The Global Alliance, launched on 10th December 2007 at the UN Climate Change Conference in Bali, is supported by more than 30 organisations, including the United Nations Environment Programme; UN HABITAT; ICLEI, the local government environmental network bringing together more than 700 cities in 67 countries; cycling and pedestrian organisations; and bicycle manufacturers. For the FIA Foundation, the sustainability policy objectives of the Global Alliance for EcoMobility fit closely with the Foundation’s broader road safety and environmental agenda, particularly the recommendation of the Commission for Global Road Safety and the Make Roads Safe campaign for all road infrastructure projects funded by international donors to include a minimum 10% allocation for road safety.
David Ward, FIA Foundation Director General, said:
“The launch of this global alliance is important because it gives a voice to the voiceless: the majority in our world who are pedestrians and cyclists but whose interests are rarely heeded when transport options are being discussed. Overwhelming reliance on the car, at the expense of alternatives, is not a real choice. We owe it to ourselves, and to future generations, to ensure that we provide genuine sustainable modal choice by encouraging and enabling walking and cycling. We can do this by making eco mobility safe, enjoyable and aspirational; by making provision for eco mobility the first objective of our transport system design; by driving eco mobility options higher up the political agenda. Ensuring safe and sustainable eco mobility is vital for tackling climate change, poor air quality, and the growing toll of road deaths and injuries. Our vision is for a transport system that respects and protects all road users”.
Speaking at the launch, UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Deputy Executive Director and UN Assistant Secretary General Shafqat Kakahel called for a shift towards environmentally friendly transport choices in cities.
“We have the problems of air pollution, water pollution and emissions in our cities. People don’t get to their place of work on time, children have to leave much earlier to get to school. Our cities are becoming unliveable. One of the answers has to be sustainable, accessible and safe mobility.”
Kakahel said that the UNEP also hopes that at least 10% of investment in transport infrastructure is allocated to sustainable transport solutions and to encourage the use of non-motorised transport options.
A founder member of the Alliance is the ICLEI, a global association of over 700 cities dedicated to sustainable development. ICLEI Secretary General Konrad Otto-Zimmermann said that he hoped the Alliance would take the initiative in prompting a policy shift in sustainable transport.
“Climate change must be addressed in every community worldwide,” he said. “We cannot just wait for governments to come to an agreement. As far as urban transport is concerned we have got a solution to offer – ecomobility.”
The Alliance is likely to adopt key messages of the Make Roads Safe campaign and recommendations of the Commission for Global Road Safety, recognising the need to develop a framework for safer road infrastructure in order to encourage non-motorised transport particularly in developing countries.
Anna Tibaijuka, Executive Director of UN Habitat, said: “We promote the use of non-motorized transport, not only as a tool for poverty alleviation but also as a hedge against the over-use of the private automobile. The EcoMobility Alliance will be an invaluable tool for the realization of both, and we are pleased to be a part of it”.
The potential for reducing carbon dioxide emissions in urban transport is significant. In the European Union, for example, a majority of car journeys are short distance drives. Ten per cent of trips by car are shorter than one kilometre, 50 per cent are shorter than five kilometres. If only 30 percent of these less car-dependent journeys below six kilometres were undertaken by non-motorised or public transport, this would lead to a four per cent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions from road traffic. Surabaya, in Indonesia, is increasingly typical of many cities in developing countries. Only 40% of trips in this range are made in a non motorised mode. Eco-mobility is discouraged by dangerous road and traffic conditions for pedestrians and cyclists. Improving road safety is therefore key to the promotion of eco-mobility. According to UN Habitat’s Chief of Energy and Transport, Brian Williams, “Urban transport is the world's fastest growing source of greenhouse gas emissions by a factor of two. Given that there remains a 20 to 25 year-long window of opportunity to slow the trajectory of emissions growth, a dollar spent on mitigation in urban transport immediately is worth two dollars spent elsewhere”.
Watch this short film for more information about the FIA Foundation’s participation in the Global Alliance for EcoMobility.
View film: Low | Med | High (Windows Media Player)
View film: Low | Med | High (QuickTime)
Sheila Watson, the FIA Foundation’s Environment Director, discusses the role of the Foundation in the new Global Alliance in a short Q&A here.
For more information on the Global Alliance for EcoMobility see www.ecomobility.org