Interview with local governments champion Emilia Saiz: part two

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  • Advocacy

Public transport is at a turning point. To better address the rising mobility challenges in urban areas, UITP and United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) have signed a Global Strategic Partnership on 25 May 2018.

This agreement will do more than confirm an already strong collaboration, it will set the foundation for concrete measures to support local governments all across the world in their journey to advance the New urban agenda and help reach the Sustainable Development Goals. The first step taken is the establishment of the Mobility Champions Community, a platform of city leaders taking concrete action to collaborate in leading the transition to sustainable urban mobility.

We had the opportunity to sit with Ms Emilia Saiz, UCLG’s Secretary General, to discuss her views on the challenges of mobility and how local decision makers are key in implementing the right solutions for their citizens.

How can public transport actors be important collaborators of regional and local decision makers in the journey to reach the SDG’s, particularly the SDG 11?

Local and regional governments identify the 2030 Agenda and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as an opportunity to reaffirm that sustainable development will only become tangible in cities, regions and territories. The mobility sector is evolving rapidly, and during the last decade we have seen a rise in public transport demands and yet safety, sustainability, accessibility and affordability remain key issues to be faced.

A coordinated mobility system can facilitate access to housing, education, jobs, markets and goods, as well as other services, to all citizens. In other words, sustainable mobility plays an important role in the achievement of several SDGs, in addition to the transport-related target 11.2.

Only through a strong cooperation between all relevant stakeholders and a robust network for cooperation and knowledge sharing, cities will have the adequate support to promote integrated and inclusive mobility policies and solutions to face the challenges we are currently facing.

This is what we find so exciting in our partnership with UITP. We have the legitimacy, the experience, the know-how and the ambition to explore these new challenges together.

Sustainable mobility plays an important role in the achievement of several SDGs, in addition to the transport-related target 11.2.

UCLG and UITP collaborated in the past, notably on the PT4ME Campaign, why do you feel like the time was right to for the organisations to sign Global Strategic Partnership to formalise the cooperation?

Cooperation and solidarity are at the heart of our movement, and partnerships have been a priority for our constituency ever since Habitat III. This focus on partnerships, together with our collaboration with UITP for the PT4ME Campaign, makes formal cooperation between our organisations simply the logical step forward in the right direction.

The dynamic exchange between local governments, operators, industry, academia and other local decision makers aims to boost the strategic benefits for cities, and provide relevant support through several initiatives in the context of policy, advocacy and capacity building areas.

The Global Strategic Partnership between UCLG and UITP will enable us to move forward, together, in the development of this critical policy agenda through the creation of an innovative platform for common urban action, and to act with a united global voice.

Our first joint step in this new collaboration has been the launch, during the last UCLG Executive Bureau hosted by the city of Strasbourg, of the Mobility Champions Community, with the aim of supporting local and regional governments who are taking action to lead the transition in urban mobility challenges and generating opportunities for concrete actions and exchanges at local level.

It is our hope that our collaboration will allow us to support those that are struggling to implement solutions but that it will also contribute to think of innovative systems that will need to be shaped in the future. It is our joint belief that mobility is not simply a technical or infrastructure solution but a social and political vision that has helped shaped our cities from the Roman times, to the megacities like New York or Tokyo or innovative planning ideas such as the Eixample in Barcelona.

We are convinced that our partnership with UITP will be able to consolidate an even stronger voice in favour of sustainable public mobility in the different international scenarios.

How will the members of UCLG benefit from the partnership with UITP, particularly when it comes to working on localising SDGs in different Regions?

Many of the goals and targets compiled in the SDGs are directly linked with specific public services to be delivered by local and regional governments.

Localising the SDGs is therefore not merely transporting targets from the global sphere to the local sphere but actually putting local knowhow, experience and commitment at the heart of the development agenda.

Through our four areas of work: advocacy, implementation, monitoring and reporting and learning, UCLG, the largest local and regional governments association supports its members at both the policy and the practical ground levels.

We are convinced that our partnership with UITP, the passionate champion of sustainable urban mobility, will be able to open even more spaces for knowledge exchange and learning for our members and that we will be able to consolidate an even stronger voice in favour of sustainable public mobility in the different international scenarios. It is our hope that our partnership will also inspire non-public solutions.

In order to achieve maximum impact towards the development of better livelihoods for all, mobility planning policies need to have more integrated approaches than those we have seen until now. Physical and virtual mobility, participation and inclusion need to be part of the same single plan.

We are excited to work together towards sustainable societies for all.

Read part one of our interview with Emilia Saiz here! 

Interested in the UN high-level discussion on SDG 11.2? Read more about it here

Find out more about the Mobility Champions' Community here!


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