Habitat III New Urban Agenda adopted in Quito
The ‘New Urban Agenda’, a twenty year global policy framework for cities, has been adopted at the United Nations Habitat III conference, held in Quito, Ecuador.
For the FIA Foundation and partners in the Global Initiative for Child Health & Mobility, the formal adoption of the agenda marks a significant achievement: the New Urban Agenda includes our core objective of a ‘safe and healthy journey to school for every child as a priority’. The NUA Declaration, the result of an inter-governmental negotiation which concluded in September, also recognises the importance of the Safe System approach for tackling urban road safety, highlights motorcycle safety as a particular urban priority, and urges action on air pollution and energy efficiency for vehicles, all core policy objectives for the FIA Foundation.
The Foundation promoted this agenda, emphasising the importance of mobility policies for child health, at several side and parallel events during the Habitat III conference. A side event in the main conference featuring UNDP Goodwill Ambassador Michelle Yeoh brought together Child Health Initiative partners including Justin Mortensen, Urban Strategy Advisor at Save the Children, Avi Silverman, Global Coordinator of UNICEF’s child road traffic injury programme, Prof Toni Lindau, Cities Director of World Resources Institute Brazil, and Kai Poswayo of African NGO Amend to discuss steps to operationalise the ‘safe and healthy journeys to school’. Also speaking was Brazilian lead negotiator Carlos Cuenca, of the Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who led efforts to ensure a strong road safety component in the New Urban Agenda. UN Special Envoy for Road Safety Jean Todt closed the event with a speech calling for urgent action to realise the child health agenda. At another special event on children, organised by World Vision International, Avi Silverman also called for partnerships to achieve safe and healthy journeys to school, and described some of the action UNICEF country offices will be leading.
On behalf of the FIA Foundation Michelle Yeoh also spoke at a Habitat III press conference organised by the Partnership for Sustainable Low Carbon Transport (SLoCaT), and was a keynote speaker at SLoCaT’s ‘Transport Day’ conference in a plenary session chaired by FIA Foundation Deputy Director Sheila Watson, which also featured Chilean Transport Minister Andrés Gómez-Lobo. Michelle Yeoh said: “Working together we are stronger. And we have a powerful cause to rally behind. So let’s use the Global Goals and the New Urban Agenda to achieve our agenda, a revolution in urban mobility, beginning with a safe and healthy journey to school for every child.”
A significant announcement at Habitat III was the launch of a new Safer City Streets network by the FIA and the International Transport Forum. The initiative, funded by the FIA Foundation, will use the expertise of the International Road Traffic & Accident Database (IRTAD) to develop data indicators with cities to enable better targeting of road safety policies and knowledge sharing between cities. FIA President Jean Todt announced the partnership during a side event featuring senior policymakers including UNECE Executive Secretary Christian Friis Bach and Miguel Ángel Mancera, Mayor of Mexico City. Also launched at Habitat III was a new UNEP Global Outlook Report on walking and cycling, also funded by the FIA Foundation. UNEP Executive Director Eric Solheim described the challenge: ““In Nairobi alone, 500 pedestrians are dying each year. This is a staggering number. Designing transport systems around cars puts more vehicles on the road, increasing both greenhouse gas emissions and deadly air pollution. We must put people first in transport systems.”
The FIA Foundation also organised two sessions, on vehicle fuel efficiency and on urban planning for walking and cycling, at an EcoMobility conference organised by ICLEI, the organisation of Local Government for Sustainability. The Foundation’s research stream on women’s security on public transport was highlighted at the SLoCaT conference, with a session including lead researcher Heather Allen, Quito Councilor Daniela Chacon, who was until recently Deputy Mayor of the city, and WRI’s Mexico Director Adriana Lobo. FIA Foundation US Manager Natalie Draisin presented the aims of the Child Health Initiative in a Pecha Kucha session at the SLoCaT conference, and participated alongside UN Habitat Executive Director Joan Clos in a community outreach event held in the grounds of the Habitat III conference.
Reviewing the Habitat III conference, FIA Foundation Executive Director Saul Billingsley said: “The inclusion of safe and healthy journeys to school in the New Urban Agenda is a significant result for our Global Initiative for Child Health & Mobility, and has formed the key message for our engagement here in Quito. There is strong recognition that urban mobility planning that puts people first and prioritises pedestrians and cyclists is absolutely crucial for combating climate change, air pollution and road traffic injuries, and for creating liveable cities that can cope with rising populations and growing mobility demand. Our focus on children brings together all of these themes and provides a compelling campaigning agenda and a powerful convening space to build alliances that can translate the New Urban Agenda into measurable action.”
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