COP27 – Cyclist.ie Supports Call for Prioritisation of Active Travel

The UN Climate Change Conference, COP27, kicked off yesterday in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, launching two weeks of negotiations to deliver on the goals of the Climate Convention and the Paris Agreement. 

The European Cyclists’ Federation, of which Cyclist.ie is the member for Ireland, will be there representing the cycling movement, and joining a global coalition – the Partnership for Active Travel and Health (PATH), comprising leading organisations in the sustainable mobility community.  

The COP27 PATH letter is calling on governments and cities to commit to prioritising and investing more in walking and cycling through Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and integrated strategies.

Cyclist.ie is very happy to have its name added to the letter which can be read below.

On the occasion of the COP27 climate conference, the Partnership for Active Travel and Health, alongside supporters of more walking and cycling, issue this letter to governments and cities:

We call on governments and cities to invest more in walking and cycling to achieve climate goals and improve people’s lives

Enabling more people to walk and cycle safely is essential to achieving the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, yet walking and cycling lack priority in the transport and mobility mix and the wider climate agenda.

A truly sustainable mobility paradigm must include a much larger share of investment in walking and cycling. Enabling a bigger share of urban trips to be walked and cycled is a quick, affordable and reliable way to significantly reduce transport emissions, traffic congestion and road casualties, and will also deliver improved public health, stronger economies and fairer societies.

Transport is responsible for 27% of global carbon emissions and is the sector with the strongest growth in emissions. Road vehicles account for nearly three quarters of transport CO2 emissions and these numbers are not decreasing. However, the potential for replacing motorised vehicle trips with walking and cycling is huge and within our grasp.

60% of urban trips across the globe are shorter than 5 kilometres, with more than half of them currently travelled by motorised vehicles. Walking and cycling could replace a significant proportion of these short trips. Electric bicycles expand this potential further still, and walking or cycling 30 minutes a day is enough to meet WHO minimum health requirements and reduce the risk of premature death by 20 to 30%.

With COP27 being hosted in Africa, it is worth noting that across the continent walking is already the primary mode of transport for the majority of people. Up to 78% walk every day – often because they have no other choice. And they put their lives at risk the moment they step out of their homes due to roads dominated by speeding cars, missing sidewalks, makeshift crossings and high-polluting vehicles. By 2050, low and middle income countries will own over two-thirds of the world’s cars. With that comes an increasing urgency for even greater investment in safe walking and cycling infrastructure.

For all of these reasons, the Partnership for Active Travel and Health, together with the undersigned organisations, strongly appeal to national and city governments to commit to prioritising and investing in walking and cycling, through Nationally Determined Contributions and integrated and coherent strategies, including plans, funding and concrete actions for:

Infrastructure – to make walking and cycling safe, accessible and easy to do.
Campaigns – to support a shift in people’s mobility habits.
– Land use planning – to ensure proximity and quality of access to everyday services on foot and by bike.
– Integration with public transport – to underpin sustainable mobility for longer trips.
– Capacity building – to enable the successful delivery of effective walking and cycling strategies that have measurable impact.

We are convinced that placing walking and cycling at the very heart of global, national and local strategies to address climate change will not only contribute to meeting urgent climate goals, but will also improve the lives of people all over the world.

For more information, facts and figures, read our report: Make way for walking and cycling

The full list of signatories to the letter can be found at https://pathforwalkingcycling.com/cop27/.  

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