ICLEI: 5 South American cities selected for international project on sustainable urban freight

During the ICLEI 2018 World Congress in Montreal, five South American cities from ICLEI Network were announced for the international project Ecologistics: Low Carbon Freight for Sustainable Cities, which supports the development of sustainable solutions for urban freight. This will impact national and local policies related to the freight sector, and it will support cities and countries seeking to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement. In Argentina, the cities selected for the project are Rosario and Santa Fe. In Colombia the selected cities are Bogota, Manizales and the Metropolitan Area of the Valle de Aburrá, and the Metropolitan Region of Medellín.

Currently, urban freight represents up to 25% of vehicles in cities, occupies 40% of motorized road space and contributes to up to 40% of CO2 emissions related to urban transport. Urban freight includes a wide range of services, from garbage trucks to construction or commercial trucks. Today, a growing number of cities are including urban freight in their plans to reduce their emissions.

Implementing such an initiative in two South American countries is extremely relevant since the regions has one of the highest rates of urbanization in the last decade, according to ICLEI South America’s climate change manager, Igor Reis de Albuquerque. “Flows between regions and demand for logistic services have increased, impacting not only GHG emissions levels, but also the economy and the well-being of citizens,” Albuquerque said.

Engaging capital cities, economic centers and populous metropolitan regions, such as Bogota, Manizales and Valle de Aburrá and logistical hubs of port regions or agricultural production, such as Rosario and Santa Fe,  is very important not only to develop policies and pilot projects, but also to raise the issue of sustainable transport in an industry that has not fully incorporated this perspective.

“Ecologistics is important, above all, for integrating the planning process with the national government, so that freight and urban logistics solutions are not limited to a region but can be expanded to the territory.”

Worldwide, it is identified that the transport sector often represents the most intensive sector of greenhouse gas emissions in the urban context, as in the case of the Argentinian city of Santa Fé. Identifying this diagnosis, Pablo Tabares, Director of the Cooperation and External Trade of Municipality of Santa Fe, wants to explore the synergies between the freight sector and the city’s already developed risk management and resilience plans. “We want to take advantage of other experiences that will allow us to operate on the diagnoses we have in the industry, ” he said.

Identifying good practices and international guidelines on urban freight transport is also one of the motivations of the Metropolitan Area of Valle de Aburrá (AMVA) to be part of the project. “Our participation in this project will, firstly, put the issue of health at the center of the discussion. Secondly, the issue of air quality, the central issue of our comprehensive PIGECA plan, and thirdly, ways to mobilize the issue of urban freight in our territory, ” explained Pablo Maturana, deputy director of cooperation and partnerships of the AMVA.

For the cities of Bogota and Rosario, the project is an opportunity to increase the transport efficiency of goods and services that are essential for the local population and economy. “For Bogota, it is essential to develop collective actions that improve mobility conditions and increase logistic efficiency by encouraging private and public stakeholders to work together,” said Ricardo Sampaio, coordinator of urban logistics at Bogota’s Mobility Department. “In order to achieve these objectives, it is essential to have ICLEI’s international experience and know-how.”

The city of Rosario, which represents an important logistics center because it is a port region, mainly for grain production, wants to address emissions of urban freight transport mainly through the metropolitan approach. “We attract a greater amount of travels than we generate, so the metropolitan dynamics and vision are very important for us, especially regarding the transportation of grains that arrive at our port,” said María Cecilia Alvarez, deputy secretary for the environment of Rosario.

Funded by the International Climate Initiative of the Federal Ministry of Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (IKI / BMU), the ecomobility project will engage governments from Argentina, Colombia and India to address this issue for the next four years (2018-2021). During this period, participating cities will receive technical and methodological support to develop updated diagnostics of urban cargo transportation, introduce emissions monitoring tools in the sector, and establish multi-stakeholder working groups for discussion.

The initiative aims for the eight cities to have implemented pilot projects by the year 2021,from which they can gather information, analyze future trends, and use to develop and/or influence the formulation of local and national policies. In South America, the project is made possible with the partnership of the consulting firm, Despacio.

ICLEI World Congress marked the official start of the project, when representatives from the selected cities met for the first time to share the initial status of their cities with regard to ecomobility and urban freight transportation.

Learn more about the EcoLogistics Project

Source: News ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, 27.07.2018