Safe and sustainable mobility central to Prague Habitat III sessions
The FIA Foundation joined Governments from around Europe, international organizations, philanthropies and civil society in a key ‘Habitat III’ negotiating session to define a new urban development agenda.
Sustainable mobility was top of the agenda at the European Habitat Conference which took place from 16-18 March and was hosted by the Government of the Czech Republic. The outcome from the Conference is the ‘Prague Declaration’ which will feed into Habitat III, the process where the international community will agree a new agenda for urban development for the next 20 years in Ecuador this October.
Opening the conference, Dr. Joan Clos, Executive Director of UN-Habitat said: “Our cities are for people but we have a huge challenge to prepare for the doubling of the global urban population in just a couple of generations. We must view urbanisation as a tool for development and this needs to be our approach to urban sustainability, in all areas including housing, planning and issues such as sustainable mobility.”
Keynote speaker Jan Gehl architect and urban designer called for sustainable mobility to be a priority: “We are facing a major health crisis of inactivity. And we are failing to design our cities around the needs of people. Sustainable mobility is a major part of addressing this: make your cities so that people walk and bicycle every day so that they have a healthier life.”
The FIA Foundation worked with partners including the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), the UN Special Envoy for Road Safety Jean Todt and UNICEF to submit input into the Prague Declaration. The FIA Foundation also contributed to several key sessions at the European Habitat Conference, working with partners on all issues of the ‘Safe, Clean, Fair and Green’ sustainable mobility agenda.
A collaboration and strategic planning session among SLoCAT (The Partnership on Sustainable, Low Carbon Transport) partners on the Habitat III ‘New Urban Agenda’ was also held as a side meeting.
FIA Foundation Director of Advocacy Avi Silverman participated in a range of sessions covering child health and mobility and sustainable urban transport. Avi Silverman made input covering the FIA Foundation’s partnership with UNICEF and the importance of ensuring a safe and healthy journey to school at a session hosted by the UN Major Group for Children and Youth.
A focus on the SDG road safety agenda was also presented at a session on sustainable mobility hosted by the Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy. The Wuppertal Institute has been collaborating with FIA Foundation partners on a range of sustainable mobility and environmental issues, including the Share the Road programme with the UNEP and the WRI on safe and sustainable urban transport.
Avi Silverman said: “The Safe Clean Fair and Green agenda for sustainable mobility was an important thread running through discussions here on the Habitat III New Urban Agenda. The Governments of Europe and the international community meeting in Prague focused on some major global policy priorities: to reconfigure urbanisation not as a problem for development, but as a tool for development; and to ensure that in the forthcoming decades, cities are designed around the needs of people. This is an agenda which feeds into and advances the new Sustainable Development Goals. As part of this, there is a growing consensus on the importance of safe and sustainable mobility in the urban context and we look forward to further elaborating this theme as the Habitat III process picks up momentum in the coming months.”