• Tuesday 18 Oct 2016
  • Promoting Safe and Healthy Urban Mobility for Children

    Urban Future
    Venue: R11
    Lead Organization:
    • FIA Foundation.
    Partner Organizations:
    • Overseas Development Institute,
    • Save The Children – UNICEF,
    • World Resources Institute.

    The focus on health, mobility, and vulnerable populations in the Agenda compliments the Global Report on Urban Health by WHO and UN Habitat, launched as part of Habitat III. It discusses urban planning for environmentally friendly and safe transport, and shared public space, highlighting the impact of wrong policy decisions on youth. The Agenda advocates for cities to invest in safe and sustainable transport, and enable walking, cycling, and reduce car dependence to improve urban health. Initiative partners work in the crossroads of these areas, help implementing the Agenda, and inspire others to do the same. Sustainable mobility is becoming increasingly important. Including road traffic injury, air quality and sustainable transport targets in the SDGs, adopting the Paris Climate Agreement, and including transport-related carbon mitigation measures in 60%+ of national climate plans (INDCs) submitted at COP21, means mobility issues are more prominent than ever in global development and environment agendas. While the need provision of low-carbon transport, accessibility for low income and vulnerable groups, and strategic urban planning are becoming recognized, the needs and rights of children in relation to mobility are inadequately represented. This is the role the Initiative is designed to fill. Children have a right to health, but the distribution and determinants of road injuries are related to other health dysfunctions – a setback on public health costs. Building a coalition of country and donor support for safe and healthy journeys to school for all children by 2030 (‘healthy’ defined as travel on equivalent of a minimum ‘3 star’ for safety, low carbon, breathable journey) will be achieved through urban design; safe footpaths, cycle lanes and lower speed limits; motorcycle helmet and seat belt use and safe & affordable public transport; and policy and technical interventions designed to bring air quality levels within WHO health guidelines. The Initiative recognizes that transportation and urban planning policies and choices impact children’s health and rights: 1. Road traffic injury is a leading cause of death for young people. 500 children die daily, thousands more are seriously hurt; 2. Air pollution is a toxic, carcinogenic and invisible killer, affecting the development of children’s lung function and responsible for a huge burden of health; 3. Unsafe and unhealthy urban space deters people from walking, cycling and exercise. Children learn and form habits early which last a lifetime; 4. Non-communicable diseases and obesity, to which both air pollution and lack of exercise are contributors, are becoming health issues for youth across the world. 1 million+ children yearly miss out on education because of road traffic crashes. More have their life-chances affected by injuries to parents and breadwinners. There is inequity in transport provisions: the poorest children live alongside the most dangerous roads; breathe the dirtiest air; and have barriers to access to education and, eventually, employment because of where they live – many in urban areas. The growth of youth in cities, and rapid motorisation will lead to a worsened situation unless it is urgently addressed in the NUA.