National Cycling Development Strategy presentation: Opening statement by Manal Fouani, UNDP Deputy Resident Representative to Ukraine

September 20, 2021

Your excellency, honoured guests and partners, colleagues,

I’m delighted to join you here at the presentation of the National Cycling Strategy for Ukraine.

Today, together with our esteemed partners from the European Delegation to Ukraine, the Ministry of Infrastructure of Ukraine, and others, we mark the taking of an important step towards achieving the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda in Ukraine.

As we know, sustainable transport is mainstreamed across several SDGs and their pertinent targets. Transport plays a vital role in the wellbeing of the people, and has a substantial impact on the climate and if well managed can play a significant role in achieving the targets set out in the Paris Agreement as indicated by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).  

Transformations in the transport sector are also recognized as essential for reaching the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction target set in National Determined Contributions of Ukraine to the Paris Agreement. With its 16 percent contribution to total GHG emissions in Ukraine, the transport sector is one of the key sectors where mitigation is required.

Considering that most people in Ukraine live in cities, it’s important to develop attractive and environment-friendly alternatives to private cars – such as safe and comfortable public transport and micro mobility options, which would promote a reduction in GHG emissions, as well as help improve public health. In fact, Ukraine’s national transport strategy notes that 90-95 percent of all air pollution in cities comes from road transport, whereas only about 4 percent comes from aircraft, trains, water transport and emissions from enterprises. Moreover, in June, the Ukrainian capital rose from third to second place in the world ranking of cities with the highest number of traffic jams, according to the TomTom Traffic Index.

Analysis of the world’s best practices in successfully overcoming traffic jams shows that one of the key solutions is "transferring" those citizens who need to travel only 5-7 kilometres from their own cars to using public transport or micromobility. Such changes require a substantial review of the approach to infrastructure, which has to be made convenient not just for cars.

Considering the high interest of Ukraine in participating in the EU Green Deal, the National Cycling Development Strategy could be a leading instrument for reducing the transport sector’s carbon footprint, while also contributing to improving air quality and reducing noise and pollution.

We’ve already seen the number of cyclists in Kyiv during quarantine increase by more than 2.5 times compared to 2019, according to U-Cycle. Such a change is a positive one for the future of public or mobile transport and its respective infrastructure, and it requires further support from international community and the Government of Ukraine.

Dear colleagues,

The EU4Climate Project, funded by the European Union and implemented by UNDP, supports the development and implementation of climate-related policies by Eastern European Countries, contributing to their low emission, climate-resilient development, and the fulfilling of their commitments to the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

One of the key priorities of the EU4Climate Project is contributing to enhanced environmental sustainability through improved sectoral policies and mainstreaming climate change mitigation and adaptation into developing sectors. For Ukraine, the energy and transport sectors have been prioritized. Such an approach will result in improved governance systems, the promotion of sustainable urban mobility and the development of low-emission transport through an inclusive and participative policy-making process.

The EU4Climate Project has already developed a White Paper on Micromobility, which sets up policy recommendations for the deployment of micromobility solutions in Ukraine, and these recommendations have been integrated into the Strategy that we present today.

Thank you for joining us at this event, and best wishes for a productive discussion, which I’m sure will reinforce the long-lasting cooperation needed for the successful implementation of the Strategy.