7-8 JUNE 2017 / Tour & Taxis / Brussels

Shaping cities of tomorrow: A realistic ambition for emerging and developing economies?

Shaping cities of tomorrow: A realistic ambition for emerging and developing economies?

Can technical assistance pave the way towards urban low carbon and resilient urban infrastructure?

debate
D2
Thursday, June 8, 2017 - 09:00 to 10:15

Key points

  • Cities across the world are facing complex challenges of creating a low-carbon, efficient, integrated infrastructure.
     
  • Without taking significant steps towards low-carbon, sustainable, transport systems, emissions could triple by 2050.
     
  • Sustainable Development Goals, the UN’s new Urban Agenda, and the National Determined Contributions offer guiding principles for action.
     
  • There is a mismatch between the money set aside on an international level and the ability of cities to access it.
     
  • The EU and Member States have embraced plans to provide comprehensive technical assistance through initiatives.

Synopsis

Traffic congestion, onerous commuting conditions, high carbon emissions, poor air quality, inadequate housing conditions, disappearing public spaces, and economic inefficiency – these complex urban environment challenges are common across many global cities.

The UN predicts that two out of every three people will soon be classed as urban dwellers. The worldwide transport sector is responsible for more than a quarter of all CO2 emissions from fossil fuel combustion, according to Mobilise Your City, an open international partnership created by the French and German governments and supported by the European Commission. Without taking significant steps towards sector transformation, these emissions could triple by 2050.

The challenge of integrating urban development with low-carbon, sustainable, transport systems is becoming ever more pressing. While the Sustainable Development Goals, the UN’s new Urban Agenda and the National Determined Contributions provide guiding principles for the development community, translating them into powerful opportunities on the ground is proving more complex than anticipated.

The same old problems still exist. Access to funding remains a significant barrier to sustainable urban planning in developing and emerging economies. The accounting standards set by international aid and financing institutions are extensive. Local authorities must invest a lot of time and effort simply to apply for funds, without any guarantee they will be successful.

That is reflected in the fact than in the four years since 2010, only 11 % of the US$8 billion committed by the multilateral climate finance funds ended up in cities. Of that, about 3 % was invested in urban transport planning and resilience. The spend is a small crumb in an overall scenario, which suggests there is a mismatch between the money set aside on an international level and the ability of emerging and developing cities to access it.

Competing priorities among local and national governments, the short-term political ambitions of elected officials and a lack of comprehensive dialogue between stakeholders also threaten the creation of sustainable transportation development.

That is perhaps why the EU and Member States have embraced plans to provide comprehensive technical assistance through initiatives such as Mobilise Your City. This partnership helps to bring high-level stakeholders, experts and public authorities together to support capacity building and define low-carbon transport and mobility policies.  

New acronyms – SUMPS (Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans) and NUMPS (National Urban Mobility Policies) – have entered the sustainable development lexicon. They could become key tools in helping cities develop integrated and inclusive urban transport plans.

Cities in emerging countries such as Brazil, India and Mexico have developed SUMPS to meet the transport needs of people and businesses. The initiatives aim to harmonise and integrate new developments with existing arrangements, and enable transformational changes towards more inclusive, liveable and efficient cities.  

Insight

Integrating urban development with sustainable, low-carbon transport systems is a highly complex topic that must be addressed in a comprehensive way and embedded in a wider integrated urban development strategy. The EU and member states are committed to changing the way cities and urban infrastructures are planned, financed, developed and governed.

Organised by

    Christophe Chevallier
    Responsable de l’activité maîtrise d’œuvre urbaine
    AREP Ville
    Richard Calland
    Co-director
    African Climate Finance Hub
    Eric Huybrechts
    Architect, Urban Planner
    Paris Region Planning and Development Agency
    Prisca Mbimi Tene
    Head of Service “Mobility and Urban Transport Management”
    Douala City Council, Cameroon
    Eric Beaume
    Deputy Head of Unit Water, DG for infrastructures and cities
    European Commission - DG for International Cooperation and Development
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