Green Team Climbs Aboard South Africa’s World Cup Transport Plan
Third Global Environment Facility (GEF) Assembly Cape Town 29 -30 August
Cape Town/Washington, DC, 28 August 2006, - An ambitious plan to boost public transport in the run up to the 2010 FIFA World Cup is to get a helping hand from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the United Nations it was announced today.
The Government of South Africa has embarked on a multi-million dollar initiative—the Public Transport Infrastructure Fund—to upgrade bus and rail services in time for the opening whistle in 2010.
The initiative aims to deliver mass transit alternatives to car commuting. It is designed to leave a lasting legacy that will modernize urban travel for millions of people well after the final whistle blows and the tournament has come and gone.
Today Monique Barbut, Chief Executive Officer of the GEF that this week is holding its Third Assembly in Cape Town, said a project assessing how to bring even greater environmental benefits to the government-led plan was underway.
This is looking at developing pilot projects in some of the nine South African World Cup cities. These will be aimed at developing sustainable transport alternatives that deliver greenhouse gas reductions above and beyond those currently planned.
It is hoped to develop one project to demonstrate the benefits of alternative fuels and technologies like bio-diesel, bio-ethanol and fuel cells.
Another one, possibly in one of the smaller venue cities, would demonstrate how well-designed cycle ways and pedestrian routes feeding into the bus network can offer a rapid and attractive alternative to the private car.
Ms Barbut, whose organization manages a $3 billion fund that provides the biggest source of environment grants to developing countries, said: “Well designed, well run, and sensibly planned public transport can play a key role on cutting climate change emissions. It can also help to improve local air quality and bridge social and economic divides.”
“We share the South African Government’s aspirations on this score and agree that the 2010 FIFA World Cup represents a great opportunity to lay out a 21st century, sustainable transport, network that will have impacts in 2010 and for many years to come,” she added.
“We will be looking to the private sector, from bus to fuel companies, to partner with the GEF and the Government of South Africa in this exciting venture. In doing so we hope to catalyze even greater backing in cash, in kind and in expertise,” added Ms. Barbut.
Zidane and Ronaldo Give Thumbs Up
The initiative, has also won the support of two of the biggest names in football.
In a joint statement (see notes to editors), Ronaldo Luiz Nazario de Lima of Brazil and Zinedine Zidane of France, said: “Sub-standard public transport perpetuates poverty, generates health-threatening polluted air and contributes to climate change, which affects everyone, everywhere. We both have experience of this as we were both brought up in communities where poor quality public transport was all too sadly the norm.”
The players, both United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Goodwill Ambassadors, said the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany, had been a “defining moment” in the greening of the World Cup.
“So we are delighted that an initiative is underway to carry this green trophy forward in South Africa. We hope the project being studied under the GEF will play its part in making the next FIFA World Cup a healthier, more enjoyable and more inclusive event while acting as a catalyst for the development of 21st century public transport across Africa and the developing world,” they said.
Green Goal – Lessons from World Cup 2006
Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary General and Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), said:” Preliminary results indicate that the Green Goal in Germany, in which UNEP was involved, led to some 70 per cent of fans taking public transport or using alternative modes such as cycling or walking to get to and from matches.”
“There were also significant achievements in areas such as energy savings, rainwater harvesting and waste minimization at stadia. Overall the Green Goal demonstrated that mass audience participation events can be entertaining and can also leave a positive and lasting environmental and economic legacy. UNEP and its 2006 partners stand ready to assist the government, cities and Local Organizing Committee to score further green goals in South Africa in 2010,” he added.
Wider Environmental and Economic Pluses
The World Bank will also underscore the wider economic benefits of sustainable public transport initiatives this week at the Assembly in a new report.
In Mexico City, where GEF projects are supporting Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) schemes alongside cycle-ways and new traffic measures, a 10 per cent cut in transport-related smog and fine air particles is expected to achieve average annual benefits of over $750 million.
Under a second scenario (see notes to editors 1) the overall average health and environmental benefits could be even higher at some $2 billion annually.
The Marikina bikeway project, which is focusing on safe cycle ways in Manila, Philippines, plans to double the share of pedal power journeys by 2015.
It is estimated that for every dollar of the around $2 million invested, there will be a two dollar return in health and wider environmental benefits.
Such projects are also helping to boost the incomes of local, often poor, people according to the new analysis.
The World Bank’s report highlights Peru: “Analysis of the Lima project shows that use of bicycles twice a day results in per capita savings of up to $7.60 per month”. (please see notes to editors 2)
The amount of money saved is equivalent to just under 10 per cent of a Lima resident’s monthly energy bill.
In terms of South Africa and 2010, consultants funded by UNDP have been holding talks with planners and transport officials at the nine cities staging matches in 2010.
The talks have been aimed at pinpointing cities where a GEF-funded initiative could make the maximum impact in terms of cutting greenhouse gas emissions.
A range of options, based on the experience of sustainable transport projects completed or underway in other parts of the world, are on the table.
These include so called Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) systems in which dedicated bus lanes are constructed. In Bogota, Colombia, a BRT system installed there is now moving 40,000 passengers an hour via dedicated bus lanes or corridors.
Feeder routes, in which conventional bus and taxi networks link low income communities to the rapid bus corridors, may also be part of the South African plan.
Other features of similar projects elsewhere include the installation of raised platforms and buses with two doors so that passengers can board and alight in a couple of seconds.
Pre-paid tickets also speed the process. In Jakarta, Indonesia, where another GEF-supported transport project is underway, there are plans to provide up to the minute time table and other bus information on passengers’ mobile phones using the text messaging system.
Notes to Editors
1. Scenario 1: a 10% reduction in ozone and PM10 is estimated to yield an average annual health and environment benefit of $759 million (with an upper limit of $1607 million and a lower limit of $154 million).
Scenario 2: compliance with the Air Quality Standard 1 - AQS1 (50 mg/m3 for PM10 and 0.11 ppm 1-hour maximum for ozone) is expected to result in an estimated annual health and environment benefit of $2 billion (with an upper limit of $ 4 billion and a lower limit of $ 400 million).
2. Taking into account the prevailing bus fares and average per capita income in Lima, Peru, the use of bicycle twice a day is expected to result in the saving on bus fares of approximately US $ 7.6 per month (i.e., about 9% of the average per capita income). This amount is equivalent to what the households spend on the energy bill.
The 2006 FIFA World Cup-Green Goal 2006 is at Greengoal.fifaworldcup.yahoo.net/en/home/
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