UN-led partnership to accelerate electric mobility shift in 27 countries


With vehicle emissions in the headlights at COP26, the United Nations and Global Environment Facility (GEF) has announced plans to help 27 developing countries accelerate their shift to zero-emissions electric mobility. 

The GEF Global Electric Mobility Program, launched in 2019 with a focus on 17 countries, brings together the UN Environment Programme, the International Energy Agency, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the Asian Development Bank, with financing from the GEF. 

The initiative now is expanding in size and scope to support an additional 10 low- and middle-income countries as they develop national electric mobility roadmaps and targets, policy frameworks, business models, and financing schemes to transition their transportation sectors to electric vehicles. 

“A world where one billion extra vehicles are added to the global vehicle fleet by 2050 is simply not compatible with a world where we limit the global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius,” UNEP executive director Inger Andersen said. “Emissions from the transport sector need to fall rapidly. For this to happen we must make the transition to sustainable, clean and efficient mobility.”  

Transport-related emissions are expected to contribute one-third of energy-related climate emissions by 2050 and have been in focus at COP26 following United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s call for action on ‘coal, cars, cash and trees’. 

“The shift to zero-emissions mobility will be one of the defining changes of the 21st century, as the introduction of the internal combustion engine was in the 20th century,” Carlos Manuel Rodriguez, GEF CEO and Chairperson said. “This global partnership will be crucial in paving the way for low- and middle-income countries to benefit from the shift to electric mobility, while cutting transport emissions, fighting climate change and creating a cleaner environment for their citizens.” 

The IPCC has said that all new vehicles worldwide need to be zero-emissions by 2035 to meet the Paris climate targets. 

While the transition to electric mobility is already underway in countries like Norway, China and the United Kingdom, more than 90 per cent of future vehicle growth is projected to take place in low- and middle-income countries, many of which lack the regulations and incentives needed to promote zero-emission vehicles. 

The GEF Global Electric Mobility Program will complement the existing UNEP Global Electric Mobility Programme, which is supporting the introduction of zero-emission vehicles, including electric buses, cars and two- and three-wheelers in line with the UN Environment Assembly’s Sustainable Mobility Resolution and the Paris Agreement. 

In its initial phase, the GEF Global Electric Mobility Program included Antigua & Barbuda, Armenia, Burundi, Chile, Costa Rica, India, Ivory Coast, Jamaica, Madagascar, Maldives, Peru, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, St. Lucia, Togo, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan. The new countries now joining the program include Bangladesh, Ecuador, Sri Lanka, Albania, Grenada, Indonesia, Jordan, the Philippines, South Africa, and Tunisia, in addition to support for regional initiatives. 

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