SLoCaT Partnership presents draft comments on Zero Draft of Addis Ababa Accord for the Third International Conference on Financing for Development

Shanghai-March 24, 2015 

The Partnership on Sustainable Low Carbon Transport is posting the following interim assessment of the zero draft of the Addis Ababa Accord, with a more formal response to follow after further consultation with SLoCaT Partnership members.

The SLoCaT Partnership is pleased to note that transport is directly referenced four times in the zero draft (paragraphs 13, 79, 81, 108), specifically in passages related to ensuing sufficient investment in sustainable and resilient infrastructure, addressing gaps in trade and transport related regional infrastructure, and scaling up support to PPPs targeting sustainable urban development.  It appears that the approach taken in the zero draft is generally in line with the approach defined in the SLoCaT Results Framework on Sustainable Transport to improving access and reducing negative externalities. SLoCaT recommends incorporating additional references in the document to freight transport (which has broader implications for food security), and rural transport (which has many implications described in the Rural Transport and Sustainable Development Factsheet).

SLoCaT is further encouraged to note that transport is indirectly referenced in passages to fossil fuel subsidies, carbon pricing, and ensuring enabling environments necessary for infrastructure investment (e.g. paragraphs 33, 34, 37)However, SLoCaT also notes that transport receives fewer mentions in the document relative to other sectors (e.g. food/agriculture: 42 mentions, energy: 33 mentions, health: 14 mentions), despite the cross-cutting potential of transport to help achieve broader development goals within each of these sectors. In this context, SLoCaT recommends more direct references to sustainable low carbon transport in forthcoming drafts to underscore this crucial point.

SLoCaT supports the approach to assisting countries in developing pipelines of bankable projects (e.g. through establishing and funding project preparation facilities in developing countries and regions). SLoCaT maintains that it is essential to go beyond project-based approaches and to develop more programmatic approaches in order to create transformational change within the transport sector, and thus to optimize transport’s cross-cutting role in facilitating other sustainable development goals.

Within the above context, we also feel that the low carbon element must be given more emphasis in the zero draft’s discussion of transport-related infrastructure investments, to avoid the danger of creating lock-in effects through traditional high carbon approaches to transport infrastructure.  In addition, while additional investments in transport infrastructure are crucial, they will be inadequate in meeting development goals without associated improvements in transport services that provide safe, reliable, and frequent access to jobs, schools, health care facilities, and other essential services. 

Finally, SLoCaT notes that the zero draft does not make the critical point that sustainable, low carbon transport investments are more cost-effective than traditional approaches, when considering environmental and social co-benefits (e.g. air quality, GHG reductions, time savings, fuel savings, road safety).It is therefore suggested that forthcoming drafts incorporate this central idea to achieve the overall goals of the draft. 

In sum, SLoCaT is encouraged by initial references to sustainable transport in the zero draft, and we look forward to opportunities for engagement to help place additional emphasis on this crucial cross-cutting strategy before the Addis Ababa conference.