As CEOs of metropolitan areas, we all face the same challenges, even through the prism of local specificities. Our meetings take us out of the daily life in which we are immersed to gain height, “zoom out”, to identify the common issues on which each of us must work.
What is the purpose of the BEST network?
As CEOs of metropolitan areas, we all face the same challenges, even through the prism of local specificities. Our meetings take us out of the daily life in which we are immersed to gain height, “zoom out”, to identify the common issues on which each of us must work. The experiences of other communities presented during these meetings, supplemented by the work of researchers, help us a lot. It is important, in view of our advisory role to elected representatives, to be able to provide them with these insights, on confirmed or emerging trends in the environment of local authorities and urban communities.
How are the themes of the meetings chosen?
The themes are chosen from one meeting to another, on the proposal of the participants. In this way, the subjects on which they are asking for discussion and clarification necessarily emerge. In recent years, the ecological transition, participatory democracy and more generally the association of citizens in the making of public policies as well as the relations of metropolises with surrounding territories have appeared regularly in our discussions, either directly or as a backdrop. This is easily understood because they are structuring issues, present in a transversal manner in all public policies.
Do you envisage any changes in the organization of the meetings?
We wish to reactivate the European dimension of BEST, undermined by the travel restrictions imposed by the health crisis. This is one of BEST’s riches because, even if the institutional and cultural specificities of our European neighbours tend to limit the transposition to France of the solutions adopted in these countries, the simple fact of asking the questions differently allows us to think differently. We also want to devote more time to managerial issues. Because it is an important part of our profession, but also because what is true of society is also true of the community of territorial agents, which reflects it. They too aspire to more participation, and we must organize it: it is an issue of cohesion and efficiency of our institutions.