UNDP Zambia and Ministry of Local Government and Housing on 17th July 2019 signed the Project Document for Pedestrians First Zambia project. The project focuses on encouraging safe walking and cycling infrastructure and is a catalyst to making Lusaka a livable and more inclusive city.
UNDP Zambia Resident Representative ai, Mr. Israel Dessalegne, explained that the project is a timely innovation that will bring multi-stakeholder involvement to focus on pedestrians and cyclists. He underscored that Pedestrians First Zambia will contribute towards achieving a number of SDGs related to Good Health and Well-Being, Climate Action, Sustainable Cities and Communities, to name a few.
The Pedestrian First Zambia project advocates for more pedestrian/bicycle/wheelchair safe infrastructure throughout Zambia and change attitudes toward non-motorized transport (NMT). The project aims to contribute to the achievement of the SDGs by reducing inequalities amongst road users, enhancing livable cities, decreasing air pollution and improving access to clean energy and wellbeing for a healthier population.
Safe walking and cycling infrastructure, not only will decrease the cost of transport of the disadvantaged but will also contribute to people’s health and have positive benefits on economic productivity. The project will be a catalyst for converting Lusaka into a livable green city that will encourage business investment, especially in the tertiary and service sectors, and contribute to reduced carbon emissions. Ultimately, this will contribute towards transforming Zambia into a nation of healthy and productive people as outlined in the 2017-2021 7NDP.
Ministry of Local Government and Housing, Permanent Secretary, Mr. Amos Malupenga, welcomed the Pedestrians First Zambia project. Signing the Project Document with UNDP RR, ai Israel Dessalegne, Mr. Malupenga noted that the project is a welcome initiative to address challenges faced in Lusaka city by pedestrians and cyclists. He explained that once the pilot phase in Lusaka was successful, it would be exciting to see the activities replicated throughout Zambia.
Transport and communications play a critical role in the growth and development of Zambia’s economy. Over the period 2010 and 2016 the growth of this sector has averaged above 7 percent. In Zambia, transportation costs are among the highest in the sub-region working against the welfare of people particularly the poor. The 7th National Development Plan recognizes that while transport and communications are critical to economic growth and poverty reduction, if inappropriately designed, transport strategies and programmes result in networks and services that worsen the conditions of the poor, harm the environment, ignore the changing needs of users, and exceed the capacity of public finances to maintain them.