A Global Dialogue on Decarbonising Transport

An overview of the success of Transport and Climate Change Week 2021, which brought together over 1500 participants across almost 100 countries.

A switch in the transport sector is crucial to achieve our climate targets. The global climate crisis can only be resolved cooperatively, and learning from each other is so important.

Svenja Schulze, German Federal Minister for Environment

After one week filled with inputs, knowledge exchange, and fruitful discussions, this year’s Transport and Climate Change Week comes to an end.

The event brought together more than 1500 peers and partners from about 100 countries to facilitate knowledge sharing and training. GIZ gathered decision makers from 20 partner countries in designated delegations to enable networking through peer-to-peer exchange. Throughout the week, in 60 events across 12 time zones, 200 speakers participated in various formats to discuss the role of carbon-neutral transport in reaching the climate objectives set by the Paris Agreement.

Graphic Recorder, Anne Lehmann, maps out contributions and discussions from around the world on the wall of ideas in the studio in Berlin.

“Avoid, shift, and improve” was the key moto of the event, which aimed to raise awareness of the need to decarbonise the transport sector, reduce distances travelled, electrify public transport systems, and highlight the potential of Power-to-X in providing energy solutions for aviation and shipping.

A Session Overview

The event kicked off on Monday with Dirk Messner, President of the Federal Environment Agency, addressing the urgent need for the transport sector in Germany to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. He emphasised the government’s commitment to this objective, with a coronavirus recovery package that includes 5.4 billion euros allocated for green energy solutions in the mobility sector – including electrification and shifting passenger transport to rail.

Germany’s commitment to cleaner modes of transport was echoed by partner countries around the world during the Changing Transport Showtime sessions. Representatives from the Netherlands and India reiterated the need to invest in cycling and walking routes; Columbian and Peruvian representatives stressed the benefits of electrifying public transport; and experts from Mexico, Ecuador and Brazil emphasised investment in national transport infrastructure as crucial for equitable economic growth.

In the Future-Proof Smart City Urban Logistics session on Tuesday, the impact of COVID-19 on urban freight was analysed internationally – particularly with reference to the rise of E-Commerce and the disruption of supply chains. Representatives from China, India, and South Africa presented E-solutions and policy shifts to decarbonise freight, ranging from E-bikes to connect rural communities in South Africa, to implementing unified emission regulations in China.

Nadja Taeger (GIZ) and Friedel Sehlleier (GIZ) introduce the workshops on Monday

The Hydrogen Hour from Tuesday to Thursday addressed the opportunities and apprehensions of hydrogen as a solution to defossilise emissions – particularly in aviation. Heino von Meyer from the International PtX Hub Berlin moderated Wednesday’s session, in which Direct Air Capture and desalination plants were presented as solutions to sustainably source the CO2 and water needed for Power to X – with both technologies easy to upscale with the support of investors. Jekaterina Boening from the NGO Transport and Environment, and an active member of the Women in Green Hydrogen network, forecasted that Power-to-Liquid quotas in the aviation sector will drastically reduce the cost of green hydrogen in the future.

Meet Rudi

Another highlight of the week was Bernd Riedel’s presentation of ‘Future Ahoy!’, an infographic comic novel that visually maps sustainable transport developments in Germany through the eyes of Rudi the space dog. Rudi aims to bring policy developments in transport to a wider audience through story-telling and anecdotal discussion. For more information and to download: www.changing-transport.org/future-ahoy

A double-page spread from Future Ahoy! Co-organised by Ellery Studio and Agora Verkehrswende

Global Discussions and Exchange

Throughout the week, there were regional formats of exchange in Latin America, Eastern Europe, Africa, and Asia. Delegates had the opportunity to meet one-to-one or in group hubs as part of the Expert Clinics and World Café sessions to discuss topics such as public transport financing, digitisation, and data analysis.

In addition, the high-level roundtable on Thursday evening, hosted by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, enabled policymakers from around the world to weigh-in on best governance practices to enhance the safety, accessibility, and efficiency of digitised transport.

Ongoing two and three wheeler workshop by representatives from Asia and co-organised with UN Environment

Behind the Scenes

Backstage at the Berlin-based studio, the technicians and event team coordinated over 60 sessions across 12 time zones via three different formats: onsite, online, and on-demand. Throughout the week the studio, based at the GIZ Berlin Representation, was buzzing with activity and anticipation as speakers prepped, delegates checked-in, and global panels were seamlessly streamed across the globe.
Get more impressions here.

GIZ and Sendewerk monitor the stage from behind the scenes

Transport and Climate Change Week is funded by the International Climate Initiative of the Federal Ministry for Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety.

A special thank you goes to GIZ’s partners and contributors e.g. for organising thematic workshops, including e.g. the German Federal Environmental Agency, the BMZ funded Transformative Urban Mobility Initiative, UN Environment Programme, the ICLEI City Network, Agora Verkehrswende, and the MobiliseYourCity Partnership jointly funded by Germany, France and the European Union.

Nadja Taeger and Ernesto Feilbogen moderating the daily Changing Transport Showtime