Skip to main content

Inter-territorial cooperation: Focus on cooperation between metropolises and surrounding areas

Resources Governance and Partnerships SDG, Transition and Resilience


Over the last ten years or so, cooperation between territories has become a highly topical issue. An increasing number of researchers are taking an interest in the subject, inviting us to consider the economic development capacities of all territories and the need for cooperation between them.

Since 2015, the issue of cooperation between "cities" and "countryside" has been on the political agenda: dialogue between urban and rural territories, development of balanced exchanges, contracts to promote reciprocity are becoming the key elements of a policy to rebalance the territory. The State-Metropolis Pact of July 2016, which sets out commitments made jointly by the State and metropolises, includes a mandatory section, in which each metropolis undertakes to contribute to the "alliance of territories" to strengthen cooperation with surrounding territories.

Since the creation of the Ministry of Territorial Cohesion, this issue has taken on a new dimension. Under the guise of cohesion between territories, the aim is to define a new regional development project, taking into account the interdependencies, flows and exchanges that strongly structure the future of territories and make them part of territorial systems. Inter-territorial cooperation is at the heart of cohesion, because it enables territories to act together, and makes them mutually supportive not only functionally, but also politically.

But inter-territorial cooperation has yet to find its place, in the face of the competition that is still very much present and shapes representations. It requires local players to coordinate their actions, which raises the question of dedicated engineering and, more broadly, the resources to be allocated. It is based on knowledge and recognition of the interdependencies and complementarities between territories.

In 2018, the Commissariat Général à l'égalité des Territoires (CGET), in partnership with France urbaine and the Assemblée des communautés de France (AdCF), launched a series of studies on inter-territorial cooperation. This "En détail - synthèse" thus presents the initial results of the survey of existing cooperation between metropolises and surrounding territories, carried out within this framework.