KISUMU, Kenya, May 19 (Xinhua) -- Municipal authorities in Africa should reconfigure urban planning to boost adoption of non-motorized transport that promotes climate resilience and human health, experts said Thursday at the ninth Africities summit underway in Kenya's western city of Kisumu.
Adelheid Onyango, director of universal health care and healthier populations at the World Health Organization (WHO), stressed the need for African cities to create ample spaces for cycling and walking to reduce their carbon footprint.
"There is a need to have a political commitment to introduce non-motorized means of transport, reduce carbon emissions, pollution and non-communicable diseases," he said.
By investing in green mobility, Onyango said, African cities could reap multiple benefits, including better health outcomes for the population, climate resilience and economic vitality.
Nneka Henry, head of the United Nations Road Safety Fund, said that besides revitalizing Africa's green growth, non-motorized transport will also reduce road accidents and fatalities.
Noting that the continent records 650 deaths every day due to road accidents, Henry said part of the solution lies in reclaiming spaces meant for cycling and walking.
Andre Dzikus, head of urban basic service at the United Nations Human Settlements Program (UN Habitat), said that non-motorized transport in cities should inform future plans to shield them from climate emergencies, pollution and ecological depletion.
He stressed that the sharing of best practices, targeted investments, capacity development and policy realignment are key to boosting uptake of non-motorized transport in African cities.
Juma Assiano, coordinator of the safer cities program at UN Habitat, said that municipal authorities should invest in supportive infrastructure, evidence-based research and public awareness to scale up green mobility.
According to Assiano, the next generation of Africa's civil engineers and urban planners should be trained on designing infrastructure that could facilitate greater uptake of non-motorized transport in cities and towns.