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Published on : Tuesday, December 8, 2015
On December 3rd, 2015 there was a special session on transport in the “Blue Zone” of the conference, where the climate negotiations take place. ECF and WCA were accredited and able to access this high-level zone to represent cycling within the transportation sector. Cycling was already on the agenda, and mentioned by many of the speakers. Dr. Bernhard Ensink, Secretary-General of ECF and WCA, saw the change first-hand: “Transport is discussed at the COP21 not only with regards to climate change but also to global challenges in general. This matches very well with the approach of ECF &WCA’s commitment to the UN and our work on demonstrating how Cycling Delivers on the global goals.”
The transport session within the blue zone was attended by many key speakers. Luxembourg Transport Minister, François Bausch, discussed in this session on the EU Transport Ministers Summit on Cycling and the Luxembourg Declaration. He stated that the European Commission will now have a focal point on cycling, with one to three people focusing solely on cycling policies. European Commissioner for Transport, Violeta Bulc, was also present in that session. She made an inspiring speech about the need for a global team spirit, aligning with the COP21 slogan tous ensemble (all together). Mayor Aboutaleb of Rotterdam also mentioned cycling: talking about the economic impacts of the Port of Rotterdam and the initatives to decarbonize transport in the harbour, he spoke of integrating commuting and creating parking for 7000 bicycles under the new central station. Furthermore, the role of invesetment and the cost-benefit of cycling was illustrated by Mayor Ferguson of Bristol, who stated that investments in cycling is very beneficial, with 1EUR of investment in cycling bringing 13EUR return on that investment. Clearly, transportation as a whole is higher on the agenda of the United Nations than ever before, as is cycling. This is achieved due to the common efforts of the transport sector, through collaboration with SloCaT and PPMC partnerships of which ECF is a part of.
PPMC and SLoCaT were part of the push to organize the 2015 edition of Transport Day, a COP side-event. Transport Day 2015 was attended by over 400 people from all forms of sustainable transport and from all types of backgrounds – national and local governments, transport sector organizations, UN bodies, civil society, academia, development organizations. Dr. Ensink intervened on a break-out session on People Power: Walking and Cycling where he discussed ECF/WCA’s work and in which ITDP/UC Davis study Global High Shift Cycling Scenario was presented by Lew Fulton, co-author of the study. It was at Transport Day that ECF and WCA officially handed their letter with their Voluntary Committment to Janos Pasztor, Assistant Secretary-General on Climate Change at the UN, to be delivered to Ban-Ki Moon, Secretary-General of the UN.
“It is good to see that transport in general is higher on the global agenda – and that we have allies on the global elevel to promote cycling” says Dr. Ensink, “but there is still a lot to do to unleash the global potential of cycling.” The team at ECF is motivated and ready to make this happen!