The $175 billion pledge made by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and seven other multilateral development banks (MDBs) was one of the largest financial commitment coming out of Rio+20, it was announced today at the UN Secretary General’s closing press conference.
“These sustainable transport improvements will benefit billions of people, especially the poor, and support environmental sustainability and reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” said Bindu Lohani, ADB’s vice president for Knowledge Management and Sustainable Development at the press conference to showcase voluntary commitments made at Rio+20, on behalf of the eight MDBs.
The MDBs had earlier announced their plan to invest more than $175 billion over the next decade to help improve transport in developing countries. The new funds will be used to promote all forms of sustainable transport, including public transport; bicycle and walking infrastructure; energy-efficient vehicles and fuels; railways; inland waterways; and road safety. ADB’s share of the commitment is $30 billion.
Rapid motorization together with urbanisation have contributed to increased congestion, air pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, health and social problems, and traffic accidents. Taken together, the losses attributed to these problems account for more than 10 per cent of GDP. The transport sector also accounts for nearly two-thirds of total oil consumption in the world.
In Asia and the Pacific, rising incomes are doubling motor vehicle fleets every five to seven years. Motorization is causing Asia’s share of the global vehicle fleet to rise – growing from 9% in 1980 to 46% by 2030. In some countries, the current trend growth in motor vehicles is almost four times faster than population growth. In addition, nearly 2,000 people are killed each day in Asia due to traffic accidents.
Transport needs massive investments, particularly in emerging economies. Over the next 10 years, some $2.5 trillion of transport investment is required in developing Asia alone. Developing countries have the opportunity to leapfrog to a greener future of less motorisation, shorter commutes, and more energy efficient transport systems.
ADB has long been a supporter of transport, with its operations in the sector typically accounting for a third of its annual lending. These investments have helped provide basic access to rural communities, link cities together, and promote regional cooperation and integration.
The financial commitment was announced on the opening day of Rio+20 by the African Development Bank, ADB, CAF – Development Bank of Latin America, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the European Investment Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, the Islamic Development Bank, and the World Bank.
ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth and regional integration. Established in 1966, it is owned by 67 members – 48 from the region. In 2011, ADB approvals including cofinancing totaled $21.7 billion.