Africa Clean Mobility Week: Inclusive transport for all

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Representatives from governments, the private sector, civil society and beyond joined together to address the continent’s mobility revolution for Africa Clean Mobility Week at UN Environment in Nairobi, Kenya in March.

The unprecedented speed of motorization, spurred on by high rates of urbanization and economic growth have had significant impacts on health, environment and economic growth in Africa. The conference brought together mobility decision makers and provided a platform for participants to discuss cleaner mobility and how best address the needs of all road users.

Africa has the highest road fatality rate, said Erik Solheim, the Executive Director of UN Environment, and he discussed the importance of investing in pedestrians and cyclists during the opening session.

A special session called ‘Future of Walking and Cycling’ examined ways to create inclusive and sustainable transport solutions. The event was chaired by Prof. Winnie Mitullah, Director of the Institute for Development Studies at the University of Nairobi. Chris Kost, Africa Director of the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy, discussed the need for a people-focused planning approach to sustainable transport solutions. Carly Koinange, Global Program Lead for the UN Environment Share the Road Program, explored bike shares in Africa as an opportunity to rebalance inequity on the roads, and issue which was also highlighted by a showcase to introduced the concept and potential benefits for such schemes in Africa.

Sean Cooke from the University of Cape Town addressed the importance of inclusive transport solutions for the most vulnerable road users – children. Delegates were asked if their cities would pass the ‘popsicle test’; whether a child can safely walk to a store, buy a popsicle and return home before it melts. The question is posed in the recent ARUP report ‘Cities alive; designing for urban childhoods’ and offers policy makers an insight into the challenges children specifically face in their urban environment. By 2050, 39% of all children under 15 years old will be African (UN Population Division, 2017) and a staggering total of 5,223,295 are estimated to have died on Africa’s roads. The scale of the problem is huge, but presents immense opportunities if cities act to integrate child friendly design into their urban fabric.

Carly Koinange, Global Program Lead for the UN Environment Share the Road Program said: “It is critical that governments put children at the heart of their city plans - a city that is safe for children is safe for everyone. That is why we are so proud to be part of the Child Health Initiative spearheaded by the FIA Foundation and why we are developing an Africa Toolkit for Child Health and Mobility being launched in June 2018.”

Click here to find out more about Africa Clean Mobility Week