On 19 October 2023, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) launched its groundbreaking report, “Transportation 2050: Pathways to Decarbonization and Climate Resilience in Latin America and the Caribbean” with a remarkable online high-level debate.
The report is the result of close cooperation of the IDB with the International Road Federation (IRF) and other leading organisations including the International Transport Forum (ITF), the International Association of Public Transport (UITP), the International Association of Ports and Harbors (IAPH), and the Airports Council International – Latin America and Caribbean (ACI LAC).
Understanding Climate Challenge and Bridging the Gap
The transportation sector, known for its significant contributions to greenhouse gas emissions, finds itself as both a contributor and a victim of climate change. The IDB’s report meticulously explores the dual role of transportation in climate change, analysing its active and passive impact. It underscores the urgency of change, given that countries have less than a decade to significantly reduce emissions to avoid irreversible damage to our planet.
The report also identifies disparities between countries leading the global transformation of the transportation sector and those lagging behind. While pinpointing these gaps, the report suggests a roadmap for a more equitable and efficient transition towards climate-resilient transportation. It focuses on best practices and the concept of a just transition to elaborate recommendations to build an institutional and policy architecture that can accelerate the pace of systemic change needed to meet international objectives.
The Road Transport Sector Commitment
Moderated by Ana María Pinto, IDB’s Transport Division Chief, the launch event hosted an esteemed panel of speakers including IRF Director General, Susanna Zammataro, Graham Watkins (IADB), Agustina Calatayud (IADB), Stephen Perkins (ITF), Dionisio Gonzalez (UITP), Rafael Echeverne (ACI-LAC) and Ingrid Sidenvall (Global Maritime Forum).
Ms Zammataro stressed IRF’s commitment towards the development of a climate-compatible transportation system and shared insights on how the road sector is moving forward in mitigating GHG emissions and in adapting to climate change impacts. She emphasised the importance of strong cooperation between the public and private sectors, underscoring the necessity to truly rethink the way we look at transportation and the need to embrace system thinking rather than sectoral approaches. IRF’s vision extends beyond the transition from fossil fuels to electrification, advocating for a systemic change that enhances equity and quality of life for all.
Furthermore, she highlighted the need for regional green fund structures to mobilise private climate financing and addressed the imminent threats to transport infrastructure during hurricane seasons in the LAC region, emphasising the role of digitalisation, real-time data collection, and policy adjustments for effective risk management.
“The climate crisis provides an opportunity to bet on a new transportation model that puts people back at the centre and the quality of their life too. Taking advantage of this opportunity requires developing a systemic vision of change. Electrification will not solve it all” she said. “We need to work together to deliver efficient multi-modal transport systems and services. As the road sector, we need to ensure that we decarbonise without compromising the services we provide, and without undermining a network that serves all other transport modes, including active mobility and public transport” she added.
In this era of climate action, IRF and its partners are not just addressing a challenge; they are pioneering a transformation. Together, they aim to reshape transportation in Latin America and the Caribbean, creating a more sustainable, climate-resilient, and equitable future for all.
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