CIFAL Kuala Lumpur hosts Training on Financing Sustainable Urban Transport in the Asia-Pacific Region

From April 11-13, CIFAL Kuala Lumpur hosted its first workshop of 2011 on the financing of urban transport services for over 20 cities from countries such as Indonesia, Singapore, Brunei, Viet Nam and Malaysia.

Part of UNITAR's global network of nine CIFAL training centres focusing building local capacities for sustainable municipal development, CIFAL Kuala Lumpur’s mandate is to develop knowledge and skills among regional local governments on the themes of: 1. Sustainable Urban Transport, 2. Green growth and urban planning.

The three day workshop featured expert presentations from regional academics representing the University of Gadjah Mada in Indonesia, and the National University of Singapore and CITYNET, the regional association of cities, and institutional partner of CIFAL Kuala Lumpur.

As a recognized leading city in regional urban transport systems the event also leveraged locale expertise from Kuala Lumpur’s City Hall and public-private transport enterprises, including a variety of presentations and site visits to new projects such as the city’s 2011 Integrated Transport Terminal Bandar Salak Selatan.

This specific workshop focused on themes of financing transport systems, as this along with political commitment have been noted as key regional challenges in municipal transport systems development through CIFAL KL’s 2010 training and research. Needs assessments have highlighted the need for training local governments on key tools. As such, the training also integrated sharing of financing plans and lessons learned in planning transport systems. To training participants on key tools in financial management of transport systems, UNITAR integrated financing modules from its e-Learning course on ‘Sustainable Urban Mobility in Developing Countries’.

Utilizing UNITAR’s CityShare Methodology, cities also conducted a self-assessment exercise to identify common challenges and success in upgrading and developing their transport services towards regional success models as in Japan, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. Common challenges identified under this theme of financing were local enforcement of tax policies, debt collection, and other transport violations and fees, as well as difficulties in attracting viable investors for new transport projects in cities located away from Capital centres.

Common success factors identified among the cities and their representatives were the commitment towards using more greener technologies such as Liquefied Natural Gas, Green corridors, bicycle programmes, congestion taxes and other means to lower carbon emissions. Participants agreed that building more roads is not the key, as this leads to more traffic congestion and cars, but rather developing policies and implementing approaches that favor workforces, e.g. subsidies for transport, and upgrading of public transport systems should be seen as key policies.

Additionally, key successes came from have a strong political vision and commitment from government leaders, as demonstrated by Singapore, Palembang, Kuala Lumpur’s cases. In Indonesia the success of the “Musrembang” or bottom-up Development Planning Meetings, implemented only a few years ago in the country as a method of multi-stakeholder local to national development planning, was highlighted as a key way of integrating political, private, and all key stakeholder commitments to build integrated transport Master Plans and integrated planning approaches as a whole.

The City of Kuala Lumpur left participants with one message for developing their own public transport and that was that since the 1980s the city’s Integrated Transport Master Plans were “driven by efficiency” and as part of “one dream to become a world class city with a world class transit system”.

For more information on CIFAL Kuala Lumpur see: www.citynet-ap.orgProgrammesCapacity Building

For more information on UNITAR’s next e-Learning course on ‘Sustainable Urban Mobility in Developing Countries’ see www.unitar.org/event/urbanmobility.