Newly signed Bogota Declaration establishes sustainable transport objectives for the region.
Last 24 June, 2011 in Bogota, Colombia, transportation ministers, delegations and experts from around the globe gathered to discuss the development of the Bogota Declaration, a new multinational agreement of sustainable transportation policies in Latin America.
The declaration was the result of the first Foro de Transporte Sostenible (FTS) para America Latina (Forum for Sustainable Transport in Latin America), which was organized by the Ministry of Transportation of Colombia, United Nations Center for Regional Development and the Inter-American Development Bank, with support from the Institute for Transportation Development and Policy, EMBARQ, and the Partnership on Sustainable Low Carbon Transport.
“The event in Bogota was successful in several ways, showing that Latin America is ahead of the game and can really ‘leapfrog’ in sustainable transport,” said EMBARQ Director of Research and Practice and member of our Centre of Excellence, Dario Hidalgo.
In the following video (in Spanish), Hidalgo calls on the responsibility of politicians to follow through on the goal of reducing emissions and improving quality of life in Latin American cities:
The Bogota Declaration was agreed upon by delegations from Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, Paraguay and Uruguay. It subscribes to the “Avoid-Shift-Improve” (ASI) paradigm of sustainable transport and establishes clear objectives for the region. Hidalgo, who is the former deputy general manager of Transmilenio, Bogota’s world-renowned bus rapid transit (BRT) system, outlined the ASI approach as avoiding long motorized and unnecessary trips, shifting the tendency away from trips in individual motorized vehicles and improving the technology and operational management of transportation activities.
The declaration emphasizes the importance of sustainable transport in improving public health and quality of life, consistent with the goals of the Decade of Action for Road Safety, a worldwide effort declared by the United Nations General Assembly to save 5 million lives over a ten-year period.
The agreement also establishes periodic meetings among the country delegations, with support from the United Nations Centre for Regional Development (UNCRD), the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), and other NGOs and transport experts.
EMBARQ was one of the supporting organizations of the forum and instrumental to its success in influencing the national and regional agenda for sustainable transport. EMBARQ was commissioned by UNCRD to prepare a background paper about sustainable transport in Latin America (see draft), and helped in drafting and reviewing the final Bogota Declaration, in consultation with the country delegations.
According to the organizers of the forum, transportation is vital to give adequate support to the rapid economic and social development of Latin America, but the current patterns and trends aren’t sustainable. The concentration of transport in individual vehicles creates adverse effects in terms of congestion, pollution, health, energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. It’s possible to confront these challenges and change the direction of transportation development with the current resources dedicated to transport. The result of these policy changes to sustainable transport would save lives, generate conditions for equitable economic development, and protect both the local and global environments.
German Cardona, Colombia’s minister of transport, emphasized his country’s focus on sustainable cargo and shipping, in addition to the creation of a new vice-minister of transportation position, which is currently filled by Felipe Targa. This position was created to exclusively oversee the sustainability of transport initiatives.
Distinguished guests elaborated upon the ASI approach. Adriana Lobo from the Center for Sustainable Transport in Mexico (CTS-México), gave a presentation on avoiding or preventing long and unnecessary motorized trips. Lobo presented a case study about Aguascalientes, Mexico, a new development outside of Mexico City whose residents often face 2- to 3-hour commutes and who spend approximately 30 percent to 50 percent of their income on transportation costs. Lobo stressed throughout her presentation how this model of growth must be avoided to improve the quality of life for people in cities. Lobo’s presentation emphasized the need for sustainable land use policies in order to avoid the construction of mono-functional communities that require individual car ownership. CTS-México made urban development and accessibility recommendations to improve the quality of life for the future citizens of Aguascalientes. The local government adopted about 70 percent of the design recommendations, which included mixed land use, improved public spaces, bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure, and public transportation.
Eduardo Vasconcellos of the National Association of Public Transportation in Brazil, and also member of our CoE, elaborated on how to shift the traffic of passengers to non-motorized options and away from individual motorized transportation. According to Dr. Vasconcellos, developing countries’ public policy needs to change the axiom to tackle the problems of efficiency and inequality. Latin American countries need to worry about the deep ingrained issues caused by inefficient transportation through the consumption of energy, the use of space, congestion, pollution and how these externalities affect society.
Edgar Blanco from the MIT Center for Transportation Logistics and José Barbaro of IDB outlined the great potential for freight as a way of reducing carbon emissions in Latin America. Other expert speakers included the following:
– Dr. Anup Bandivadekar (International Council on Clean Transportation)
– Sergio Sanchez (Clean Air Institute)
– Harald Diaz Bone (GIZ)
– José Luis Moscovich (San Francisco County Transportation Authority)
– Cornie Huizenga (SLoCaT)
– Michael Replogle (ITDP)
– Edgar Enrique Sandoval (Sigma Consulting)
– Luis Alberto Moreno (IDB)
The next forum is expected to be held in Mexico City in 2012.
For more information, see the official press release and additional media clips.
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