More than 50 representatives of local governments met in Nairobi on Sunday to discuss urban mobility and sustainable urban transport options aimed at reducing pollution, reducing congestion, conserving energy and helping make cities greener. Local authorities agreed at the meeting to make urban mobility around the world their priority for the year 2011.
The meeting chaired UN-HABITAT Executive Director Dr. Joan Clos, heard accounts of innovative ideas from the mayors of 10 cities. They agreed in talks that urban mobility solutions had to work for social inclusion by providing equitable transport for all; that by reducing congestion productivity increases; and that good solutions can contribute to a greener economy.
The participating local authorities also gave their recommendations on how the United Nations, through UN-HABITAT, could best work with local authorities in improving mobility and transport, thus contributing to better quality of lives in cities.
The meeting was also an opportunity for the United Nations Advisory Committee of Local Authorities (UNACLA) to adopt key reforms intended to revitalise the committee, making it a more effective advisory body to UN-HABITAT.
The Committee decided to merge the chairmanship of UNACLA and the United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG), the largest international representative body for local authorities. In this regard, the Honorable Kadir Topbas, Mayor of Istanbul, and current president of UCLG, was named the new Chairman of UNACLA to serve for the next 3 years.
The Committee expandded its membership from 20 to 35 mayors, with the equivalent number of alternates, thus making UNACLA a more representative organization suitable for regional work and increased participation from cities.
Finally, the Committee selected key topics on UNACLA can focus for a year at a time. The idea is to provide strategic policy inputs to UN-HABITAT's work programme. Topics chosen for 2011 are urban mobility for 2011, job creation and local productivity for 2012, flood protection and environmental resilience for 2013, and municipal fiscal systems and finances for 2014. UNACLA members also recommended that their respective city's compliance to the Millennium Development Goals will be addressed through each of these topics.
As part of this week's twenty-third Governing Council of UN-HABITAT, UNACLA unveiled a special exhibit on mobility and sustainable urban transport.