised in different port contexts, – Governance issues connected to the development and long-term sustainability of industrial ecology and circular economy policies in port territories. As regards the forward-looking aspect of our work, in 2015 we organised two sessions on “Forward planning and port territories”, which were an opportunity to talk about the boating and yachting sector, the fishing industry, the cruise industry, the sailing industry, innovation through projects in ports and logistics, the concept behind the circular economy and port development strategies,…. Finally, wherever possible we try to call on experts to explore the issues facing city ports or port territories in the future.
AIVP – France’s maritime territories are diverse, with different ports facing different issues. How are you able to answer the expectations and questions of the participants?
Juliette Duszynski – The club’s philosophy is that each urban development agency is able to come with “its own port”, irrespective of its status of area of activity. So our round table includes the large seaports or “Grands Ports Maritimes”, autonomous ports, regional ports and chambers of commerce. In the same way, the club is now co-directed by the AURH in conjunction with AUDELOR, the Urban & Economic Development Agency for the Lorient Region). In their respective territories, the ports may be different but can come together on common issues. As directors, we are always attentive to the needs of all participants, and try to balance subjects without focusing unduly on one type of port over another. We also aim for geographical diversity (from the Côte d’Azur to Dunkirk, via Strasbourg and Toulon).
AIVP – What do you see as the real advantages of such an organisation, and how do you intend to move city-port dialogue forward, in practice?
Juliette Duszynski – I should point out that the club is an informal organisation. Professionals from urban development agencies are able to discuss issues at any time through the FNAU’s various clubs (commercial urban development, economy, geomatics, habitats, planning, mobility, international, etc.), which foster a common professional culture shared by all agencies and feed into the network’s output. The FNAU’s club have the same shared values: free access, sharing, openness, a commitment to pooling resources, freedom of initiative. What is particular about the maritime territories club, as I often say quite deliberately and provocatively, is that it is not a “corporatist club”. At this point I’d like to thank the FNAU for allowing me to open the club permanently to external partners, providing them with a unique forum for discussion and analysis:
- Port authorities (France’s main seaports, the Grands Ports Maritimes, which are regular attendees at meetings and Chambers of Commerce & Industry/port authorities);
- Academics and research institutes renowned for their work on port cities (IFSTTAR, CNRS, UCLO);
- Institutions (CEREMA, Union des Ports de France, DGITM, CCI France, etc.);
- The Worldwide Network of Port Cities (AIVP).
AIVP – Ultimately, the Club is a network of stakeholders in the same way as AIVP, but at national level? What are the Club Territoires Maritimes’s future projects?
Juliette Duszynski – You could see it that way, but once again this club does not have a structural framework and relies solely on the goodwill of the directors and participants, and a network that has been built up over the years. We have three of our four annual meetings still to take place in 2016. The working schedule was put together on the basis of the requirements expressed by the agencies and ports, requirements that we heard and noted at previous sessions. So here is our forthcoming programme of activities:
- Ports and consultation, 1 July 2016. In addition to the acceptability and governance issues, public consultation initiatives are numerous (even ubiquitous). Are the different approaches compatible?
- We have been approached by CEREMA to help them put together a half-day at their forthcoming symposium on the future of ports, “Assises du Port du Futur” (20 / 21 September 2016).
- At the end of the year (2 December 2016), we will be organising a club day focusing on the maritime economy and the economic impacts of ports, sharing methods and results.
The club’s meeting in Dunkirk in June 2015 proved that decentralised sessions with “learning visits” do indeed work. As a result, I am considering repeating the experience…. Why not in 2017 in Le Havre for the port’s 500th anniversary?