Funding principles to reflect concept of Accessibility
Fully based on the principles of sustainable development, transport investments would then not any longer only be considered as tools to foster economic development like regional trade integration. They would also reflect the social and the environmental dimensions of sustainable development and recognise – in a more balanced way – the function of transport to improve access of the entire population to opportunities. This is also reflected in the definition on sustainable transport on page 26.
Moreover, improved accessibility for the majority of the population has a crucial role in poverty reduction which will – due to the high population increase of low income groups – remain one of the key global problems in the coming decades.
Hence and as a very basic recommendation all decisions on grants and loans for transport projects should reflect the concept of accessibility rather than considering mobility an end in itself. This means decisions should anticipate and estimate how far the envisaged investments will improve the level of access to goods and services in the partner country or city or region. In this way transport funding will support poverty reduction.
Application of the Avoid-Shift-Improve approach as a new policy framework
Experts agree that there is no single policy, measure or tool that can make transport more sustainable. All agree that a combination of tools is needed for a successful strategy – and that such a combined package of measures should be “tailor-made” and adaptable under the local circumstances. The “Avoid‐Shift‐Improve” (ASI) approach is the most promising policy framework for donor agencies to guide the required expansion of transport services in Africa and other developing regions.
ASI incorporates measures to avoid unnecessary travel of passengers and also goods (freight & logistics), to shift to the most environmental friendly modes of transport and improve the efficiency of the current transport systems, modes, engines and fuels.
It is necessary to make sure that efforts are made in all three areas. If a donor agency decides to focus on only one or two of A-S-I it should be carefully proofed to what extent the remaining components are important to achieve sustainable transport in the specific context of a grant or loan.
E.g. if funding is especially provided to the application of technological solutions for incorporating cleaner vehicles in the transport fleet of the partner country or city, it should be examined how the partner country or city can develop measures in the non-covered strategies (e.g. through domestic funding or funding by other international agencies).
For Africa shifting transport to more sustainable modes should bear in mind that this shift will focus a reduction of the mode share of individual motorised transport and informal transport while increasing the share of mass public transport and preserving high levels of non-motorised transport.
Adapting and Scaling up of proven sustainable transport solutions
Cities and regions throughout the world have developed excellent solutions in the past 2 decades. They include the reduction of distances or need to travel (e.g. through densification and infill development), improvement of cycling conditions or implementation of low-cost mass transit options for all citizens. Also a number of technological solutions have been applied in developing countries like cleaner buses and cleaner fuels.
The main focus of the African transport sector in the coming years needs to be on rapidly scaling up proven sustainable transport solutions in both passenger and freight.
Donors should have a close look at which of these problems are most crucial in their African partner countries (“What does work and what can be replicated in the regional or local context?”).
Moreover successful solutions should be adapted with a clear orientation on implementation. In this context knowledge transfer, capacity building and political will as well as regulation and enforcement are important components of transferring ownership and assure long term success of the project.
Recommendation MDBs to cooperate with UN on Voluntary Commitment on Sustainable Transport
Taking the current development on global/UN level into consideration, the action plan of the Secretary-General on sustainable transport might help the implementation of the voluntary commitments (VC)made on sustainable transport at the UN Rio+20 Conference, including the US-$175 billion commitment of the MDBs.
It is a very positive indication that MDBs under leadership of ADB have also formulated need to proof that the MDB spending will fit to the sustainable development agenda and be linked to sustainability criteria in transport.
It is also recommended to consider the proposal of SloCaT to develop an initial results framework for sustainable transport related Voluntary Commitments which would help to streamline these activities and make them more visible and understandable by the larger transport and development community.
Of course the responsibility for the monitoring of the individual VCs rests with the organisations who developed and submitted the VCs. They will have their own mechanisms to monitor their performance. Hence this must be communicated to and carefully discussed with those actors, implementing the VCs.
Capacity building in donor agencies and their partner countries
Thanks to the regional EST-Forums, regional agreements like the Bangkok- or Bogota-Declaration, many NGOs and those organisations and institutions engaged in the SLoCaT network the transport issue now is much higher on the global agenda.
The internal debates within the donor agencies and between the donor agencies and their partner countries are of high value for the entire process. Such debates should reflect the latest developments on regional and global (UN) level.
Intra-agency capacity building on sustainable transport should be started and debates being intensified on which criteria and indicators should be set and how a basic measurement and evaluation process could be communicated with the partner countries. This would make MRV more complicated and complex.
As multilateral and bilateral aid is usually depending on the demand expressed by the partner countries and their national transport ministries, there must be a fundamental acceptance to follow this new path.
Transparent inter-agency debate
A greater coordination between the banks would be a great step forward and help all banks to convince their African partner countries to review their current transport policies in the light of sustainability criteria. This might change domestic funding in the long run. This potential long-term effect would have significant value as domestic funding will still play a major role in transport investments in most African countries –and national funding is mostly focused on the development of (road) infrastructure. E.g. it could contribute to the reduction of contra-productive subsidies for fossil fuels.
For this results must made transparent and communicated openly to the international expert audience in the transport sector to help and accelerate finding a common agreement on criteria, indicators and viable evaluation procedures New approaches like those of ADB (Strategy 2020) or World Bank (Toolkit Sustainable Transport; Flagship Report) should become part of this.
Moreover increased transparency and communication would also support the goal of making transport a global sustainable Development Goal after 2015.
Support the establishment of minimum standards and guidelines for transport data
Several studies show that data availability and quality in the majority of developing countries do not meet the requirements of measuring the impact of transport projects. Also country and city-based research methodologies to assess the current situation in the different sub-sectors of transport are not sufficient. However data is the key ingredient of proving if transport projects and policies meet their objectives.
As data are crucial for evaluating transport projects and policies donors should support the establishment and adoption of national standards and guidelines for transport data and their assessment in partner countries. They should meet international standards where possible.
Transport funding and climate change
80% of additional GHG emissions in the next decades will be from non-OECD countries. The need to develop societies and economies in Africa which are less dependent on car- and road transport is crucial. Hence recognizing the relevance of a low carbon transport sector in donor funding will contribute to the environmental sustainability of projects and programs.
As recent climate finance mechanisms where not applicable for the vast majority of transport projects, donor community should identify new instruments to include transport in climate finance schemes.
In this context it would also make sense to follow up and analyse the developments on transport NAMAs (National Mitigation Actions).