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09/10/2015: The Johannesburg Declaration on Ecomobility in Cities will bring the sustainable transport message to COP21
09 October 2015
The Johannesburg Declaration on Ecomobility in Cities has been released today.

Local government leaders and international mobility experts discussed and endorsed the Declaration, affirming that no GHG emissions reduction strategy will be successful without including low carbon urban transport solutions.

The Mayor of Johannesburg, Mpho Parks Tau, will bring the Declaration to the UN Climate Summit (COP 21) of December 2015, clearly conveying the message that urban transport is key in addressing climate change. The transport sector is already responsible for 16% of the global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and accounts for 27% of global energy consumption. A relevant and growing share of this comes from local transport. By 2050, two thirds of the world population will live in cities. Without changing transport policies and patterns, most urban areas will continue to be major drivers of climate change, while pollution and congestion will only increase.

Supporters of the Johannesburg Declaration on Ecomobility in Cities call on all spheres of government to do their part in enabling the transition to low carbon urban transport. They also request national delegates to COP21 to recognize local and subnational governments as relevant implementers of the Paris climate deal. A 5-year review and ratcheting mechanism, delivery of promised deposits into the Green Climate Fund and direct access of cities to financial resources for the expansion of public transport system are some of the key requests of the Declaration.

Local government leaders commit, among other things, to: adopting urban mobility policies that replace car-centred cities with people-friendly ones, by prioritising walking, cycling, public transport and shared mobility; prioritising the shared use of urban spaces; introducing innovative forms of public transport and supporting shared forms of mobility; investing in lower carbon and zero carbon energy for vehicles; developing green urban freight policies; engaging with employers to discourage the use of private vehicles; employing monitoring and reporting mechanisms that measure efforts to introduce ecomobility.

“We cities are not going to Paris to say that climate change is a complex issue to solve” said the Executive Mayor of Johannesburg, Mpho Parks Tau. “We’ll bring solutions”.

“ICLEI will widely share the Declaration with cities and international actors to gain broad support to action on ecomobility, with a view to reducing GHG emissions and transforming urban mobility systems” said Monika Zimmermann, ICLEI Deputy Secretary General.

The Declaration draws on the week of EcoMobility Dialogues, which took place from 5 to 9 October, as part of the month-long Johannesburg EcoMobility World Festival 2015. A line-up of 80 speakers shared their practical experiences and research on transport demand management, the deployment of soot-free buses and strategies for making commuting decisions safe, sustainable and popular. Local government leaders from the five continents also came to Johannesburg to express their support to ecomobility as key to a sustainable future for our cities.

“The Dialogues provided local government leaders and international experts with an opportunity to create a shared vision of an integrated sustainable urban transport agenda” said Santhosh Kodukula, ICLEI EcoMobility Global Coordinator. “They have been a success in themselves because of the wealth of expertise and relationships that delegates will bring back home, ensuring that the idea of ecomobility keep spreading”.

In a press conference this morning, the City of Kaohsiung, was announced to be the host of the next EcoMobility World Festival, in 2017. Known for its high concentration of industry, Kaohsiung aims to transform its car-centred transport system into one based on public transport, cycling and walking.
“The EcoMobility Festival 2017 will be an opportunity to change the face of the neighbourhood of Hamasen, an area full of small business and tourism, into an easy-to-walk, cycling hub” said Hong-Mo Wu, Deputy Mayor of Kaohsiung.

The international visitors were impressed by the EcoMobility Festival and how successful it has been. Since the start of the Festival, the Gautrain has shown a substantial passenger increase of 7.7% on its train passenger trips. On the first day of the Festival the Gautrain recorded its highest Monday passenger trip count with an average of 60,120 passengers using the service on the day, compared to the normal 55,800 average Monday passenger trips. The bus service increased by 512 passenger trips, with an average of 21,076 passengers using the bus service on the day. A total of 2,934 non-train users were also recorded on buses.

For more information about the Festival and the Dialogues:

Note to editors:
Ecomobility is travel through integrated, socially inclusive, and environmentally friendly options. Ecomobility describes a new paradigm which sets a clear priority order for both the individual choice of travel option for each trip, and the urban infrastructure design and investment:
1. walking;
2. cycling and wheeling;
3. passenging by public transport; and lastly
4. sharing cars, provided they are small urban vehicles powered by renewable energy.

ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability is the world’s leading network of over 1,000 cities, towns and metropolises committed to building a sustainable future. One of ICLEI’s agendas is on EcoMobility. Find more information on ICLEI Strategic Plan 2015 – 2021.

With a view to building a city for people and not cars, the EcoMobility World Festival 2015 is taking place in Sandton, Johannesburg, in October 2015. The Festival seeks to rejuvenate the belief that roads have more than one purpose, being built for more than private vehicle use only, but instead are the most common public spaces for waking, cycling, public transport, meeting people, and so on.
The Festival, which features a series of Dialogues, an EcoMobility World Exhibition and public events, will be held from 1 to 31 October 2015. The Dialogues encouraged participants to think beyond the status quo of Sandton’s streets, encouraging debate on the future of urban transportation. The Exhibition showcases avant-garde, innovative eco-friendly transport options.
The EcoMobility Festival strives to present a glimpse of the future, enabling residents, visitors and organisations to experience what a future, congestion-free precinct would look and feel like. As such, access to certain demarcated roads is being limited for private vehicles, encouraging public transport use. To ensure that disruptions are limited, a comprehensive traffic management plan has been developed.
EcoMobility offers citizens the opportunity to decouple their status from their cars and experience the future now, with a message that the city is theirs and should be enjoyed by them. They are encouraged to participate in an active street life, encompassing social inclusivity, a sustainable public transport system and streets that are safe to walk and cycle on.

Claudio Magliulo
Media Liaison, ICLEI World Secretariat (in Johannesburg)
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Nthatisi Modingoane
Deputy Director: Media Relations
011 407-7354
082 4679228
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Last Updated on 03 November 2015