Sustainable Mobility for All (SuM4All) received the prestigious Vice Presidency Award as one of the most outstanding activities in the World Bank’s Infrastructure Group in 2020. The award, normally granted to Bank-financed projects and knowledge work, specifically recognizes the coalition’s unique value as a multi-stakeholder partnership, and its growing influential contribution to the World Bank’s work, including transport projects. Also underlined were SuM4All’s demonstrated impact, innovation, respect and inclusivity.
Partnering for Impact
Sustainable Mobility for All, launched in 2017, pioneered a new model for action in transport based on partnership, and has become the premier global platform for international cooperation on transport and mobility issues. SuM4All has succeeded in positioning transport at the core of the global development agenda and has transformed the conversation on the future of mobility in countries and cities. These notable achievements were the result of pooling knowledge and expertise from 54 international organizations and private companies.
SuM4All established technical credibility and legitimacy in the transport sector in the span of three years. For instance, the Global Mobility Report 2017 (GMR) has become the trusted resource on transport for many leaders around the world. And the recent Global Roadmap of Action toward Sustainable Mobility (GRA) is the only comprehensive catalog of more than 180 policy measures available to decision makers in transport community.
All of that documented knowledge is being put to use. For instance, SuM4All secured an agreement with the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) to pilot the use of the Global Tracking Framework (GTF) and GRA in South Africa. It is a unique undertaking in which expertise and data from partner organizations are collated with those from the World Bank to feed a new engagement and inform new projects in South Africa.
- Innovation is core to SuM4All’s mandate and drives our transformative ambition for the sector. While most partnerships at the World Bank support Bank-financed projects, SuM4All is one of the few partnerships with an initial mandate to provide thought leadership to fill a gap in the international transport architecture for a safe space—with a neutral convener like the World Bank ready to invest in a global public good.
- SuM4All has curated the knowledge and expertise from its many Member organizations—and their high-caliber representatives—instead of solely relying on knowledge and expertise from one organization. These ideas have then been purposed to stimulate knowledge and innovation within the Bank. For example, the work of partners lays the basis for the World Bank transport policy response to the COVID-19 crisis.
- A growing number of organizations such as the IFC, European Investment Bank, Agence Francaise de Développement, European Commission, have adopted the SuM4All’s four-goal framework (universal access, efficiency, safety and green) for their new transport strategies and investment programs. This goal-centric, system-wide framework represents a significant departure from the traditional view of transport, which is based on the pursuit of one policy goal at the time (e.g., access or efficiency); and
- SuM4All positioned data and performance monitoring at the core of the conversation with client countries on transport. For example, SuM4All developed a Global Sustainable Mobility Index score to measure a country’s distance to the end goal of sustainable mobility.
Respect and Inclusivity
Respect and inclusivity are at the core of the SuM4All partnership in line with the values of its Members and the World Bank. It has provided a safe space for people from different backgrounds, identities, cultures, work styles, and perspectives with a platform to discuss sensitive issues in a respectful way and agree on a common way forward.
Three examples illustrate these values in practice:
- Membership is tied to commitments of the Membership Charter. “Engage in respectful and constructive dialogue that advances the interests of SuM4All, both within the group and in liaison functions”. And “Promote gender equality as an integral part of the way SuM4All work”;
- Commitment for gender balance in all panels that SuM4All organizes and in the composition of its Steering Committee; and
- Equal representation of stakeholders in its governance structure. Members of the Steering Committee are elected via a democratic voting system for a two-year term. The Steering Committee has seats for each category of important actors in the transport space—bilateral donors, development banks, private companies and business associations, the UN and inter-governmental organizations and civil society. The Chair of the Steering Committee rotates among Members. Our bi-annual meetings with all our Members are co-chaired by high-level country or city representatives—recent examples include those from Argentina, Ghana, Cote D’Ivoire, Freetown and Quito.
SuM4All has been operating as an effective collaborative platform, and it will continue its focus on fundamental work, through its established five working groups. At the same time, the international transport community faces a unique and challenging reality due to the pandemic. SuM4All’s Members expect the coalition of partners to take a more prominent role in helping the transport sector respond to the crisis and prepare for a new normal. Such decisions and pivotal actions rest with the Steering Committee, which will make strategic choices and prioritize COVID-19-related tasks for the latter half of 2020.