Holger Dalkmann, Bernard Obika, Emma Wootton
HVT is inviting collaboration from the international community to strengthen advice to help transport decision makers within Low-Income Countries (LICs) respond to the impact of the Coronavirus.
The call follows the publication of a round-up of what the international community is doing to support the transport sector through these trying times. The report, based on interviews with decision makers and a digest of shared content such as webinars, blogs and publications, was compiled by the DFID-funded High-Volume Transport (HVT) programme. It shows that much of the recent commentary relates to higher income countries with less practical relevance for lower income countries (LICs).
Many international institutions have been active in providing advice related to their specific areas of focus. This includes, for example, the International Association of Public Transport (UITP) on public transport, the International Union of Railways (UIC) on rail transport, the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) on aviation, the World Road Association (PIARC) on roads and the Transformative Urban Mobility Initiative (TUMI) on urban city responses around the world. Multi-stakeholder initiatives like Sustainable Mobility for All (SuM4ALL) or the Partnership on Sustainable, Low Carbon Transport (SLOCAT) are collecting a wide set of information and sharing helpful overviews on events and latest webinars. The report spotlights useful, specific guidance such as cleaning buses, coach and freight driver advice and micro mobility.
However, most of the advice pertains to High Income Countries (HICs) and, to a limited extent, to Latin America. There is not much information about issues that affect LICs more than HICs such as the informal transport sector – a crucial part of the day to day mobility in many African and Asian cities – or the impact of food security through restricting border controls. The report also shows that there have been few requests for multilateral development banks (MDBs) funding for the transport sector. No dedicated programmes have been created nor is there any effort to align future investment to accelerate a pathway towards decarbonisation and achieve the sustainable development goals (SDGs).
HVT is inviting collective action by the international transport community in three main areas to help respond to the current crisis and as an opportunity to work even closer together as a global network with a common vision. This action could be coordinated through appropriate international organisations such as SuM4All, International Transport Forum (ITF), Action towards Climate-friendly Transport (ACT) and SLOCAT.
The three needs that have been identified are:
- Curation of LIC-specific information.
There is a need to collect and share information that is relevant to LICs to inform technical and policy guidance as well as dedicated guidance on managing and handling LIC-specific challenges like the management of the informal sector or the role of the freight sector on food security and food distribution.
- A common platform for COVID-19 impacts information
Whilst there is a lot of data and information in circulation, there is not much about transport related economic impacts such as the growth in remote working, events and tele-medicine and the lasting effects of these changes. Lessons learned from current interventions like pop-up bike lanes should be captured in a more coherent manner and can help to guide future action. A more coordinated, global approach would help assess future policy actions.
- A transformative transport agenda for a Post-COVID-19 world While there are opinion pieces and blogs calling for the crisis to be used to leverage a more rapid and radical response on climate change and delivery of the SDG agenda, there is a need to develop a clear and focused transport agenda to support sustainable development of LICs. Particular attention needs to be drawn to the current stimulus packages and follow-up investments to ensure these are aligned with the Paris agreement and the SDGs. Insights from adjacent sectors such as energy, urban, education and health can be leveraged to ensure the transport agenda fits seamlessly into a sustainable development context.
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