Development banks pledge $175 bn for sustainable transport

June 21st, 2012 - 8:11 am ICT by IANS  

Rio de Janeiro, June 21 (IANS) Eight largest multilateral development banks (MDBs) Wednesday announced that they will invest $175 billion to finance more sustainable transportation systems over the coming decade.

Rapid motorization is creating more congestion, air pollution, traffic accidents and greenhouse gas emissions — especially in developing countries, said Asian Development Bank (ADB) president Haruhiko Kuroda, speaking on behalf of the MDBs at a press conference in Rio de Janeiro.

Developing countries have the opportunity to leapfrog to a greener future of less motorization, shorter commutes, and more energy efficient transport systems.

The pledge by the ADB, the World Bank and six other MDBs was made at the start of UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), Xinhua reported.

These unprecedented commitments have the promise to save hundreds of thousands of lives by cleaning the air and making roads safer, cutting congestion in hundreds of cities, and reducing the contribution of transportation to harmful climate change,” said Joan Clos, executive director of UN-HABITAT. “They will create more efficient passenger and freight transportation, spurring sustainable urban economic growth.”

Congestion, air pollution, road accidents and transport related climate change can cost 5-10 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) per year, according to the SLoCaT Rio+20 Partnership, made up of UN agencies, development banks, non-governmental and business sector organisations.

The SLoCaT Partnership, a multi-stakeholder partnership of over 60 members, was formed in 2009 to improve the knowledge on sustainable low carbon transport, help develop better policies and catalyze their implementation.

The transportation sector is now the fastest growing source of greenhouse gases a result of decades of urban planning that focused on improving mobility for automobiles at the expense of public transport users, cyclists and pedestrians.

Never before have these institutions collaborated on such a global scale. The breakthrough that we are witnessing allows us to plan for the one billion people who will move to cities over the next 20 years and the one billion people still living in poverty, said Cornie Huizenga, joint convener of the SLoCaT Partnership and organiser of the SLoCaT Rio+20 campaign.

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