Partnership call to help create emergency program to show world cities how to become "Kyoto Compliant"
Wednesday, February 16, 2005, Paris, France, Europe
Dear World Transport Colleagues,
Today, after the better part of a decade of very hard work on many sides, the Kyoto Treaty finally enters into effect and with it the obligation of some 140 nations on this beleaguered planet to do something about their emissions. For the advanced industrial economies, the 1990 targets are going to be very hard to meet: but at least there is now a process in place which is starting to point the way. In some parts of the economy.
However when it comes to transport in cities, there can be no grounds for optimism. To the contrary, despite the many useful point improvements made by the leading edge cities in recent years, the trend overall is harshly moving in the wrong direction: in each we are seeing year after year more traffic, more pollution, more accidents, more lost time, more unnecessary deficits, and more urban amenity and quality of life washed away by our aimless short-sighted policies.
Our challenge in brief
Against this background, this is an open invitation to an independent, open, world-wide partnership, collaboration and exchange in the area of sustainable mobility. And specifically to put before you a working outline of a proposed innovative public policy action program in the field of city transportation improvement still in its very early stages of development, which has we sincerely believe real potential in the until now hopelessly unequal struggle to move our cites toward something much closer to sustainable mobility -- or, let us say, "Kyoto Compliance".
What is useful about this concept is that it is at once short term results oriented, far-reaching, affordable and realistic. No less important, it targets highly ambitious near term efficiency and visible environmental improvements without requiring massive injections of hard earned taxpayer money. It also, with the right kind of preparatory work and support, can offer a very powerful political tool for mayors and city counsels who wish to offer a better, safer, cleaner and more affordable city to their electorate.
Since you are experts in all this I do not need to waste your time in trying to convince or educate you on all these details. You know them as well or better than I. But what I can draw to your attention is a reminder that we now, in fact, have over all these years of piecemeal improvements and innovations arrived at a point where we can in fact face this challenge and do something about it. If indeed we chose to. Which is what this letter and challenge is all about.
So, under these conditions what better can those of us who care do than to put our heads together and see how we might begin to shape an action agenda and by our combined skills, contacts and resources carry out the following three step problem-solving process?
- Clarify in no uncertain terms the crisis before us
- Develop an action plan that will give visible short term results
- And place all this firmly in a long term strategic framework that is going to move us, move our cities to the underlying goals of sustainable development and social justice.
How to achieve this? Here is the core of the strategy that we now propose for your consideration, comment, and action:
- Set out clear, explicit, understandable, ambitious but safely meetable performance targets in the participating city.
- Make sure you have total commitment of local leaders from the top -- at least to take this through the first Blueprint Go/No-Go phase.
- And a very broad base of public support and participation.
- Highly committed local implementation partners with the technical virtuosity needed to get the fine detail planned carefully, executed and then consistently fine-tuned -- and the open community spirit and orientation needed to get the job done.
We are confident that once a leading group of pioneer cities show the way, this approach will catch the attention of many others and will spread like wild fire. Why? Well, because it will have very high public visibility and because too over these last several decades we have built up our shared knowledge and competence at the leading edge to make it work. All that is needed now is a this first set of high visibility, high impact programs: the rest will follow.
All that of course is still entirely abstract. Let's see if we can be more focused and useful on this.
We today, with this letter and the website behind it at http://newmobilitypartners.org, invite you and the more than one thousand international figures with whom we have been in contact on these matters over the years, to consider how you might get involved in or support the Kyoto New Mobility Challenge Program. Specifically, we invite you to go through your files and contacts to see if there is some city or existing program that you know well that might be brought into the challenge as set out here. You will find fairly copious background information on how this works in the Challenge site, starting with the Executive Summary that directly follows this letter of invitation.
The idea behind this Call is to see what we can now get together to create a voluntary international program to encourage and support cities world wide to take major and massive focused programs to reduce traffic and air pollution in their area in a very short period of time. The proposal involves a two step process.
The immediate first step, once we have organized ourselves and got our base materials and arguments fully in order, will be to find a certain number of cities and teams ready to show the way by preparing intensive local reviews to determine what can be done across the transportation sector and in the surrounding areas to achieve in the city major targeted reductions (we have chosen the target of 20% for examination in each case) within a very short (20 month?) period (after all this is an emergency). We feel that with strong local support at all levels and the necessary know-how, each city team will be able to come up with a strong local program that is going to succeed in showing the way. Step 2 is the actual program, which will take place within the twenty month (or whatever you decide) target period.
What you can do to help
Why are we contacting you on this today? Well, because we know from years of international experience that programs such as this require highly qualified, energetic, well placed local partners who know the issues and the trade-offs well and have the technical capacities and networks to tailor and make this approach work in their city.
At the end of the day this approach is as much political as it is technical, and its pioneering nature makes it rather more than just one more transportation project. And it is for this reason that we have set out to look for partners capable of facing these challenges in a first handful of cities ready to move ahead to prove these ideas for themselves and as pioneers showing the way to sustainable mobility when it is needed (i.e., now!).
If you are one of our informed international colleagues or someone who knows these issues and the problems behind them, you can quite possibly do a great deal. And while you will of course have your own ideas on all this, here is a very short list to get you going:
- Associate your group, program: Let the world know that you think these issues require high visibility and attention. Add you name and link to our listing here.
- Comment on the draft materials & program: Intensive group discussions are going to be a big help in firming up this program, and in setting the stage for the specific pioneering city projects that now need to follow.
- Identify cities, allies: You may already have some ideas about next steps, cities, projects, allies -- and we very much hope that you will share these with the groups, since any specific initiatives that you might take will serve to encourage others to get actively involved on their side.
- Pass on the message: Please pass on this letter and related materials to your colleagues, contacts and discussion groups working in these areas. We are going to need to get the news out to many thousands of our colleagues and connections world wide if this is to gain the necessary momentum and support.
- Get the media involved: And let the print and electronic media know as well about what we are trying to do and where to come for more. High international visibility is part of the toolkit we need to put in place to make this work. (Click here for latest Media Release).
There are many ways now for you to get in touch, including one Click for direct browser contact which will link you directly via your browser to our offices here. Try it. Or come to Paris and let's talk about it. Click here for details on organizing your trip and stay here. Even without leaving the city we can show you some of the interesting things that are going on here . . . including not least the results of our mayor's commitment to cut private car use in the city by a steady 3% per year. Come and have a look at how this is working. It may give you some ideas.
With all good wishes and kindest thanks for your collaboration,
Le Frene, 8/10 rue Joseph Bara 75006 Paris, France
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