15 February 2005

15/02/05. Partnership call to help create an emergency program to show World Cities how to become "Kyoto Compliant"

Note: Click here to go directly to the 20/20 program site at http://www.newmobilitypartners.org, where you will find full details. As you will note, we invite your comments, suggestoins, and indications of your support, either via email at postmaster@newmobility.org. Or better yet as a Comment to this entry here (click Comment in the small line above, and if you will kindly cut and past your entry after you have prepared and checked for accuracy). In both cases we are hoping to share your comments and suggestions publicly, and would be grateful if you would add your full name, title and institutional affiliation if any, etc., and enough by way of address and email so that we can keep you posted about the follow-up efforts.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005, Paris, France, Europe

Dear World Transport Colleagues,

Tomorrow, 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 130 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, trying at least 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 important improvements that have been made by the leading edge cities in recent years, the trend overall, including in those very cities, is harshly moving in the wrong direction: in each we have seen 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.

* * *

Against this background, this is an open invitation to partnership, collaboration and exchange in the area of sustainable mobility. And specifically to put before you a first outline of an 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 want 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?
  1. Clarify in no uncertain terms the crisis before us
  2. Develop an action plan that will give visible short term results
  3. 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.
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 www.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 Highlights sectionthat directly follows this letter of invitation.

Next Steps

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 our base materials and arguments, 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.

The Four Keys to making it work:
  • Set out clear, explicit, understandable, ambitious but safely meetable performance targets.
  • 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.

What next?

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. And 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:

1. Please pass on this letter and related materials to your colleagues, contacts and discussion groups working in these areas. And let the media know as well about what we are trying to do. High international visiblity is part of the toolkit we need to put in place to make this work.

2. You can get back to us all -- and indeed to all of the several forums in which these discussions are being placed (click here for a listing of these - with your views, reactions and suggestions on all this. It is our view that 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.

3. You may well already have some ideas about next steps, cities, projects -- 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.

4. You might want to see if we can be of help in organizing some kind of conference or discussion to support some specific project that you may have in mind.

In all these cases, we urge you to get in touch. There are a variety of ways of doing this, some better than email or a phone call, and for more on this we invite you to click here to 20/20 Contact Options.

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,

Eric Britton

The New Mobility Agenda is at http://newmobility.org

The Commons: Open Society Sustainability Initiative
Le Frene, 8/10 rue Joseph Bara 75006 Paris, France
E: postmaster@newmobility.org T: +331 4326 1323


Anonymous Eric Britton said...

Date: 16 February 2005

1. The comment is presented here as an example, just in case you are not familiar with how this particular blog program works. It have been prepared as a text file, then checked for spelling and layout, and finally cut and paste to insert in good order.

2. This is how it looks, together with signature details as most useful for attribution. (This comment has been logged as "Other" with name and URL as indicated.)

3. Please note that I have popped in the date for the reader's reference. Thanks for doing the same.

Eric Britton

Convener: The New Mobility Agenda at http://newmobility.org

The Commons: Open Society Sustainability Initiative at http://ecoplan.org
Le Frene, 8/10 rue Joseph Bara 75006 Paris, France
E: postmaster@newmobility.org T: +331 4326 1323

16 February, 2005 13:00  

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