Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt (Urban Transport News): Public Transport and sustainable urban mobility are central in the initiatives launched by the Egyptian presidency during the COP27 Solutions Day on 17 November. The International Association of Public Transport (UITP) co-leads streams in both the LOTUS and the SURGe initiatives, which aim to advance urban sustainability and low carbon transport.
At COP26, public transport was largely ignored in the transport initiatives that were launched. UITP has been pressing hard for public transport and active mobility to play a central role in the initiatives at COP27.
The Low Carbon Transport for Urban Sustainability (LOTUS) initiative aims to tackle 5 systemic challenges in the urban mobility landscape, specifically in the Global South. They are the financing gap, weak policymaking and implementation capability, lack of policy coherence and targets, difficulty integrating and regulating informal transport and siloed thinking around modes.
Divided into three streams, the initiative will take concrete actions to scale up investment in e-vehicles, empower and invest in informal transport to decarbonise, and build capacity in low- and middle-income countries. UITP will co-lead that last track where capacity building specifically focusses on developing integrated, multimodal policy frameworks.
"Developing nations are growing rapidly. Our initiatives need to acknowledge the challenges of the Global South. The LOTUS initiative will enhance green, fair and resilient means of transportation," said Kamel al-Wazir, Egyptian Minister for Transport.
Through five integrated tracks, the Sustainable Urban Resilience for the Next Generation (SURGe) initiative stimulates effective multi-level governance to transform cities to be healthy, sustainable, just, inclusive, low-emission and resilient. As the most climate and cost effective way to decarbonise urban mobility, public transport and active travel play a key role.
The urban mobility track of the SURGe initiative is co-led by UITP. It will accelerate and support the uptake of public transport and active mobility in cities. It also aims to reduce car use, and achieve compact urban forms that enable public transport and active travel to thrive and trade to flourish.
"Surprisingly few countries have made public transport a clear and central part of their climate commitments. They are not ambitious enough, not comprehensive enough and not targeted enough. We need targets to decarbonise and increase the share of public transport. The LOTUS initiative can help to make this change happen by bringing together the leading players in this area – such as UITP – as it will help build our capabilities and ability to deliver better public transport and hence achieve the climate objectives," commented Mohamed Mezghani, UITP Secretary General.
The COP27 Presidency launched both initiatives on Solutions Day, 17 November 2022. Over the next year, the initiatives will use important moments in the transport community, like events and conferences, to accelerate work and develop the proposed interventions under each thematic area further. It will also use those moments to expand the coalition of supporting organisations to ultimately design and execute the programme of activities.
The initiatives are launched by the Egyptian COP presidency. Egypt will continue to hold the COP presidency for the coming 12 months until COP28 but the initiatives are expected to carry on after that and deliver the change needed to deliver more ambitious climate action with public transport at the fore.