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Habitat III

BMZ presents new mobility initiative at urban development conference in Ecuador

Logo of the Habitat III conference

14.10.2016 |

Quito/Ecuador – On Monday at the Habitat III conference in Quito, the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) will be presenting an initiative to support a sustainable transformation of transport systems in major cities in developing and emerging economies.

Minister Müller said, "More than half of the world's population lives in cities, and the number of city dwellers continues to grow. Developments in cities will determine whether we can eradicate poverty and achieve sustainable development. This is one of the greatest development challenges we are facing together at present, and we are addressing it through our development work. We are taking action now in order to create liveable cities for tomorrow. Cities are the main contributors to climate change. They account for three quarters of total resource consumption. That is why we want to find sustainable solutions for the transport sector, thus strengthening our economic cooperation with our partner countries."

The mobility campaign will focus on safe, reliable and affordable urban mobility, with a view to providing access to job opportunities, health care and education for the poorest segments of society in particular. These people usually have to live in slums on the outskirts of cities, while hospitals, schools and well-paid jobs are typically situated in those parts of the city that have better infrastructure, and these areas are almost inaccessible for people from poor neighbourhoods unless there are public transport systems or at least safe pedestrian and bicycle paths.

The initiative is planned to start in 2017 with the development and expansion of sustainable mobility systems. This involves the improvement of bus lines, light rail and subway systems, and pedestrian and bicycle paths. In addition, more than 1,000 specialists and leaders from government departments, urban authorities and higher education institutions from developing and emerging economies will receive training in order to give them the knowledge they need for the practical planning and implementation of sustainable mobility systems. There will be a global contest for the best innovative pilot projects in smaller and medium-sized cities.

Minister Müller also highlighted the importance of municipality partnerships. "German municipalities, especially our municipal utilities, have valuable knowledge that they can share: on transport, water and energy supply, and waste management. At present, there are some 150 partnerships that have been established through our programmes. These are partnerships between German municipalities and partner municipalities in developing and emerging economies. We will continue to expand this programme."

At the beginning of the 20th century, only some ten per cent of humanity lived in cities. Today, more than half of the world's population lives in cities, and that share will rise to more than 70 per cent by 2050. Every week, some 1.4 million people move to a city or are born in a city.

Starting Monday, more than 30,000 people will gather in Quito for the third international summit on sustainable urban development (Habitat III) to discuss and adopt a global urban agenda. The purpose of this effort is to ensure that the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that were adopted last year will be implemented at the local level; to enhance cities' competencies and scope for action; and to redefine urban-rural relations.

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