This session was co-organised with the High Volume Transport (HVT) research programme, with support from the Department for International Development in the UK (DFID) and was co-sponsored by the Pan-African Parliament.
Bernard Obika, from HVT, highlighted how that programmeis currently finding evidence to tackle some of the world’s most intractable transport problems in low-income countries. It is through the transport sector that there is the highest potential for change regarding climate-related issues.
HVT researcher Luca Petrarulo emphasised the need to review the current NDCs (agreed at the Paris climate summit in 2015). Hestressed that we must see Covid-19 as an opportunity to enhance sustainable transport ambitions in African countries. In using this time to review our climate contributions, we can hope to make cities more resilient to the impacts of climate change. All countries must make their NDCs far more ambitious if we are to have any hope of resting within the agreed carbon budget of 1.5 degrees. We can review those targets and measures in the same year that trillions of dollars will be mobilised to recover from Covid-19. Mr Petrarulo outlined a series of action recommendations for the parliamentarians: developing NDCs that incorporate transport-specific greenhouse gas mitigation targets that are in line with the carbon budget; improved transport mitigation measures that include low-carbon actions; improved transport resilience and adaptation; and aligning Covid-19 investment plans with the NDCs.
One of the key questions raised in this discussion was that of climate justice and Africa’s vulnerability to climate impacts, as well as the availability of financial resources to transform transport systems.
Mr Petrarulo highlighted the importance of the Avoid, Shift, Improve framework. We must avoid/reduce travel through better land-use planning and by providing for non-motorised vehicles. We must then shift to more energy efficient modes of transport, through economic instruments such as road pricing and fuel taxing. And we must improve efficiency through vehicle technology.