Marrakech Declaration on Urban-Rural Interrelationship for Sustainable Development

Click picture for bigger formatAs a result of the 2nd FIG Regional Conference “Urban-Rural Interrelationship for Sustainable Environment”, which was held in Marrakech, Morocco, 2–5 December 2003, FIG together with the partners has published the Marrakech Declaration (Urban-Rural Interrelationship for Sustainable Development). The Marrakech Declaration was launched at the 2nd World Urban Forum in Barcelona, September 13-17, 2004 and at the Symposium on Urban-Rural Interrelationship organised by UN-Habitat in Nairobi during the World Habitat Day celebrations, October 1-4, 2004.

The conference in Morocco was organized by the Ordre National des Ingénieurs Géomètres-Topographes (ONIGT) and the International Federation of Surveyors (FIG). The conference was co-sponsored and supported by the Arab Union of Surveyors (AUS) and the Arab Urban Development Institute (AUDI) and several United Nations agencies, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (UN-HABITAT), United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) and United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA).

The aim of the conference was to shed some light on selected issues of urban-rural interrelations and to raise awareness of this complex topic. It also tried to explain the close linkage of land policy and land administration.

Currently the urban-rural interaction agenda is broad and covers a number of concerns. The interaction consists of the exchange of goods and services, people, information, and money that can be provided by adequate infrastructure, such as transportation, communication, energy and basic services. Infrastructure is the backbone of the urban-rural development. However, its provision often involves a trade-off of land and natural resources: roads, trails and power lines have negative impacts especially to rural areas by cutting the landscape. Provision of this crucial infrastructure needs to balance the interests of both rural and urban communities. This will ensure their common future.

Due to the different functionality of land for the human being, different land policies and land administration can be observed between urban and rural areas in many countries. However, while sustainable land development for both areas is a complex mix of political, legal, socio-economic and ecological aspects, the well-being of human habitation in rural and urban space can be achieved only by a common land policy and the adoption of a comprehensive land policy to support sustainable land management.

Many international governmental and non-governmental organizations have accentuated the need for both a common land policy for rural and urban areas and a holistic thematic approach to enable the sustainable development of land and to ensure human well-being.

As with previous publications of the International Federation of Surveyors (FIG) – some published together with partners like the United Nations – this publication is stressing a specific topic of global interest and importance. FIG as a Non Government Organisation (NGO) wants to contribute to the United Nation’s millennium goals of building a more sustainable, just and peaceful world. The Marrakech Declaration reflects the findings and recommendations of the 2nd FIG Regional Conference held in Marrakech, Morocco in December 2003. It is intended to support politicians, senior managers, professional organizations and decision makers in their efforts to enable a balanced coexistence of a sustainable nature and a liveable habitat.

Even though the guidance and lessons learnt are tailored to the situation of urban-rural interrelations in African and the Arabic countries, they can be adapted to the specific requirements of urban-rural spaces all over the world including Europe where there is currently an intensive discussion taking place around this unsolved topic.

The Marrakech Declaration has been published in the FIG publication series as publication number 33. You can download the Marrakech Declaration here as a .pdf-file.

Executive summary

The objectives of the 2nd FIG Regional Conference “Urban-Rural Interrelationship for Sustainable Environment”, held in Marrakech, Morocco, 2–5 December 2003, were divided into a number of themes covering the most significant aspects of the Urban-Rural Interrelationship to enable FIG to make a realistic and pragmatic input into an agenda that is increasingly being recognised at the international level.

The conference recognised that the issues associated with the Urban-Rural Interrelationship manifest themselves differently in different regions around the world and that it is necessary to have guidance in the form of general principles that can be adapted to specific circumstances. The key issues focused upon in this declaration are: The urban-rural linkages; including urban sprawl and urban migration. UN- HABITAT estimates that 60% of the world’s population will be living in urban areas by 2015. The Marrakech Declaration recommends that comprehensive national land policies need to be developed and implemented if the issues are to be addressed in a co-ordinated and timely manner. These policies need to be built upon sound professional experience. It is against the background of these developments and discussions that UN-HABITAT and UNEP call for an end to the urban-rural dichotomy. There is a need to promote urban-rural linkages and in this context the dynamic nature of these issues means that the past is not necessarily a good guide to the future and it is essential to engage in new and innovative solutions if these issues are to be addressed in time.

This document concentrates on three key interrelated and overlapping sub issues of: Institutional and Governance Concepts; Land and Natural Resource Infrastructures; and Capacity Assessment and Development. Each section provides guidance; lessons learnt, and sets out a way forward for each issue. The Marrakech Declaration recognises that these issues can not be solved in isolation and this document is intended to contribute to the holistic vision required to bring about improvements in the urban-rural interrelationship. Countries are encouraged to take appropriate action in accordance with the Marrakech Declaration on Urban-Rural Interrelationships.

Marrakech Declaration on improving Urban-Rural Interrelationship

The international Federation of Surveyors (FIG) and the partners of the Marrakech Declaration recognise the urban-rural divide in different areas of the world and believes that a commitment to address this issue is essential for acceptable human living conditions throughout the world. The urban-rural interrelationship for sustainable developments is a central theme of the world-wide idea of good urban-rural governance.

The declaration recommends the development of a comprehensive national land policy which includes:

  • Institutional and governmental actions required for providing good governance.
  • Land administration infrastructures for control of land tenure, land value and land use.
  • Tools for capacity assessment and development at societal, organisational and individual level.

NGOs such as the FIG have a three-fold role in connection with the theme of urban-rural linkages for sustainable development in cooperation with our global, national and local partners:

  1. These organisations and their member associations and individual members can be enablers, that is, they can act as community developers, organisers or consultants alongside community based organisations (CBOs).
  2. They can be mediators between people and the authorities that control access to resources, goods and services.
  3. They can be advisers to governmental institutions on policy changes to increase local access to resources and to provide greater freedom to use them in locally-determined ways that includes urban-rural linkages.