Dakar’s Declaration and Roadmap on Sustainable Urban Mobility

Publication Wednesday 26 October 2022

DAKAR’s declaration of non-governmental actors following Sustainable Mobility and Climate Week #SMDC2022

CODATU – Climate Chance

DAKAR, SENEGAL, 3rd to 7th of OCTOBER 2022

In Dakar, on this Sustainable Mobility and Climate Week held from the 3rd to the 7th of October 2022, actors from all around the globe – more particularly from the African continent, host of the next COP27 – have gathered to renew their commitment and reassert the determining role of territorial action in developing sustainable mobility and mitigating climate change as much as adapting to its impacts.

The science is clear; the last IPCC report unequivocally states that climate change is a concrete threat to every continent. A temperature increase above 1,5°C will have serious and irreversible consequences, hindering our adaptation capabilities and seriously threatening the balance and stability of our natural ecosystems as much as our human societies. The year 2022 and its wake of natural disasters are as such an eloquent reminder.

Participants to the Dakar summit, coming from every category of climate and mobility stakeholders, reassert the key priorities that they wish to see at the heart of the COP 27 debates, while reiterating that global warming is a direct threat to world peace, particularly because of the food and energy insecurities it generates.

We recall the need for stressing particular attention to adaptation issues and shifting the balance between investing in mitigation initiatives and funding adaptation measures.

We reiterate the need to strengthen access to all types of funding at the local level, and the necessity to bring innovation in the green financing sector, which must become more open to developing countries. We insist on taking into account the key role of local authorities, which often are best placed to implement holistic and locally tailored policies, in close collaboration with its local economic and social actors.

In that respect, capacity building (training and project engineering) is of upmost importance.

We stress the importance of firm action towards ensuring the right for all and in all places to sustainable mobility, which is a major prerequisite for accessing education, employment, and individual freedom. In that end, priority must be given to all innovations and financing schemes which favor alternative solutions to individual use of carbon-emitting modes of transport. We recall the importance of public and active mobility policies in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

We want, more than ever, to accelerate the energy transition, in an extremely tensed geopolitical context, in large part due to the increasingly weakened availability of fossil fuel supplies, that affects the entire global economy.

We urge all necessary changes to be implemented with constant care for justice and equity. We remind that States do not have the same degree of responsibility in the current state of climate change, nor the same resources to overcome its challenges. The same principle also applies at individual level, and we emphasize the need to take gender, generational, and regional inequalities into account.

Lastly, let us remember that providing a global response to the challenges posed by climate change calls for a world with regulation, for the definition of shared objectives and strategies between States that embed climate stabilization, emissions reduction targets, adaptation measures and solutions to the losses and damages suffered by the most vulnerable countries. World peace and abiding by the United Nations Charter by all is an absolute prerequisite to the success of the Paris Agreements, which implementation must be accelerated and expressed in practical and ambitious actions, in particular on the African continent.


CODATU’s roadmap on sustainable urban mobility

XVIII CODATU conference

DAKAR, SENEGAL, 3rd to 7th of OCTOBER 2022

After more than 40 years of work, discussions, research, and conferences, that have brought together a wide variety of stakeholders from the urban mobility sector in emerging and developing countries (policymakers, practitioners, academics, experts, international donors, NGOs…),

After the CODATU declaration in Lomé in 2002, which put forward principles and actions to inform urban mobility policies, and the CODATU declaration at the Habitat III World Summit, which advocated for “the accessibility that we need”,

In view of the significant challenges that lie ahead for cities from the South, including urban, energy and digital transitions, social and climate transformations, globalization and metropolization, and pandemics,

Recognizing that urban mobility has become a priority issue in the cities from the South, on which national and local public authorities are particularly expected, and with rippling effects on the institutions’ themselves if not catered for; and convinced that urban mobility is an essential component to fight against climate change and the significant pollution levels found in every agglomeration,

Given the urgency to capitalize on the experience of cities that have long been confronted with issues of mobility, to avoid repeating the mistakes of the past, and to adopt effective and virtuous public policies, it is necessary to implement policy measures that are nowadays widely acknowledged: integrated mobility and urban planning, centered on people and their needs, limiting private car use; strengthening of political institutions and coordination mechanisms between city stakeholders; search for and implementation of a perennial financing model for public transport systems that face a constant need for development; integrated investments following a multimodal approach of mobility that takes properly into account active modes and urban pollution; recognizing the importance of the paratransit (informal) sector and integrating its professionalized operators within a multimodal system; creating local observatories to gather core data on urban mobility; taking into account the much needed safety and gender questions in the professional transport sector and tackling sexual and sexist harassment;

Convinced that urban mobility, both of people and goods, is an essential component to fight against climate deregulation, hold global warming below 1,5°C as stated in the Paris Agreement, and hinder the significant pollution levels found in every agglomeration.

The following roadmap is adopted by CODATU as a result of the Dakar Conference held from the 3rd to the 7th of October 2022. Relevant for the next decade, the proposed action plan will be monitored via an observatory, to be immediately set up by CODATU and its partners. Its purpose will be to analyze on the ground the implementation of all the recommendations. The observatory will publish its data and findings every year for each paragraph where observatory is mentioned.

