Walking policy training announced at COP27

New policy training is announced today by a partnership of Walk21 and Volvo Research and Education Foundation (VREF) to support up to 56 national governments with the development of effective national walking policies that deliver improvements to health and well-being, mitigate climate change, and reduce road fatalities.

The policy training is being announced on 15th November 2022 at 3pm, during the event titled The Role of Active Travel and Public Transport in the New Mobility Paradigm, at COP27 in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt. The announcement responds to a core ambition of the COP Presidency call for support for Low Carbon Transport for Urban Sustainability (LOTUS)[1].

The training will be coordinated by Walk21 and operate between March and June 2023. Walking policy support will target 56 national governments in the Transport, Health and Environment Pan-European Programme (THE PEP).

By signing the Vienna Declaration Building forward better by transforming to new, clean, safe, healthy and inclusive mobility and transport at the 5th High Level Meeting on Transport, Health and Environment of THE PEP in 2021, national ministers of the pan-European Region agreed to ‘Develop and implement national walking and cycling policies in every country’ in parallel to the development of an active travel masterplan for the region to be adopted in 2025[2].

Integral to the training programme, will be three new pieces of research:

  • Review and evaluation of the existing national walking policies in the pan-European region;
  • Collation of the published recommended actions that a national government should make that are relevant to better walking outcomes;
  • Case study examples of effective walking policy processes at national or sub regional level.

National government active in national walking policies from the pan-European region include, Armenia, Austria, Czechia, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Israel, Malta, The Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, Türkiye and the UK represented by Scotland. Representatives from as many countries from the pan-European region as possible will also be encouraged to join the group.

Bronwen Thornton, CEO of Walk21, said:

‘We are delighted that the collaboration with VREF to set up this Walking Policy Training. It enables us to respond positively to the many calls from governments that we have received seeking the knowledge, processes and tools that are required to produce effective national walking policies.’

Henrik Nolmark, Director of Volvo Research and Educational Foundations, said:

‘We are specifically supporting Walk21 with this programme as part of our commitment to strengthen international research and research capacity on walking as a mode of transport, in ways that can contribute to more equitable access and sustainable mobility in urban transport.’


  1. Walk21 is an international not-for-profit which supports everyone’s right to walk in a safe, inclusive, and welcoming environment by providing evidence, tools, training and accreditation to a global network of concerned communities, politicians, academics and practitioners. The aim is to make cities more walkable to increase access to basic services; enhance road safety and public health; improve gender equality; and ensure accessible, equitable, sustainable transport systems. More information can be found here: https://walk21.com/
  2. VREF, the Volvo Research and Educational Foundations, is the collective name under which four foundations collaborate to finance research and education in the areas of transportation, environment and energy. Since the turn of the Century, these foundations – through VREF – have focused on the area Future Urban Transport (FUT) with the subtitle, “How to deal with complexity.” The overriding goal is to strengthen accessibility for all groups while at the same time radically reduce negative local and global environmental impacts of transportation. More information can be found here: https://vref.se/about-vref/
  3. The VREF Walking program aims to encompass research and other initiatives that focus on walking both in itself and as part of a travel chain that also includes other modes of transport, such as public transport. The scientific profile of the program is built around four themes: Conceptualizing and critically appraising walking as a mode of transport; Walking as transport in everyday urban life; equity issues; Governance, policy and urban planning for walking as a mode of transport; Services, tools and business models to facilitate walking as a mode of transport. More information can be found here: https://vref.se/walking/
  4. Transport-Health-Environment Pan-European Programme (THE PEP) is a unique tripartite pan-European policy platform bringing together the ministries of transport, health and environment on an equal footing. THE PEP is supporting the transformation to climate friendly and health promoting mobility sharing good practices and developing joint projects in the 56 countries of the pan-European region. It is jointly serviced by  the Sustainable Transport and Environment Divisions of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and the World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe (WHO/Europe). Countries that will be invited for the first national walking policy support programme: Albania, Andorra, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Moldova, North Macedonia, Romania, Russian Federation, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Türkiye, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, United States of America and Uzbekistan. More information can be found here: https://unece.org/transport-health-environment-pep-0


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