When the Global Environment Facility (GEF) began nearly two decades ago, our founders recognized that exhaust from cars and buses would be a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. To help meet this challenge we have spent the past decade building a program that addresses this trend, especially in developing countries. Today we can say that the GEF portfolio represents one of the largest sustainable urban transport programs in the world: this includes 37 projects worldwide, with $201 million committed and an additional $2.47 billion leveraged in cofinancing from the private sector and elsewhere. GEF projects can be found in 73 cities, positively affecting the lives of 244 million people each day.
Investing in sustainable transport reduces carbon dioxide emissions and helps mitigate the potential impacts of climate change. But making these investments also pays off at the local level: we work with stakeholders to expand clean public transportation choices that also have the added benefits of lowering air pollution and reducing traffic congestion.
We have made good inroads toward making a lasting impact: GEF money for sustainable urban transport projects has grown from $31 million in 1998 to $126 million today. Yet clearly there is a lot of work left to do: the global environment challenges in the transport sector remain daunting; with greenhouse gas emissions growing more than in other relevant sectors – a trend likely to continue and perhaps even accelerate unless we act now. Experts predict that unless there is a meaningful shift away from traditional transportation fuels in two decades nearly 45 percent of all carbon dioxide emissions from the developing world will come from transport.
This publication details our efforts in the field toward realizing sustainable urban transport all over the world. We look forward to remaining a catalytic force for change to meet global environmental challenges from climate change – through this document we hope readers gain a deeper understanding of what we do now and what we expect to accomplish with our partners in the developing world.