Zero Draft of the New Urban Agenda while Encouraging, Leaves Room for Improvement on Transport

Shanghai, May 16th 2016

The Partnership on Sustainable, Low Carbon Transport (SLoCaT) conducted an analysis on the Zero Draft of the New Urban Agenda (NUA)- the expected outcome document of the Habitat III Conference- from the perspective of sustainable transport. 

Overall,  the Zero Draft does a commendable job in highlighting the critical role of transport in furthering sustainable urban development. SLoCaT is encouraged to see language in the NUA urging a “transformation in [mobility] policy”, as well as a standalone ‘Mobility’ section.  It feels that the zero draft NUA also strikes a reasonable balance between specific recommendations on mobility and providing enabling recommendations on national-urban relations; urban planning; financing; policy frameworks, and capacity building that will be key to implementing the transport related recommendations on a city level.  SLoCaT is pleased at the prominent mention of public transport, walking and cycling, which is a crucial element integrated land use and transport planning.  Finally, SLoCaT appreciates that the Zero Draft emphasizes access to economic opportunities and social services, rather than simply access to sustainable transport systems, a key distinction between the New Urban Agenda and the SDGs.

At the same time, the Zero Draft still leaves room for improvement in several areas. While the text focuses much-needed attention on sustainable passenger transport, freight transport and logistics is relatively neglected.  In addition, there is not enough attention to the impacts of and solutions to road accidents, and the problem of poor air quality and the health benefits of active mobility is not sufficiently reflected relative to the scope of this global urban issue. Finally, the role of sustainable transport in greenhouse gas mitigation should be further emphasized, this to do justice to the ambitious Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

Thus, while SLoCaT is encouraged by the significant attention to sustainable transport in the Zero Draft, it feels the current document could better emphasize the urgency to deliver the policy and investments required to put global cities on the path to sustainable mobility.  The SLoCaT Comments on the Zero Draft Habitat III Document which presents the six specific areas which require additional attention were shared with tha Habitat Secretariat and Policy Units. In addition, a compilation of suggestions SLoCaT members for specific changes to language within the Zero Draft text, are provided in Annex I.

The analysis was carried out with contributions from the following SLoCaT members: Asian Development Bank, Department for International Development-UK, Despacio, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), European Cyclists’ Federation, Health Bridge, Institute for Transportation Development and Policy, Partnership on Sustainable, Low Carbon Transport, Smarter than Car, Uganda Road Sector Support Initiative,  United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, Walk21, and WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities-EMBARQ.