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Public-led climate finance model urgently needed to bridge 97% funding gap in Global South transport sector

news Press Release 22 Apr 2024

The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) demands immediate action to address the severe 97% underfunding of sustainable transport in the Global South as revealed by ground-breaking research released today.   

"The hollow climate targets for the Global South can only be met through a robust, public sector-led financing model. The current reliance on blended finance, which aims to mitigate investment risks by combining private and public funds, is failing miserably" said John Mark Mwanika, Co-Chair of the ITF Sustainable Transport Working Group. 

ITF commissioned research shows that the existing investment in sustainable transport in these regions barely scratches the surface, with less than 3 percent of the necessary funds being allocated.  

This shortfall is stark, with the transport sector needing at least $550 billion annually through 2050 to achieve net-zero emissions. In stark contrast, current investments hover around $15 billion annually. 

"The nations of the Global North, as historical major polluters, bear the responsibility to rectify this injustice. We need a seismic shift away from ineffective blended finance towards a new paradigm of public investment-led, sector-specific climate finance platforms” said Mwanika. 

Looking ahead to COP29 in November 2024, where the largest climate finance agreement in history is expected to be forged, it is imperative that this deal translates into tangible, impactful outcomes for critical sectors.   

The ITF is calling for the new climate finance deal to include specific frameworks for sectors such as transport. These frameworks must incorporate comprehensive master plans for sustainable transport, developed through authentic engagement with workers to ensure a just transition, and prioritise grants and concessional loans as the principal financing mechanisms. 

The research was undertaken by John Burant, New Soil Analytics with the support of the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation. 





  • Climate targets in Global South countries are meaningless without new climate finance models for sustainable transport – currently 97% unfunded, new research published today finds.  
  • ITF Proposals for Financing Sustainable Transport:  
  • Overview and assessment of financing options for sustainable transport. A paper written by John Burant, founder of New Soil Analytics, which considers two questions posed by the International Transport Workers’ Federation: What will be the most effective climate finance mechanisms for countries to develop the fiscal space to invest in their key transport sectors and infrastructure? Are there any public-private and/or blended finance mechanisms that can support effective democratic control and oversight?  

About the ITF: The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) is a democratic, affiliate-led federation of transport workers’ unions recognised as the world’s leading transport authority. We fight passionately to improve working lives; connecting trade unions and workers’ networks from 147 countries to secure rights, equality and justice for their members. We are the voice of the almost-20 million women and men who move the world.  

Media contact: Jessica Summers +44 7702 259 612