European Mobility Week: Citizens for a new urban mobility culture

European Mobility Week: Citizens for a new urban mobility culture

Each year from 16 to 22 September, more than 2.000 European cities sign up for European Mobility Week, an annual campaign on sustainable urban mobility financed and supported by the European Commission. Even if political commitment at the local level is an essential requirement to join the initiative, the success of EMW really depends on the enthusiasm of thousands of citizens that get involved in a range of public events, such as bicycle masses, car free days, walk-to-school initiatives and many other public activities promoting sustainable and active travel. This year the week saw a wide range of activities, including concerts, workshops, and art competitions, all celebrating the role sustainable mobility and better usage of land can play in enhancing quality of life. The success of the week and the continued success of the European mobility week campaign is cause for great positivity, pointing to an acceptance of sustainable mobility and a desire on the part of citizens and local governments to enhance green transport. One of the reasons why people are inspired by urban mobility – according to European Commission studies – is that nowadays, the majority of Europeans live in urban areas, and all of us want to move around in an efficient, affordable and comfortable manner. At the same time, we also dream of living in a place with lots of parks and green space, where children can play safely, where the air is clean, where you can walk to do your shopping and where businesses can prosper.

Moreover it is not just a green dream, actually it is the real interpretation of Declaration of Rio (1992). As far as the declaration is concerned, we immediately could notice the Principle I : “Human beings are at the centre of concerns for sustainable development. They are entitled to a healthy and productive life in harmony with nature”. People are at the centre of sustainable development and, in this regard, Rio promised to strive for a world that is just, equitable and inclusive, and committed to work together to promote sustained and inclusive economic growth, social development and environmental protection and thereby to benefit all, in particular the children of the world, youth and future generations of the world without distinction of any kind such as age, sex, disability, culture, race, ethnicity, origin, migratory status, religion, economic or other status. The global nature of climate change calls for the widest possible cooperation by all countries and their participation in an effective and appropriate international response, with a view to accelerating the reduction of global greenhouse gas emissions. Each country has primary responsibility for its own economic and social development and the role of national policies, domestic resources and development strategies cannot be overemphasized. Developing countries need additional resources for sustainable development. There is a need for significant mobilization of resources from a variety of sources and the effective use of financing, in order to promote sustainable development (for more information: http://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/).

The success of the campaign can be mainly attributed to the involvement of civil society. Together with local administrations, they translate the Mobility Week message into a diverse range of positive, creative and fun activities that attract the interest of the media and the general public. Without the active support from NGOs, public institutions, parents, teachers, schoolchildren, students, employers, commuters, shop owners, local residents and cities of all kind, the campaign would surely have a much smaller impact. This is one of the reasons why cities that want to apply for the annual ‘European Mobility Week Award’ have to be able to demonstrate how they involve citizens and stakeholders.

See also : Participants from Italy