Portrait of little girl with security helmet on the head sitting in bike seat and her mother with bicycle on the background. Safe and child protection concept.

Imagine car free cities by 2030: civil society groups challenge world governments to dream big

Can you imagine your city without cars? Replaced by cycling and strong public transport networks by 2030. That is one of the visions being put forward by civil society groups ahead of the third United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA).

A zero waste economy, green and social banking, and tax incentives for organic farming are some of the other ideas which will form part of the input which will go before government officials at the high-level UN meeting.

The third session of UNEA will be held in Nairobi from 4-6 December 2017. The Assembly is expected to deliberate on the impact of pollution to society and ecosystems under the theme of “Towards a Pollution Free Planet”

European civil society has prepared for this meeting. Together with organizations from the Caucasus and Central Asia they met on the 9th and 10th of November 2017 in Hungary. The meeting, co-organised by the European Environmental Bureau, ended with a joint statement.

The evidence from the UNEA publication Towards a Pollution Free Planet” indicates that no level of pollution is safe, that much of the damage done by pollution is irreversible but, also, that pollution is manmade and thus completely preventable, and that urgent action is needed for a transformation to a pollution free planet, based on principles of environmental sustainability and human rights.

The statement calls on UNEA to increase civil society support and space, by reversing the shrinking space and funds for NGOs to engage with governments at UNEA.  It lists a range of demands to tackle pollution to air water and soil – such as promoting agroecology while phasing out the manufacturing, import, sale and use of highly hazardous pesticides but also to take measures to achieve car-free cities by 2030.

The joint statement is available here:

UNEA 3 European civil society statement