President Uhuru Kenyatta and United Nations (UN), Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon officially launched the first Africa Sustainable Transport Forum (ASTF) today at the UN compound, Gigiri, Nairobi. The main objective of the forum is to discuss concrete actions to integrate sustainable transport into the region’s development and planning processes.The meeting hosted by the Government of Kenya and organized by UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the World Bank and UN-Habitat will see over 42 African countries, represented by ministers of transport, environment and other senior officials discussing solutions in the creation of sustainable transport.
Speaking at the launch, President Kenyatta, said, ‘This conference comes at a time when Africa is at a critical stage in implementing its development agenda 2063 which identifies infrastructure transport and interconnectedness as key drivers and enablers to our social and economic development.’
‘I congratulate African Governments for taking the initiative to formulate a sustainable transport strategy. Your commitment to develop and maintain reliable, modern, sustainable and affordable infrastructure in both rural and urban areas is in line with the emerging African Agenda 2063 and the associated Common African Position on the post-2015 development agenda,’ says UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.
Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director said, ‘With spending on transport infrastructure growing at an unprecedented rate across Africa, policymakers have a window of opportunity to mitigate climate change threats and ensure the health and well-being of millions of Africans by introducing clean and efficient transportation’.
ASTF will offer grounds for Africa’s decision-makers to share best practices, coordinate sustainable transport efforts and provide focus to development planning to transition its transport sector into one that is more resource-efficient, environmentally sound and cost-effective for its ambitious and increasingly mobile population.
The World Bank reports that the transport sector produces about 23 per cent of the global CO2 emissions from fuel combustion. With rapid urbanization in developing countries, energy consumption and CO2 emissions by urban transport are increasing rapidly everywhere in the world, including Africa.
Decisions laid out today by ministers will also seek to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transport in Africa by adopting a comprehensive approach that aims to promote the use of low-emission non-motorized transport, encourage the development of quality public transport and increase investment in clean technologies.