Phnom Penh, 05 June 2018– After the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Grab early this year announced their joint effort in improving living standards by reducing urban air pollution and traffic congestion, today they jointly signed and kicked off their very first cost-sharing project in support of the Government’s efforts in enhancing the safety and sustainability of transport in Phnom Penh City.
Transport is key to support economic and social development necessary to achieve many targets of Cambodia’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) such as SDG7 (affordable and clean energy), SDG9 (building resilient infrastructure), and SDG11 (sustainable cities and communities) among others. It particularly contributes to the SDG11’s target 2 which ensures that everyone, particularly, women, children, persons with disabilities and old persons have access to safe, affordable, accessible and sustainable transport systems by 2030.
Rapid urbanization in Cambodia has attracted an influx of rural population to the cities. This reinforces an increasing demand for mobility and transport modes. In Phnom Penh, for instance, the number of registered vehicles has been increasing at an average rate of about 20 percent each year, and has reached now 4.5 million vehicles registered, according to Ministry of Public Works and Transport (MPWT).
However, urbanization and climate change are just two sides of the same coin because 80% of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that cause the global warming comes from cities. About half of this amount comes from burning fossil fuels in cities for urban transport.
Sustainable Urban Mobility for All Initiative (SUMAI), a three-year project co-funded by UNDP and Grab, aims at improving availability and quality of transport data in Phnom Penh to better inform policies and investment decisions in support of sustainable and smart urban transport solutions.
Attending the ceremony, Nick Beresford, Country Director for UNDP in Cambodia, said this initiative went well beyond Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and offered a new model of private and public sectors engaging “to do well while doing good”. “As such it offers a platform for better-informed policies to encourage increased investments in sustainable urban development,” he added.
Russell Cohen, Head of Regional Operations, Grab said, “it is with great pleasure that Grab is entering into the next phase of partnership with UNDP to continue our mission and commitment to work together in reducing pollution as well as increasing road safety and traffic efficiency for Cambodia. Our continued partnership with UNDP will help us further our ambition to make Southeast Asian cities cleaner and more liveable.”
“Apart from co-funding support, Grab has committed to providing in-kind contribution such as anonymized data sharing, technology expertise, staff manhour as well as the promoting of the use of green vehicles among its driver-partners and passengers,” added Cohen.
In pursuit of this objective, the SUMAI project would focus its interventions to support improving efficiency of existing urban traffic and transport systems through generation of traffic and air quality data in Phnom Penh; reducing urban transport GHG emission through promotion of clean vehicles and fuel measures; and stimulating innovations in smart transport solutions to accelerate progress on safety and mobility for all.
As the witness at the signing, H.E. Senior Minister and Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol raised that “today is the World Environment Day and it is a perfect day to promote awareness and action for the protection of our environment. The rapid urbanization of Cambodia has brought enormous economic opportunities and new set of emerging challenges that all cities around the world are facing. The SUMAI project is the first of its kind in public private partnership among UNDP Cambodia, the leading hailing company Grab and MPWT. The Royal Government of Cambodia through MPWT is committed in promoting a more sustainable and efficient transport system for our cities.”