The Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport, United Nations Development Programme, Lalitpur Metropolitan City, Kantipur Media Group and Cycle City Network Nepal have jointly launched a campaign to promote cycling and other environment-friendly practices in the country.

The initiative, which will kick off with a cycle rally in Lalitpur on January 9, will promote sustainable urban mobility and environment-friendly lifestyle.

“Cycling should be included in the development programmes where stakeholders encourage the use of the bicycle as a means of fostering sustainable development. It is a means to access schools, health facilities, and to keep fit young and old, rich and poor alike,” said UNDP Resident Representative Ayshanie Medagangoda-Labe.

Lalitpur Mayor Chiribabu Maharjan hailed the campaign as a step forward towards building healthier cities.

“As the first city to have initiated cycle lanes, I believe it makes great sense to initiate the cycle campaign from Lalitpur. We look forward to building healthier cities together,” he said.

The Nepal government plans to cut down the fossil fuel by the country’s transport sector by 50 percent by 2050 in an effort to improve the air quality. 

Gopal Prasad Sigdel, joint secretary at the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport, said promoting cycling was an “immediate and low-cost” way to reach that target.

“Promoting cycling makes a strong case for sustainability of Nepal’s existing and emerging cities,” he added.

Mahesh Swar, assistant general manager of Kantipur Media Group, expressed hope that the campaign will encourage people to switch to cycling as an alternative mode of transport in city areas.

“We believe that this campaign would be helpful in bringing about a transformation for the good of our environment and public health,” he said.

Shailendra Dongol, president of Cycle City Network Nepal, said the campaign will offer opportunities for private sector companies to sponsor, invest and experiment on a number of businesses around cycling as well as other environment friendly practices such as recycling and plantation.

The cycle campaign will also be backed up and supported by a wide range of partners, including Yeti Airlines, Sano Paila, GD Labs and Research and Cycling Cities, India. More partners and sponsors from local governments and the private sector are expected to join in the coming days.