Sustainable Urban Mobility and Climate Change

Active Travel and Healthy Streets, Armenia, Georgia

From 20th – 22nd February, practitioners from Armenia, Georgia, Moldova, Serbia, Ukraine and Germany gathered in Tbilisi to discuss how cities in South-East European and European Partnership countries can work to reduce air pollution through climate friendly means of urban transport.

In 2015, air pollution contributed to 6.5 million deaths globally. In Tbilisi alone, up to 71 per cent of air pollution is caused by car emissions. This can lead to severe health problems such as breathing difficulties, dizziness, headaches and long-term illnesses such as heart disease – and particularly effects children. Investment in sustainable urban transport and non-motorised forms of transport can have a significant impact on reducing emissions, improving public health, and creating a better environment for the future.

Throughout the three-day conference, which was opened by Dr. Marika Darchia, Deputy Chairperson of Tbilisi City Council, local practitioners, including EASST partners from Georgia and Armenia, discussed examples of good practice, looked at practical examples around Tbilisi such as the city’s first e-mobile charging station and new bus depot, and each developed an action plan on how municipal transport can be improved in their cities.

EASST partner the Partnership for Road Safety in Georgia presented on how they are improving the urban environment in some of Georgia’s biggest cities. Their current project, which is being supported by EASST, is promoting cycling and other sustainable transport options through raising awareness of the benefits of alternative transport modes and working with policy makers to improve local infrastructure for a safer cycling environment.

Poghos Shahinyan, Executive Director of the National Road Safety Council of Armenia, drew on his wealth of experience to take an active part in the seminar and shared examples from Yerevan.

Air pollution levels have reached crisis point across the globe, and are still rising. Action is needed, and this conference has provided a good platform to initiate change. All municipalities should be supported and encouraged to implement sustainable transport solutions and we look forward to seeing the results.

The conference was organised by the International Community of Practice for Sustainable Urban Development Connective Cities and its initiators, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, the Association of German Cities and Engagement Global (Service Agency Communities in One World). The local site-visits in Tbilisi were organised by EASST partners, the Partnership for Road Safety.