Low-carbon quick wins: Integrating short-term sustainable transport options in climate policy in low-income countries

Stefan Bakker*, Gary Haq, Karl Peet, Sudhir Gota, Nikola Medimorec, Alice Yiu, Gail Jennings, John Rogers

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In low income countries (LICs) in Africa and Asia per capita transport greenhouse gas emissions are relatively low but are expected to grow. Therefore, a substantial reduction in projected increases is required to bring emissions in line with long-term global climate objectives. Literature on how LICs are integrating climate change mitigation and sustainable transport strategies is limited. Key drivers of transport policy include improving accessibility, congestion, air quality, energy security, with reducing greenhouse gas emissions being of lower priority. This paper assesses the current status, feasibility and potential of selected low-carbon transport measures with high sustainable development benefits that can be implemented in the short to medium term, socalled 'quick wins'. It examines to what extent ten such quick wins are integrated in climate change strategies in nine low- and middle-income countries in Africa and South Asia. The research method comprises expert interviews, an online questionnaire survey of experts and policymakers in the focus countries, and a review of literature and government plans. Results indicate that sustainable urban transport policies and measures are considered high priority, with vehicle-related measures such as fuel quality and fuel economy standards and electric two- and three-wheelers being of key relevance. In existing national climate change strategies, these quick wins are integrated to a certain extent; however, with better coordination between transport and energy and environment agencies such strategies can be improved. A general conclusion of this paper is that for LICs, quick wins can connect a 'top-down' climate perspective with a 'bottom-up' transport sector perspective. A knowledge gap exists as to the mitigation potential and sustainable development benefits of these quick wins in the local context of LICs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4369
Number of pages17
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Issue number16
Publication statusPublished - 12 Aug 2019

Bibliographical note

© 2019 by the authors.


  • Climate change strategies
  • Low-carbon transport
  • Low-income countries
  • Paris Agreement
  • Sustainable mobility
  • Transport policy

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