16 March ,2023 in Huye, Rwanda the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) in collaboration with United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) organized the NMT Project Investment Action Planning Workshop. In Rwanda mobility plays a vital role for economic and social prosperity, connecting people, goods and places. However, poorly planned transport systems have hard-hitting and negative consequences for everyone around the world. In many African countries the majority of citizens walk and cycle as their daily mode of transport, often out of necessity. However, citizens risk their lives daily to do so, due to lack of investment in safe infrastructure and increasing air pollution. This is a result of most countries in Africa lacking any national policies on Non-Motorized Transport (NMT) coupled with a lack of systematic investment/financing measures to prioritize the needs of pedestrians and cyclists.
The Government of Rwanda has prioritized the development and implementation of NMT National Strategy, to present to over-arching role of NMT in Rwanda, including public transport integration and the importance of universal access. In support of the Government of Rwanda, GGGI is currently implementing a project with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Share the Road Programme on Strengthening, Prioritizing, and Investing in Non-Motorized Transport Infrastructure. The project aims to enhance and strengthen the capacity of countries in Africa (Ethiopia, Zambia, and Rwanda) at the regional, local and national level to better design and implement policies and make investment decisions that prioritize the needs of pedestrians and cyclists. Through the UNEP Share the Road Programme, Rwanda has been one of the supported countries around the world, with development of national NMT policies. However, in order to translate and embark the policies into action and actual NMT infrastructure on the ground, some critical measures need to be identified and reflected such as transportation planning and management of roads. This project will give directions to the countries to systematically include NMT infrastructures and related policies with an understanding of over-arching role of NMT, including the effects on environment, air quality, road safety, economic efficiency and public health.
Following the previous workshop in Huye City NMT Working Group, where District stakeholders identified key challenges and opportunities in regard to sustainable mobility and brainstormed on the strategic interventions that would support the City to mitigate with challenges related to limited resources and investments in NMT infrastructure development, low level of awareness and capacity in Sustainable NMT infrastructure, and disconnected City NMT Infrastructure among others; GGGI in collaboration with Huye District have organized another follow up workshop with potential City stakeholders with the aim of elaborating the NMT investment action plan for Huye Secondary City, with a belief that this action plan will guide the District in the planning, resource mobilization, and implementation of sustainable transport infrastructure.
The workshop brought together different stakeholders and representatives of Huye District citizens across the City. These included the District authorities, technical staff, national police, representatives of the private sector, civil society, vulnerable groups, NGOs/CBOs, cyclists, students and journalists. Building on the previously identified gaps, challenges and opportunities, participants were provided the opportunity to identify and propose strategic actions with regard to NMT infrastructure and facilities to be taken into account by the District towards enhancing the entire transport and mobility system within the City.
In her opening remarks the GGGI Rwanda Country Representative Caroline Raes expressed her appreciation for the collaboration with Huye District in NMT Development which is serving as an example to other secondary cities in Rwanda and through this collective effort and coalition that this project will be scale up to cover more areas. She also appreciated the District leadership for introducing the NMT approach and commended Huye District for being proactive in developing the NMT Infrastructure which has positively improved the lives of residents in the city.
The objective of the City NMT investment Action Planning workshop was to advocate for improvement of city level transport system that enables everyone to move freely and safely in the City. As the NMT strategy will deal with not only the infrastructure but also the citizens’ safety, it is important to involve the stakeholders to assess their needs and challenges in each stage of the project development as well as to understand the existing environment. Therefore, it will serve at identifying and setting of city-level action plan that target at strengthening, prioritizing and investing in NMT Infrastructure towards achieving a greener, inclusive and climate-resilient city, as per Huye Secondary City Transformative Goals in the City Master Plan. Part of the workshop was to the raise awareness of the proper use of NMT where participants of the workshop had the opportunity to go around Huye City by Walking and Cycling to explore the existing and planned initiatives across the City.
The Huye District Mayor Mr Sebutege Ange welcomed GGGI Country Representative & participants to Huye District for NMT Investment Action Planning Workshop & highlighted the achievements through GGGI collaboration such as elaboration of DDS & revision of MasterPlan which have introduced these projects. In his remarks he mentioned, the population is growing and projected to reach 600k by 2050, and therefore the target today is to develop a smart & green city, that tackles issues in infrastructure, job creation and NMT infrastructure & encourage more people to use the facilities provided.