Experts Urge Mobilizing Sustainable Transport for SDGs
Photo by IISD/ENB | Kiara Worth
story highlights

An expert panel appointed by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon concluded that greater investment in greener, more sustainable transport systems is essential for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The report, titled 'Mobilizing Sustainable Transport for Development,' provides ten recommendations on how governments, businesses and civil society should re-direct resources in the transport sector to advance sustainable development.

The report notes that the investments needed for transitioning to sustainable transport amount to the current 'business as usual' spending but, unlike the current practices, would deliver savings up to US$70 trillion by 2050 and could produce a global gross domestic product (GDP) increase of US$2.6 trillion.

28 October 2016: An expert panel appointed by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon concluded that greater investment in greener, more sustainable transport systems is essential for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In its report, titled ‘Mobilizing Sustainable Transport for Development,’ the High-level Advisory Group on Sustainable Transport notes that the investments needed for transitioning to sustainable transport amount to the current ‘business as usual’ spending but, unlike the current practices, would deliver savings up to US$70 trillion by 2050 and could produce a global gross domestic product (GDP) increase of US$2.6 trillion.

The report, launched on 28 October 2016 at UN Headquarters in New York, US, provides ten recommendations on how governments, businesses and civil society should re-direct resources in the transport sector to advance sustainable development. The recommendations include: make transport planning, policy and investment decisions based on the three dimensions of sustainable development (economic, social and environmental) and a full life cycle analysis; integrate all sustainable transport planning vertically, among levels of government, and horizontally, across modes, territories and sectors; create supportive institutional, legal and regulatory government frameworks; establish monitoring and evaluation frameworks for sustainable transport; and increase international development funding and climate funding for sustainable transport.

During the launch event, Carolina Toha, Mayor of Santiago, Chile, noted that transportation determines the way in which people live and connect, and thus has important consequences on equality and environment. She invited participants to consider sustainable transport as a means for achieving multiple goals rather than a goal in itself.

Martin Lundstedt, CEO Volvo Group, highlighted that businesses that do not have strong sustainability agendas will not have a competitive edge in the future. He said transportation should be safe, affordable, resilient and environmental viable over time. Lundstedt invited participants to follow the entire value chain between different stakeholders when designing policies.

Alain Flausch, Secretary-General of the International Association of Public Transport, called for an “ASI” approach: “A,” avoid useless transport; “S,” shift to sustainable transport; and “I,” improve. He stressed that states, regions and cities should sit together in order to find the right institutional settings, further noting the need to involve people, listen and respond to their needs.

Patrick Ho, the China Energy Fund Committee, highlighted that developed and developing economies face different challenges when it comes to transportation. While developed economies mostly face challenges related to air pollution, traffic congestion and the efficiency of the transportation system, developing economies need roads, infrastructure and mechanisms for financing the development of infrastructure.

Tanya Muller Garcia, Secretary of Environment of Mexico City, noted a 8% increase in emissions globally and stressed the need for transport-related policies to address them, in addition to targeted environmental policies. Highlighting that mobility is a key factor in gender equality, economic equality and environmental protection, she expressed hope that the work on sustainable transport will be carried forward by the next UN Secretary-General.

Nancy Young, Airlines of America, stressed the need to find ways to use market-based measures in a tailored way for sustainable transportat and to bring together the supply chains in all sectors to work on common issues.

The High-level Advisory Group on Sustainable Transport was appointed by the UN Secretary-General on 8 August 2014, to provide recommendations on sustainable transport actionable at global, national, local and sector levels. Established for a period of three years, the Group works with governments, transport providers (aviation, marine, ferry, rail, road, and urban public transport), businesses, financial institutions, civil society and other stakeholders to promote sustainable transport systems and their integration into development strategies and policies, including in climate action.

The report will serve as a contribution to the first-ever Global Sustainable Transport Conference, to take place in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, on 26-27 November 2016. The experts’ recommendations address issues of policy, technology and financing, and grew out of the diverse perspectives and practical experience of the panel. [UN Press Release] [Mobilizing Sustainable Transport for Development] [UN News Centre] [Global Sustainable Transport Conference] [IISD RS Sources]

related posts