12 Mar 2018 Story Transport

The UN in Nairobi launches bike-sharing scheme

At a ceremony last week, the United Nations Office at Nairobi and Mobike, the world’s largest smart bike-sharing company, launched a bike-sharing scheme for the UN’s Nairobi compound. The new system allows employees and visitors alike to use bikes around the compound free of charge; it significantly cuts down travel times for routes that were previously accessible on foot.

The roll out of the system came in the run-up to Africa Clean Mobility Week, which runs from 12-16 March. The Week will feature a series of forums and panels to promote clean transport across Africa. Experts from the public and private sector will come together to discuss a range of transport-related topics and highlight potential solutions as people around the continent increasingly transition to more motorized forms of transport.

Erik Solheim biking.

Erik Solheim, Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme, leads the inaugural ride around the compound. Unlike most bike-sharing services, the UN system is free and doesn’t require an app to unlock and use the bikes.

Schoolchildren ride bikes.

A Kenyan student is interviewed.

Local students and teachers from Milimani Primary School were invited to try out the bikes along with UN staff. The new bikes, already being used for transportation, will also be part of a bike-sharing showcase planned for Africa Clean Mobility Week.

Erik Solheim and Sahle-Work Zewde with Kenyan schoolchildren.

Erik Solheim and Sahle-Work Zewde, Director General of the UN Office at Nairobi, pose with students from Milimani Primary School after the ride.

Mobike bicycles.

The bikes were provided by the Beijing-based company Mobike, in partnership with the UN Environment Programme. The company, which pioneered the dockless bike-sharing system, is now active in 14 countries. In December 2017, Mobike received the UN’s highest environmental honour, the Champion of the Earth Award, in the category of entrepreneurial vision. Thanks to mobile technology, bike sharing is now easier than ever and is increasing in popularity around the world as a carbon-neutral transportation alternative.

Learn more about UN Environment’s work on transport.