Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 22 July 2021 – The estimated five million residents of this capital city now have an online platform to suggest to their government in which neighbourhoods and streets they want bike-sharing stations to be installed.

To support the spirit of non-motorised transportation – cycling and walking – the government is also extending the pilot project to close certain capital roads and streets to cars every Sunday to encourage sustainable mobility transportation.

Ethiopia’s Transportation Minister Dagmawit Moges and other ranking officials in the country, including ambassadors and ministers, have participated in the bikes-only events to encourage the population and build the culture in the country.

These steps are fruits of UN-Habitat’s two-year “Scaling Up Safe Street Designs in Ethiopia” project, supported by the UN Road Safety Fund and other national and international partners such as the Ministry of Transport and the Institute of Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP).

The project was designed to help the national government with developing non-motorised transportation infrastructure and broader sustainable urban development policies for the country, working in the capital city as well as in secondary cities across the country, such as Bahir Dar, Hawassa and Dire Dawa.

In addition to Ethiopia, discussions will start in September for similar programmes in Kenya, Rwanda, Mozambique, and Guinea.

UN-Habitat’s project in Ethiopia concluded last week at a high-level ceremony in Addis Ababa, attended by Ethiopia’s transportation minister, as well as UN-Habitat Executive Director Maimunah Mohd Sharif and UN Special Envoy for Road Safety Jean Todt, both of whom provided pre-recorded messages due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Other participants included various project partners, representatives of local and national government agencies, local experts, representatives of the civil society, international development agencies and investment banks.

"This work contributes to meeting the road safety and sustainable mobility targets of the New Urban Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals on health, sustainable cities, and climate action," UN-Habitat Executive Director said.

For his part, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Road Safety told the audience: “The project was very timely, as the Covid-19 pandemic renewed the importance of zero-carbon mobility as a safe transport option. I am very excited to see the ambitious plans of Ethiopia in rolling out high quality walking and cycling paths in cities across the country.”

The closing event was followed by a citywide public engagement activity on Sunday, July 18th, during which roads were closed to traffic to enable various walking and cycling activities to take place in the city centre to emphasise the crucial role of non-motorised transit in daily life.

With the conclusion of UN-Habitat’s programme in Ethiopia, the focus now turns on the government to further develop its policies and implement specific activities, including receiving further recommendations through the Biskilet Megarat digital platform.

"We have seen strong commitment of the government to non-motorised transit so far, and we will continue to support the government with such initiatives throughout Ethiopia,'' said  Haregewoin Bekele, UN-Habitat's Acting Country Programme Manager.

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