Over 400 organisations from 73 countries signed the Partnership for Active Travel and Health (PATH) open letter calling on government and city leaders to invest more in walking and cycling to achieve climate goals and improve people’s lives.
PATH is a new global coalition calling on governments and cities to make a real commitment to walking and cycling as a key solution to the climate, health and equity challenges we face. Signatories to the letter came from a wide variety of organisations including those working for road safety, clean air, public health and public transport, as well as walking and cycling advocacy groups.
During the COP27 climate conference in Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt, the letter was presented to representatives of governments from Egypt, Ethiopia, The Netherlands and Portugal. The ambitions of the letter, as well as the findings of PATH’s new report Make way for walking and cycling, were also shared and promoted by PATH members at COP27 in a range of meetings, talks and official UNFCCC side events.
Over 400 organisations from across the globe joined our call to action. This underscores how much support there is for prioritising and investing more in walking and cycling as one of the best solutions we have to achieve climate goals, improve public health and deliver a range of other societal benefits.Isabella Burczak, UCI
Sessions about active travel covered finance, gender, integration with public transport, the challenges and opportunities for African cities and more. New initiatives for active travel, that will help deliver on these ambitions were announced at COP27 by PATH partners, including training and research by the Walk21 Foundation and the Volvo Research and Educational Foundation, in collaboration with – THE PEP development of the Pan-European Masterplan for Walking, and a call for an Active Mobility Fund by the Transport Decarbonisation Alliance, with seed funding from the Dutch Government, announced by Minister Vivianne Heijnen.
“Enabling more people to walk and cycle safely is essential to reducing transport’s 27% share of carbon emissions and achieving the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, yet walking and cycling continue to lack priority in the transport and mobility mix and the wider climate agenda,” said Sheila Watson, Deputy Director of the FIA Foundation. “Our open letter on the occasion of COP27 was published to draw attention to this and to call for greater action on the part of governments and city leaders.”
Whereas last year’s COP26 featured a Transport Day and a Transport Declaration – which was amended to highlight the importance of active travel following intense pressure from advocacy groups – the COP27 paid less attention to transport, and to the greater role walking and cycling must play in decarbonising transport, PATH highlighted in a statement.
The strength of commitment demonstrated by the signatories to the letter indicate the partnership will continue to raise further awareness and seek to unlock walking and cycling’s potential to accelerate the achievement of climate goals and other benefits, through greater prioritisation and investment, including through national transport, health and environment strategies
“PATH and the wider walking and cycling community and hundreds of supporting organisations have made their voices heard at COP27. Going forwards we will continue to call for national and city governments to commit to prioritising and investing in walking and cycling – including strategies, plans, funding and concrete actions for infrastructure, campaigns, land use planning, integration with public transport, and capacity building”, said Lucas Harms, Dutch Cycling Embassy.
Next steps include working to strengthen inclusion of walking and cycling within Nationally Determined Contributions and Voluntary National Reviews, PATH indicated.