A joint initiative of the Centre for Science and Environment, New Delhi and Ministry of Physical Planning, Works and Transport Management, Government of Nepal
July 26, 2012
Hotel Himalaya, Kupandole, Kathmandu
The Clean Air and Sustainable Transport Programme of the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) organised the Nepal Country Workshop on Air Quality and Sustainable Transportation Challenge in South Asian Cities in collaboration with the Ministry of Physical Planning, Works and Transport Management, Government of Nepal in Kathmandu on July 26, 2012. This event is part of the ongoing effort to enable region level dialogue on the critical issues of transport management for clean air and energy security in the South Asia region and also find solutions to the scary air pollution challenge and the mobility crisis facing the South Asian cities today. This is an initiative to engage with the policy makers and concerned stakeholders of these cities to deepen public understanding, strengthen the policy action on air pollution and urban mobility and also share experiences and lessons to address critical issues of common concerns and look at a range of strategies from Indian cities like Delhi to chart the future course of action and also act upon its immense strength to achieve sustainable mobility in our cities
The workshop brought together a wide spectrum of stakeholders including policy makers from concerned departments, experts, academia, civil society and industry representatives who are involved with the implementation of the clean air, transportation and mobility related policies in Nepal. The high level panel that addressed the gathering included the Secretary, Ministry of Physical Planning, Works and Transport Management; Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Science and Technology; Commissioner, Kathmandu Valley Development Authority; Director General, Department of Transport Management; Executive Officer, Kathmandu Metropolitan City Office; Senior Public Health Administrator and Coordinator of the Health Sector Reform Section, Ministry of Health and Population; Deputy Inspector General, Metropolitan Traffic Police Division. The panel also included air pollution, health and transport regulators, experts, academia and also from UN Habitat South Asia and Clean Energy Nepal.
Delhi and Kathmandu both are rapidly growing cities in the South Asian region and face serious concerns about the likely adverse impact of motorisation. The intense discussions focused on the key policy issues that can help both the cities manage this growing menace by understanding the emerging learning curve at the early stages of motorisation. Though each city will have to address the unique local challenges and potential and work according to its own imperatives simultaneously, Indian experiences on first generation action in cities can be used to inform action in other South Asian cities which are facing similar challenges. For Kathmandu and Delhi, maintaining urban air quality and protecting their sustainable urban commuting practices are some of the toughest challenges. Delhi, while having made some significant strides in meeting air quality challenges, has slipped and made terrible mistakes as well. Kathmandu still has a chance to plan differently. Its strength remains in its huge base of zero-emission non-motorised and sustainable public transport. All it has to do is to recognise and act upon this immense advantage and strength.
The discussion on action strategy focused on public transport improvement, walkability, technology roadmap, and travel demand management measures.