Rethinking Mediterranean sustainable mobility and tourism: report of “Better ways to move, better places to live” workshop

The MED Urban Transports Community organized a workshop to advocate for the improvement of sustainable development initiatives in the Mediterranean, starting from the difficulties encountered in urban mobility plans and in making tourism a real driver for sustainable development.

(Rome, 14 DEC 2018) “We are already late in the Mediterranean and we have to cut emissions” stated Mr Carlos Sanchez Pacheco from Malaga City Council - lead partner in the GO SUMP project- during the workshop organized by the Urban Transports Community during the UNIMED General Assembly, on the 25 October 2018. “Promoting multi-stakeholder, locally centred and participatory approaches can help solving the challenges reported by the Community” continued Mr Sanchez Pacheco.

UNIMED - Union of Mediterranean Universities - introduced the workshop by stressing the value of the results achieved by the Interreg MED communities in transport and tourism for the whole Mediterranean region, both southern and northern shores. In this perspective, representatives of the UNIMED sub-network on transport and logistic contributed to the discussion.

The workshop moderated by EuroCities - the network of major European cities - featured the main achievement of both MED communities in management of urban mobility (as electro-mobility, touristic flows, traffic generated by cruise ships, peculiarities of port cities) and mobility related touristic issues. It also put forward concrete proposals to support the evolution of the pilots towards more comprehensive policies.

Showing data-based evidences is the first step to motivate people and to promote a sustainable development in the Mediterranean. Providing interesting and proven information and highlighting the quality of life improvements, are pivotal aspects to foster participatory processes and involving larger groups into the projects. This wider participation allows, afterwards, to scale-up in the advocacy mission and lobby on decision-makers, claiming for better planned and more integrated solutions to make Mediterranean cities more liveable, both for residents and non-residents. Using a bottom-up and a top-down approach the members of the Interreg MED Urban Transports and Sustainable Tourism Communities drafted ideas to be incorporated in the future projects actions.

CODATU - Cooperation for Urban Mobility in Developing World - presented the preliminary work done for “MED Urban Transports Results Analysis Report” as partner of the GO SUMP Interreg MED project working transversally to improve the visibility and the communication of the Urban Transport Community. This report collects the partial conclusion of the 7 projects belonging to the Urban Transports Community and it highlights how these projects are contributing to improve the sustainability of urban mobility and consequently to reduce the CO2 emission. The report also stresses the difficulties to create and maintain the motivation among citizens has a strong influence on the projects activity and remains one of the most reported challenges among the two Communities.

The workshop featured the contributions of LOCATIONS - Low carbon transport in cruise destination cities, REMEDIO - Regenerating mixed-use Mediterranean urban communities congested by traffic through innovative low carbon mobility solutions, SUMPORT - Sustainable urban mobility in Mediterranean port cities, CAMP-sUmp - Campus sustainable university mobility plans in Mediterranean areas, SIROCCO - Sustainable InterRegional cOastal & Cruise maritime tourism through Cooperation and joint planning, and Prof. Rosario Sinatra from Catania University - UNIMED SubNetwork on Transports&Logistics on a series of interrogatives related to the future and the sustainability of the projects.

The analysis of key questions led the discussion, which brought positive impact of the possibilities to rethink the future of the projects: How to continue to fund the project after the end of the Interreg MED funding? Where does the city or an operator find the money to continue and upscale? Are there private investors available? Is it possible to consider a price of the service and how much the consumer wants to pay? How to gain the public support? How to create measures together with the citizens, the politicians? What is the most difficult thing about convincing the public or the politicians? What are the most transferable solutions in your project/approach?

The most positive aspect emerged from the workshop has been the high replicability of the majority of the testing. The proposals and the examples are very different and include mixed solutions, when referring to the financial aspects, depending on the type of needs and possibilities of each single partner: EU funds, private partnerships or, as Ravenna Municipality from LOCATIONS project, the inclusion of the most urgent measures beforehand in the next year city budget (approved publicly by law). It has been confirmed how the presence of funding helps the measures to exist, as imposing service costs discourages the users. According to REMEDIO, the most relevant feature is the need for the solutions to be local and rooted in the territory in order to make them interesting to the people and politicians, a part from the fact of each city acting at a different pace. Eventually the projects sustained the relevance to be 'honest' about their ultimate intents, and make this information clear since the initial planning phases; this links to the great significance of adopting a participatory approach in a sucssefull way.

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