The Walk21 Foundation has supported the development and delivery of effective walking policy in Europe and internationally for more than 20 years. Post-Brexit, however, the UK-based not-for-profit organisation is limited to playing a central role in improving walkability in Europe, and a new European-based organisation is required.
The Foundation has created Walk21 Europe Foundation, registered in The Netherlands, in response. The aim of the organisation is to ensure the progress made to date continues and Walk21 can support governments and cities in Europe to develop robust strategies to keep people on their feet; protect pedestrians better from traffic; and encourage the walking experience to be more comfortable, equitable and enjoyable. Globally, 50% of countries have a walking policy at some level and in Europe two-thirds have a relevant policy or commitment in their climate nationally determined contributions. Additionally, in Europe 79% of people walk to get from place to place as their primary mode of transport every day.
Walk21 Europe aims to build an EU-wide network to build capacity, engage relevant stakeholders, curate regional and local policy development, and train practitioners to coordinate the development and delivery of walking policies.
The strategic plan outlines that, specifically, Walk21 Europe will:
Engage and create a Europe-wide network
Walk21 Europe will build on the UK-based existing international network to connect with the relevant stakeholders, to identify existing and replicable policy successes. The barriers to better walking outcomes will also be characterised with special attention to the potential impact on Europe’s levels of physical activity, road safety, public transport accessibility, infrastructure comfort and user satisfaction.
Walk21 Europe will look to evaluate the existing walking policy for effectiveness, impact and scalability to inform better policy development in the future.
Informed by the evidence of what works, Walk21 Europe intends to publish country profiles and case studies of good practice on the Walk21 ‘Pathways to Walkability’ map of walking action.
Walk21 Europe will organise a masterclass series to build capacity in each country and support the parallel review and development of effective national and city policy. Further resources and tools will be made available, informed by the extensive library of evidence held by the Walk21 UK Foundation and from papers presented at the Walk21 conference series.
Walk21 Europe is managed by a Board of Directors who work in a voluntary capacity to steer and support the delivery of Walk21’s charitable objectives in Europe.
In accordance with Dutch law Walk21 Europe is governed by a Board of Directors who have responsibility to:
- Ensure Walk21 Europe is carrying out the purposes for which it was set up
- Make sure Walk21 Europe complies with its governing document and charity law
- Act in Walk21 Europe’s best interests
- Manage Walk21 Europe’s resources responsibly
- Act with reasonable care and skill
- Ensure accountability
- Reduce the risk of liability.