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Speeches & Transcripts February 16, 2022

Opening Remarks by World Bank Vice President for Infrastructure Riccardo Puliti during the 2022 Transforming Transportation Conference

Thank you, Femi for the introduction. I am honored to welcome all of you to this year’s Transforming Transportation. For nearly two decades, this conference has become the top international platform to discuss challenges and solutions for the development of the transport sector. Thank you for joining.

I am so proud to continue the tradition of co-hosting this conference with our esteemed colleagues at the World Resources Institute’s Ross Center for Sustainable Cities. I want to thank them for the continued partnership. 

It’s exciting to see how much this conference has expanded; and I’m happy to see that the virtual format is enabling us to connect with wider and more diverse audiences than ever before.

Although this is my first time attending Transforming Transportation as World Bank Group Infrastructure Vice President, I am no stranger to the conference and the positive impact it has had on global knowledge exchange. It is known for generating and elevating solutions for some of the biggest challenges in the transport sector, especially what developing countries are facing today. 

This year, the theme of Climate Centered-Mobility for Sustainable Recovery is particularly relevant. It encapsulates the dual challenge countries face: ensuring citizens and businesses have access to efficient, reliable, safe, and affordable mobility, in ways that have smaller climate footprint. 

COVID-19 has made this equation even more complicated.

With so much at stake, we must push for better and more comprehensive mobility solutions that do more than simply help us return to the pre-pandemic status quo.

Even in that pre-pandemic world, the facts were stark: A billion people were living more than 2km away from an all-weather road; One in six women globally avoided looking for jobs out of fear of harassment in transit; road crashes claimed over 1.35 million lives every year, 93% of them in developing countries. 

The disruption brought on by COVID provides an opportunity to reimagine our approach to mobility, prioritize low-carbon transport, and make significant changes to the way we move people and goods; to the way cities are planned; and to how transport systems are designed. 

One promising development is the ongoing transition to electric mobility.  

But electric vehicles are just one of the many solutions we need to deploy.  

I am proud that the World Bank is working at the forefront of using digital connectivity, data platforms, automation, and alternative energy to drive change in the transport sector. 

Further, every transport project financed by the Bank is assessed to measure its GHG impact and climate co-benefits to steer investments towards more sustainable climate-friendly projects.

For example:

In Perú, the Bank developed Lima’s new Bicycle Plan, which features more than 1,000 kilometers of protected cycle lanes. 

In Bamako and Ouagadougou, two- and three-wheeled vehicles have become the dominant mode of individual transport. We are providing technical advice on electrifying these vehicles, which will help reduce local air pollution.

And, in Quito, Ecuador, the World Bank supported the construction of the country’s first metro line. By moving passenger traffic from private cars and diesel buses to modern electric trains, the project will save an estimated 65,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions per year. 

Transport is likely to evolve more in the next decade than it has in the last half century, and forums like this one are essential for fueling the next generation of ideas, knowledge, and solutions. 

Over the course of the next two days, let us take full advantage of the opportunity to focus on these challenges and determine what it will take to unlock solutions to transport challenges in developing countries. 

Thank you all for joining Transforming Transportation this year – I look forward to seeing the outcomes of our collaboration. 

Back to you, Femi.


Transforming Transportation 2022