UN to support Africa in developing proposals for urban transport

NAIROBI, May 31 — The UN on Thursday pledged to support African governments in developing proposals for potential financing of innovative and sustainable urban transport.

Andre Dzikus, coordinator, urban basic services at UN-Habitat, told delegates attending a forum in Nairobi on innovative urban mobility for sustainable cities in Africa that the UN agency has the capacity to help countries change their urban transport system to modern ones.

“We are committed to supporting the efforts of member states in achieving their goals to improve urban mobility, reduce road crashes, reduce congestion and air pollution,” Dzikus told delegates attending the first UN Habitat Assembly.

The official observed that the UN agency will work in collaboration with the World Bank’s Africa Transport Policy Program.

“We welcome other partners who wish to join us in this effort that is aimed at improving transport system to the better,” he added.

He noted that the program will focus on building capacities of urban officials through sharing knowledge and experiences of good practice.
Dzikus noted that the current status of urban transport in most African countries is deplorable as they contribute lots of pollution hence causing diseases to unsuspecting populations.

Widespread congestion and traffic jam have now become the norm in many cities, impacting urban life through negative externalities such as pollution, noise stress and accidents.

Dzikus noted that mobility should not only be a matter of developing transport infrastructure and services but has to be placed in a systemic context including city planning as a whole, to overcome the social, economic, political and physical constraints of movement.

He called for strong strategic planning and coordination from national and local governments.
“Authorities also need to allocate sufficient time and funds to improve their transport infrastructure over the long-term and to accommodate future travel demands,” he added. – XINHUA