We successively address every category of actors able to contribute to the implementation of this declaration:

  • National governments of developing countries and countries in economic transition
  • Local governments and local authorities of cities from the “Global South”, in charge of mobility issues
  • International financial institutions
  • National and local governments from the “Global North”

Without ignoring the significant efforts made in recent years by many governments, policies and practices sometimes lack ambition and have proved too brittle to achieve sustainable urban mobility. Acknowledging the failures of mobility policies in the Global North, largely responsible for the current climate crisis, and to avoid pitfalls and unnecessary, inadequate, or ineffective public spending, we call on every decision-maker to remain extremely vigilant when:

road infrastructures are designed with the sole purpose of personal-use vehicles in mind, and don’t properly consider active and collective transport modes, nor freight transport or urban logistics specificities. Often poorly built into a comprehensive urban development planning strategy, they tend to accentuate urban sprawl, considerably harmful to the sustainable development of the city.

urban planning does not consider the actual behavior of the real estate market and neglects the needs of the most vulnerable groups.

land value capture generated around transport project is seized by private interests while it should be primarily captured by public entities to finance transport.

new cities are disconnected from the preexisting spatial organization. They then reflect a disengagement from improving the existing city and neglect their multimodal accessibility.

collective transport capability projects are perceived as investment projects disconnected from the inhabitants needs. Segregated, they are not properly integrated in a planned and global transport system.

– decentralization is incomplete and blurs responsibilities for urban mobility matters.

– institutional transport solutions are based on the provision of buses without providing perennial funding for operations.

– the lack of rigor and ambition in the attempts at regulating the urban transport private sector, more particularly the paratransit (“informal”) sector, is at the source of many and various issues: poor quality of service, corruption, fraud, accidentology, lack of service in some areas, pollution, inadequate fare policies etc. However, paratransit transport truly belongs in the organization of a performant metropolitan-wide transport system. It is not only the most suitable solution for feeding main transport axes and servicing districts and peripheral areas, but also a major component of its local economy.

– ongoing efforts against climate change will be in vain if cities from the Global North and from the Global South do not quickly engage, each for its part, on more sustainable paths. Urban mobility is an essential leverage to influence these trajectories. It shapes megalopolis and their future as much as secondary cities and peri-urban areas. By 2050, the African population living in cities will increase by close to one billion people, which makes Africa’s urbanization a considerable challenge for our planet’ sustainable development.


We call for a renewed solidarity and cooperation effort so that the South can: benefit from the expertise and experience from the North; finance without delay the infrastructures crucial to the development of collective modes of transportation and active modes; organize cities of tomorrow that conciliate both local development and energy and climate challenges. Cities from the North will also be able to benefit from the feedback and experimentations conducted in cities from the South.

For this reason, we are calling upon the Global North and Global South to an extensive and joint endevor:

To national governments of developing countries and countries in economic transition:

  1. In general, the attention given to pedestrians and active modes in cities should be a priority. They often represent more than half of the mobility in terms of modal share and should legitimately take up a proportional share of the public space. We ask for no longer building or rehabilitating urban road infrastructures without thinking quality and safe bicycle lanes and pedestrian walkways. Observatory
  2. For the professionalization of the paratransit (“informal”) sector, where tremendous progress can be achieved with little means. In each city we call for the implementation of a discussion forum with the paratransit sector, with the aim of improving the service to passengers, upgrading work conditions and service operations, and creating pilot initiatives for modernization. Observatory
  3. For the training of all stakeholders and for research on urban mobility systems. Competences are crucial to design and manage projects, monitor, organize and integrate a mobility system and its operations: operators, organizing authorities, consultancy firms, etc. This skills base will be key for each territory to develop its own sustainable solutions. Observatory
  4. For safety and gender issues in transport systems (from training its professionals on gender-specific uses and challenges, particularly on sexual and sexist harassment, to the feminization of employment and training). More generally, it is about making mobility systems inclusive to all. Observatory
  5. For decarbonization: urban mobility must progressively become less and less dependent on oil, by acting on the offer but also on the demand through a relevant urban structuration. Observatory
  6. For the implementation of national and local observatories that enable to better understand the inhabitants’ needs, guide policies, and evaluate their efficiency by co-funding the implementation of such initiatives. Observatory
  7. For the structuration and densification of the cities of tomorrow around strong collective transport axes, while planning for land reserves along these axes and secondary centers, organized around multimodal transit hubs rich in services. Every city of more than one million inhabitants should at least establish an urban extension plan that includes mobility planning, representing a policy to structure the city with strong axes and secondary poles. Observatory
  8. For the construction of a perennial financing mechanisms for urban mobility, that relies on dynamic, balanced, and sustainable economic models, and which are based on the many existing practices of the long-urbanized countries. No sustainable progress will be possible without it. The virtuous and powerful recommended policy consists of progressively implementing limitation and taxation measures on individual motorized transport, simultaneously with facilitating and financing public transport and ambitious fare policies. Observatory
  9. For the effective management of the mobility system. It is imperative to give cities, decentralized or state entities, the competences, human and financial resources with clear performance objectives on the expected service. With or without decentralization, the allocation of responsibilities must be clearly delimited for every urban mobility issue, including at a minimum: parking, public space management, active modes, urban roads maintenance, organization of the paratransit and institutionalized public transport system. The institutions in charge must be dotted with the necessary means and authority to implement their mission, on a spatial scale covering the employment basin. Observatory
  10. In case of donation of buses, for long term results by following the principles of the “CODATU-GART reformed rolling stock donation Charter”. Observatory
  11. Prior to implementing large structuring projects or policies, we generally recommend seeking international experience and comprehensive advice. CODATU comprises a strategic board (“council of elders”), neutral and independent, that can be consulted to this end.

