Sustainable transport one year after Rio
Rio+20, the UN conference on sustainable development, was hailed as the first high-level international development conference to pay significant attention to sustainable transportation. Sixteen transport-related voluntary commitments emerged from partners convened by SLoCaT at the conference. One of the first announcements was the commitment from multi-lateral development banks to shift $175 billion towards sustainable transport. The voluntary commitments also include promoting green freight in Europe and Asia, developing principles for bus rapid transit (BRT), and creating a world free of high-risk roads. Some of these commitments have already helped to advance sustainable transport in both developed and developing countries. EMBARQ, the World Resources Institute’s program for sustainable transport and urban planning, is among the organizations which have already made measurable, impactful progress.
One year after Rio+20, EMBARQ has already made impressive strides towards reaching its voluntary commitment to scale up sustainable transport solutions worldwide. EMBARQ is able to report substantial progress on many of its deliverable goals. As part of its Voluntary Commitment, EMBARQ committed to introduce a minimum of ten “game-changing” policies or projects, and to directly impact a minimum of fifty cities by 2016. With these specific goals, EMBARQ is more than half way there, introducing five out of ten game changing policies or projects, and directly impacting thirty-nine out of fifty cities. In addition, EMBARQ was able to influence sixty-two cities, save 850 million hours of travel time, and avoid 2.2 million tons of C02 emissions.
EMBARQ’s efforts for sustainable transport are wide-ranging and diverse: from improving bus operations in India to implementing BikeLab projects across Turkey. In India, Brazil, and Mexico, EMBARQ centers have been working to ensure that national policy reflects the need for sustainable transportation. In Mexico, they helped to ensure that a new law regarding climate change included requirements for sustainable transportation. In Brazil, a new Urban Mobility law requires that cities with populations greater than 500,000 create an urban mobility plan.
Looking forward, EMBARQ is working to influence national funding and planning programs, as well as the portfolios of development banks. During Rio, the assemblage of multilateral development banks pledged to push $175 billion into sustainable transport. This is a welcome achievement, but it will only be truly impactful if it is used as a catalyst to encourage investment from private sector and national governments.
“We need true partnerships to make sustainable transport a reality. EMBARQ, with its partners, is enabling a better quality of life in cities around the world” says Holger Dalkmann, Director, EMBARQ.
Read the press release
Read the full report