Authorities meeting today at the Second Cities Conference agreed that achieving sustainable mobility systems is a priority area of action to counter climate change and attain sustainable and inclusive urban development. The Conference is being held through Friday, Oct. 19 at the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) headquarters in Santiago, Chile.
The conference, co-organized by ECLAC, the Assembly of Ministers and High-Level Authorities on Housing and Urban Development of Latin America and the Caribbean (MINURVI) and UN-Habitat, was inaugurated by Cristián Monckeberg, Chile’s Minister of Housing and Urban Development and Mario Cimoli, Deputy Executive Secretary of the United Nations regional commission.
During his remarks, Minister Cristián Monckeberg affirmed that “sustainable urban mobility is key for people’s happiness and improved quality of life in cities.”
The minister underscored the importance of thinking of urban development in inter-sectoral terms. In this sense, he commended the celebration of the Second Cities Conference and said that “to the extent that what we debate, discuss and propose at this conference may become public policy, be taken up by governments and implemented, we all win. ECLAC plays a key role in this,” he pointed out.
In his remarks, Mario Cimoli asserted that for ECLAC, the issue of cities “must go beyond just reporting, beyond mere facts and data; it must become a matter of public policy, an issue that enables governments to see the new paradigm, which is not only about mobility, the city and individuals, but also technology, productive activity and everything required for sustainable growth over the long term. Without structural change, this will not be achieved,” he said.
He added that in a predominantly urban world, the future of the planet depends on how we develop our cities, and urban mobility systems play a decisive, fundamental role in this transformation.
The ECLAC senior official specified that, according to projections, 60% of the world population will be urban and the number of vehicles will double by 2030.
He underlined that Latin America and the Caribbean is one of the most urbanized regions of the world, where nearly 80% of the population lives in cities and 56% of daily commutes are on public transport, a figure that reaches nearly 75% in the lower quintiles. Therefore, he said, urban mobility and public transport must remain at the center of the region’s policy agenda debate.
“Improving urban mobility in the region and guaranteeing accessible and safe transport services is fundamental to reducing inequalities and improving use of time and quality of life for all citizens,” he concluded.
The latest edition of the Cities Conference seeks to improve the integration of urban planning, management, financing and mobility and transit systems in Latin America and the Caribbean toward sustainable urban development, as part of the Regional Action Plan for the implementation of the New Urban Agenda (NUA) in the region.
The conference also aims to facilitate exchange of good practices and policy recommendations to strengthen the institutional framework for sustainable urban mobility, and to explore the functions and responsibilities of different stakeholders that could facilitate a sustainable transport agenda at the national and subnational levels.
The opening day of the conference consisted of sessions on sustainable urban mobility and global development agendas in Latin America and the Caribbean, opportunities and challenges posed by sustainable urban mobility in the region and an analysis of urban mobility as seen from national and local perspectives.