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Boosting Transit Oriented Development: Colombia and Ethiopia Show the Way

Boosting Transit Oriented Development: Colombia and Ethiopia Show the Way Posted on April 16, 2015

Transit Oriented Development (TOD), is a new term for an old model that is making a comeback to provide greater social, economic, and environmental benefits to urban populations.

Once dependency on local geography for transportation, such as rivers and ports, was no longer a factor for urban growth, the use of cars, trains, and planes led the way to suburban sprawl.

Now that we understand the harmful effects of emissions from burning fossil fuels, many cities are taking an about face and returning to compact, urban designs for walkable communities with easy access to public transportation.

Colombia and Ethiopia, have both proposed Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions to lower greenhouse gases, lessen air pollution, and increase the use of public transportation. Identifying TOD as a long-term strategy to build on recent improvements to their public transportation systems and promote sustainable development in their countries, both countries recorded entries in the UNFCCC NAMA Registry as way to get information on potential international support and to provide an example to other developing countries.

In Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, a new light rail system is about to get under way and the country’s NAMA is designed to encourage optimum use of that system and support the fledgling national rail industry. In addition, it would alleviate traffic congestion, create a healthier atmosphere and deliver better access to jobs and services. Addis Ababa was also host for the first-ever transit oriented development network workshop in February 2015.

Ethiopia’s NAMA is in the preparation phase, and currently seeking international support to continue. Once the NAMA is funded, Ethiopia will begin the process of determining relevant policies, establishing required zoning, designing the plan, and conducting environmental impact assessments.

On the heels of more than a decade of exemplary, award-winning improvements to the city’s privately run cement industry, Bogota in Colombia has emerged as a global leader in low-emissions development.

Colombia’s NAMA expects to generate co-benefits by improving the quality of life, economic development, social equity, preservation of natural habitat, and energy independence in Colombia. Specifically in cities, individuals will enjoy better neighborhoods, lower costs of transportation and less pollution.

To begin implementation of it’s Transit Oriented Development NAMA, Colombia was recently awarded funding from the NAMA Facility, a joint programme of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB), the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), the Danish Ministry of Climate, Energy and Building (MCEB) and the European Commission that supports developing countries that show leadership on tackling climate change.

The NAMA Facility’s support for Colombia’s NAMA is recorded in the UNFCCC NAMA Registry as a successful match between international financial, technical, and capacity building support and climate action in a developing country.