I am proud and delighted to become President of the association CODATU, following in the footsteps of my predecessor and friend Jean-Louis Léonard with whom I have worked on many occasions during my political career. This is a very interesting time to be working with the members of the association and all of its partners as we focus on the challenges of urban mobility in emerging and developing countries.
In cities of developing countries all over the world, the question of daily mobility represents a central challenge for the economy, society and the environment. Demographic and economic growth in emerging and developing countries, highly concentrated in urban areas, raises many issues and even difficulties for policy-makers. The increase in car and motorcycle ownership often creates endless traffic congestion, terrible accidents and disturbing levels of air pollution.
Every city in the world is concerned by these matters, and a dialogue among all actors in the sector must be created to find shared solutions which can be adapted to the context of each city. The current period (2015-2016) is a pivotal time for shaping solutions at a global scale. In September 2015, the United Nations Summit will vote on the development agenda for the coming years; in December 2015, the conference of the parties (COP21) will take place in Paris and should lead to new and important decisions. In October 2016, the Habitat III Conference will be held in Quito, addressing at the global institutional level another aspect of urban development.
With these events on the horizon, actors of the transport sector should seize the opportunity to transform the way daily mobility is evolving not only in the global South, but also in the global North. For centuries, mobility has driven innovation. Now more than ever, the transport sector has a major role to play in combating climate change. It must organise sustainable cities while improving access for everyone and creating new sources of economic prosperity, as well as protecting public health.
With this goal in mind, the entire team of CODATU is mobilised to prepare for COP21 and to engage local authorities in the process, through the design and implementation of sustainable urban mobility plans.
The transformation of urban mobility is building momentum and I am delighted, as the new President of CODATU, to be on the front lines!