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Public transport...

…the solution for sustainable low carbon cities

Beginning in 1995 with COP1, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) organises the formal meeting of all relevant parties for the annual COPthe Conference of the Parties.

UITP has attended and participated since the 2000s, with our activity increasing in the past ten years with the growth of our internal sustainable development and advocacy activities.

Back on track for 2030

COP28 will be a milestone moment as the world takes stock of its progress on the Paris Agreement. We already know that we are way off track from halving emissions by 2030 and limiting global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees.

COP28 offers the opportunity to chart a better course for the future. We need to focus on identifying solutions that can lay the foundation for countries to update and enhance their national climate action plans. These ‘Nationally Determined Contributions’ (NDCs) will be updated in 2025.

At the same time, it will be just as important to find ways to increase the implementation of measures that can close the gaps to 2030.

UITP Plan for COP28

Public transport is the best solution to decarbonise cities, fast-tracking the energy transition and slashing emissions before 2030. It is the most cost-efficient way to decarbonise people’s daily mobility. The investments pay for themselves.

Doubling public transport usage by 2030 creates tens of millions of jobs in cities around the world, cuts urban transport emissions by more than half, and reduces air pollution from transport by up to 45%. To put urban transport back on track we need bold action. Our recommendations for action can help make that happen.

Deep transformations are needed in both the energy and transport sectors towards a 1.5ºC scenario
Low hanging fruits can fast track the energy transition and slash emissions
Putting people, lives and livelihoods at the heart of climate action
Repurposing climate finance towards sustainable low carbon transport is a must
There are significant opportunities for countries to enhance their national climate action plans
Coordinated, multi-stakeholder global initiatives can enable the energy and transport transitions and more ambitious national climate action

Read our hand-picked COP news

17 Nov. 22

Key role for public transport in climate conference initiatives

14 Nov. 22

UITP publishes report ‘public transport for healthy low carbon cities’

09 Nov. 22

UITP advances public transport in annual climate conference

16 Sep. 22

COP27 to bring sustainable transport to the forefront of this year's climate talks

04 Nov. 21

A smooth ride to renewable energy: UITP collaborates with REN21 as COP26 begins

Advancing public transport at COP

Since the early 2000s, UITP has been present at COP to advance public transport. For COP27, the 2022 climate gathering in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, UITP pressed for public transport to play a big part in the year’s initiatives. Out of this, we co-led the creation of the LOTUS and SURGe programmes to advance urban sustainability and low carbon transport.

LOTUS, or Low Carbon Transport for Urban Sustainability, is designed to take on 5 systemic challenges in urban mobility, namely in the Global South:

  1. The financing gap
  2. Weak policy making and implementation capability
  3. Lack of policy coherence and targets
  4. Difficulty integrating and regulating informal transport
  5. Siloed thinking around modes

To overcome these challenges, LOTUS will scale investment in e-vehicles, empower and invest in informal transport to decarbonise, and build capacity in low- and middle-income countries. In particular, UITP will co-lead the last track focused on developing integrated, multimodal policy frameworks. 

SURGe, Sustainable Urban Resilience for the next Generation in full, will stimulate 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. UITP will co-lead efforts to accelerate and support the uptake of public transport and active mobility in cities.

Reflections on COP27 

In looking back at COP27, UITP Secretary General Mohamed Mezghani asked himself: “Is the role of public transport and active mobility taken seriously? Definitely!”

More than anything, the main objectives of COP27 were to commit to phase out fossil fuels, as well as to recognise the damage climate change is causing in emerging economies and agree on a way to compensate them. Given that the COP was held in Africa, these targets felt very relevant. The continent emits only 3 to 4% of global CO2 emissions. Yet its people suffer the consequences of the climate crisis most.

With a growing number of investment projects, African multi- and bilateral funding institutions are interested to get involved in transport projects. This is excellent news! To capitalise on this, African cities will need empowered transport authorities and capacity building.

COP27 was a huge step… …COP28 will be a bigger leap

COP is a huge event with tens of thousands of attendees. To get the most out of it, you need to be prepared. “I am lucky to be surrounded by colleagues who are proactive and skilled. This is not only good for UITP but for members and stakeholders at large.”

“In the end, I am proud of the work we do to advance public transport. Every day, we do our bit to build healthier, happier, and stronger cities. COP27 was a huge step forward, and at COP28, we will take an even bigger leap.”
Mohamed Mezghani
UITP Secretary General

Mohamed Mezghani: Acting on behalf of Mohamed Mezghani SARL


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