In 2014, Austria and France launched The Partnership on Cycling Promotion under the Transport, Health and Environment Pan-European Programme (THE PEP), a programme jointly serviced by UNECE (bringing together its work on environment and sustainable transport) and the WHO Regional Office for Europe.
The Partnership represents a clear regional effort to support the integration of cycling as an equal mode of transport into national policy to foster change towards more sustainable, inclusive, safe and healthy policies on transport in the pan-European region. In doing so, it supports implementation of the 2030 Agenda and several of its Sustainable Development Goals, as well as international agreements such as the Paris Agreement on climate change. The main goal of the Partnership has been, since its inception, to develop a Pan-European Master Plan for Cycling Promotion. To date, 25 member States have worked on the development of the Plan and promote the integration of cycling as an equal mode of transport.
At its 16th meeting, taking place this week in Geneva, the Steering Committee of THE PEP will negotiate the draft Master Plan for Cycling Promotion. These discussions will pave the way towards the formal adoption of the Plan as part of the final declaration at the Fifth High-level Meeting on Transport, Health and Environment in Vienna next year.
One day prior to the Steering Committee meeting, on 11 December, the Partnership on Cycling Promotion held its meeting at the Department of Public Instruction in Geneva. The meeting discussed final issues regarding the draft Master Plan, the next steps towards its successful adoption in Vienna and the future direction of the Partnership after the Fifth High-level Meeting. In addition, the Partnership reviewed current cycling activities of various countries in the pan-European region, including inputs from France, Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland. This year the Partnership meeting also included a morning cycling tour of Geneva, during which participants had the opportunity to see and test the cycling infrastructure and services available.
The draft Master Plan in a nutshell
Representatives from UNECE member States are negotiating a draft Pan-European Master Plan for Cycling Promotion to support and meet THE PEP objectives. The Fourth High-level Meeting on Transport, Health and Environment (Paris, 2014) included a decision to initiate the drafting of the master plan.
Designed within the framework of THE PEP Partnership on Cycling Promotion, the draft Master Plan provides recommendations and support to national and local authorities to effectively integrate and implement policies that recognize cycling as an equal mode of transport, a sustainable solution and a crucial vector for improving the health and overall quality of life of citizens. The Plan sets a number of objectives to implement in the region by 2030. These include the doubling of cycling rates, the development and implementation of cycling policies at national level, an increase in cycling safety to halve the number of injuries and fatalities per kilometre cycled every year, and the integration of cycling into health policies.
The adoption of the Pan-European Master Plan for Cycling Promotion and its implementation at national and local scales would bring considerable social, economic, health and environmental benefits. It will unlock the economic and social potential of cycling as an equal mode of transport, stimulating job creation and sustainable economic development generated by the cycling industry and tourism. It would promote a healthier mode of transport due to increased physical activity and improved mental health. The environmental benefits of increased cycling are also pivotal, as increased cycling will contribute considerably to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and air and noise pollution across the region.