By Levent Toprak
There are several promising, sustainable modes of transport, such as the planned Bus Rapid Transit system in Beirut. However, transport systems, even if they are the most efficient ways to move people or goods from A to B, must always be integrated into a comprehensive sustainable urban mobility plan to mitigate CO2 emissions. This was agreed upon by 25 participants from 5 MENA countries during the 10th event on Sustainable Mobility organized by the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), under the umbrella of TUMI.
The transport sector contributes significantly to Green House Gas (GHG) emissions and thus climate change. Especially car-oriented urban planning results in extensive car usage and thus CO2 emissions, air pollution and traffic congestion. Building up a sustainable urban infrastructure will support the societal change from private vehicle dependency to publicand other environmental friendly modes of transport such as walking and cycling. In the long term sustainable urban infrastructure planning will be the key for mitigation.
With examples of the Greater Beirut Transport Project and the planned Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system, financed by the World Bank, the group worked on essentials of sustainable urban transport planning. Space for public and non-motorized transport, parking management and tools how to finance and plan a livable city with an integrated sustainable transport system were the core elements of the three days training.
In a site trip guided by the Council for Development and Reconstruction (CDR) the group had the opportunity to explore, analyse and identify spots that can be improved for more livability in Beirut.
Complementing the training, the Partnership on Sustainable Low Carbon Transport (SLoCaT) participated by conducting an expert meeting at the third day of the event to increase the capacity of participants to better coordinate the development of NDCs (Nationally Determined Contributions) and VNRs (Voluntary National Reviews), and hence ensure that sustainable, low carbon transport is properly reflected in the implementation, follow-up, and review of the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda.
The training in Beirut, Lebanon on 17-19 April was the 10th event on Sustainable Mobility organized by IsDB and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), under the umbrella of the Transformative Urban Mobility Initiative (TUMI). It was a fruitful event to rethink and work on ongoing projects in Lebanon and other IsDB member countries. IsDB and TUMI will continue to bring transport experts all over the world together and to support them in their efforts in making their transport systems more sustainable.