To local governments and local authorities of cities from the “South”, in charge of mobility issues:

  1. Cities from the world must cooperate much more extensively. Only through long-term experience sharing and exchanges between technicians and decision-makers, will the Global South be able to avoid the mistakes of the Global North, and design its own path to simultaneously face the current urban and energy transition challenges. The fight against global climate change, initiated by cities from the North, will be in vain if cities from the South are not themselves supported to tackle all at once their mobility, climate impacts and adaptation issues. Decentralized city to city cooperation is invaluable, but various other exchange and partnership modalities are possible and will be followed by the International Club for local Transport Organizing Authorities. In particular, mentoring/“buddy” systems between local authorities can be an effective channel for collaboration. Observatory
  2. For establishing effective local governance for urban mobility is inherent to the success of every project. It must be endorsed with clear competences and the ability to exercise them, possess adequate and perennial financing mechanisms, have the capacity to plan the future of mobility and to influence the decisions regarding urban development and logistics. This local planning process will be able to benefit from the experience and tools developed by MobiliseYourCity. The creation and development of local transport organizing authorities within territories with functional boundaries, such as the employment basin, must be envisioned as a crucial, incremental, and foundational process. Observatory
  3. For the implementation of conditions that ensure an efficient operation of collective transport networks; providing road facilities favoring bus-use, professionalizing the contracting process with operators based on operational performance objectives, and rigor in the acquisition of rolling stock, are three absolutely necessary conditions to the improvement of urban mobility. Observatory
  4. For the creation of urban mobility observatories and data gathering initiatives, that enable to better understand the population needs and evaluate the efficacy of established policies and investments, which is a vital prerequisite to other projects. To gain access to open and standardized data on urban mobility in African cities, we encourage authorities to adopt the “pledge agreement” of DigitalTransport4Africa. Observatory
  5. Air quality degradation and pollution are concerning public health issues. At a minimum, cities of over one million inhabitants should establish a monitoring center for air quality in support of active policy towards reducing pollution. Observatory
  6. Human resources are a determining factor in the capacity of local authorities to effectively organize and improve the overall quality of mobility systems. Special attention is to be paid to this topic upstream of any project, especially through training and skills transfer. Observatory
  7. At the highest decision-making level, and upstream of structuring projects or envisaged policies, technical expertise and international experience can favor the essential emergence of a political vision. Peer-to-peer exchanges, professional networks and CODATU strategic board (“council of elders”) can be mobilized for this purpose.

To international financial institutions (IFI)

  1. We can only endorse the IFI engagement towards collective transport, a component that is crucial in mobility projects. Efforts engaged must follow a global approach (infrastructure development as well as governance, studies, planning, strengthening of the local contractors’ ecosystem, intermodality, urban integration, decarbonation, operations’ conditions, maintenance, etc.). Observatory
  2. We call for reviewing with much consideration urban mobility infrastructure projects that would not fit into the systemic vision of a metropolitan-wide multimodal transport system and would not consider active modes. Observatory
  3. For each large city where a set of donors intervenes, coordination mechanisms must be established in the form of a platform gathering the local authority and the donors. When a planning initiative exists, such as Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans (SUMP) or National Urban Mobility Plans (NUMP) (MobiliseYourCity), it must become the reference framework in which projects and structured fundings are enshrined. Observatory
  4. Capacity building and training, often neglected, must be an important component of every urban transport structuring project. In every project, at least 5% of the total amount must be consecrated to technical assistance, training, support to the transport organizing authority and ex ante and ex post monitoring mechanisms. Observatory
  5. No project must be launched without guarantees of sustainable long-term financing of operations and without a structure of the underlying economic model. Observatory
  6. Prior to structuring projects or envisaged policies, we recommend a dialogue with CODATU’s strategic board (“council of elders”).

To national and local governments from the “North”

  1. Development aid must reach 0.7% of GNP and prioritize sustainable urban development. Observatory
  2. National initiatives must incentivize cities and companies from the North to share their experience with the cities from the South, such as the “1% for urban transport” policy adopted in France. Observatory
  3. Local governments responsible for urban mobility must develop cooperation programs with cities from the South, as it is their responsibility to share their experience and contribute to the alliance of cities across the globe to tackle with them planetary challenges. Observatory