On 26 August 2022, the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC) organized an online exchange on green transport among five cities in the Global South. The event brought together officials and experts from São Paulo of Brazil, Santiago of Chile, Kumasi of Ghana, Yichun and Zhengzhou of China, as well as representatives of UNOSSC and Kampala, Uganda.
Green transport – which includes walking, cycling, public transportation orientation, green vehicles, and car sharing – is fuel-efficient and has a low impact on the environment. It has been advocated more and more in city planning by local and municipal government agencies.
At present, many developing country cities face similar difficulties and challenges in the transport industry development. Inadequate infrastructure and congestion are major challenges that Kumasi City is faced with. Air pollution is also among the most pressing issues: while pollutants come from various sources, Santiago’s bowl-shaped valley can trap them for days and makes their removal difficult.
To reduce emissions from public transport, electric vehicles (EV) adoption is the predominant choice for clean fleets. In both Chile and China, it is a key pillar of the carbon neutrality plans. In the past decade, Zhengzhou has shifted its bus fleet to zero-emission and is promoting EVs in all newly added or replaced taxis. Chile just adopted a new electromobility strategy in April, with Santiago leading the way based on its largest fleet of electric buses in Latin America.
When it comes to meeting public needs, many cities are adding cycling infrastructure and giving more space to bicycles. To promote walking and cycling (active modes) for green transport, São Paulo plans to add 300 kilometers to its current network of 700 km bicycle lanes and increase the number of shared electric bicycles to 1,000 by 2024. In Yichun, a forest city in northeastern China, local authorities focus on ecotourism and link cycling infrastructure with its scenic spots and mountains to encourage public participation.
Smart mobility is also under the spotlight: new technologies and innovation are contributing to more sustainable city planning and carbon reduction governance. Under the framework of South-South Cooperation, Santiago and Hangzhou are exploring collaboration opportunities on cloud-based data integration platforms to empower transport solutions.
After the online exchange, Kumasi expressed interest in further discussions with Zhengzhou on green transport.
About South-South Cities Clusters
The UNOSSC Cities Project seeks to promote SSTC at the city and local levels. Under it, “South-South Cities Clusters” were launched on the South-South Galaxy platform to facilitate information sharing, knowledge exchange, networking, and project collaboration among cities, local authorities, UN agencies, and other development partners. Currently, it offers interactive thematic spaces on COVID-19 Response and Public Health; Disaster Risk Reduction and Mitigation in Resilient Cities; Sustainable Tourism, Heritage Protection and Creative Economy; Sustainable Agriculture Value Chain Development; E-Commerce, Digitization and Smart Cities; Sustainable Transport and Air Quality; Waste Management, Green Cities and Renewable Energy.