SLoCaT Finds 2018 VNRs “Fall Short” on Sustainable Transport
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The Partnership on Sustainable, Low Carbon Transport released preliminary analysis on the extent to which 2018 VNRs address sustainable transport.

The report finds a slight improvement in attention to transport in VNRs from 2016 and 2017, with 95% of VNRs referencing the transport sector to some extent.

Most common references focus on social exclusion and equity, in line with SDG 11 (sustainable cities and communities) and road safety (SDG 3, good health and well-being).

10 July 2018: The Partnership on Sustainable, Low Carbon Transport (SLoCaT) reported on preliminary findings that gaps persist in country reporting on transport and its contribution to sustainable development in the Voluntary National Reports (VNRs) submitted to the 2018 session of the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF).

The SLoCaT report titled, ‘2018 VNRs: Showcasing the Critical Role of the Transport Sector to Achieve the SDGs,’ finds that 38 out of the 40 VNRs submitted to date include references to the transport sector. These references mainly focus on outputs, such as kilometers of rail constructed or highways built, without making broader linkages with specific SDGs. Only 12 out of 40 VNRs provide specific cases and policy examples related to transport.

The analysis reviews the VNRs’ specific references to transport benefits across the SDGs. References to social exclusion and equity, in line with SDG 11 (sustainable cities and communities), are most common, with 33% of VNRs addressing them, followed by references to road safety (SDG 3, good health and well-being), which are addressed in 30% of VNRs. Other references include:

  • rural access and regional connectivity( SDG 9 on industry, innovation and infrastructure): 25%
  • urban access (also SDG 9): 13%
  • congestion (SDG 11): 13%
  • air pollution (SDG 3): 10%
  • food security (SDG 2 on zero hunger): 5% (Mexico and Niger); and
  • poverty alleviation (SDG 1 on no poverty): 3% (Cabo Verde).

On challenges, 65% of the 40 submitted VNRs describe challenges faced in the transport sector, with several reports observing that the transport sector is a major energy-consuming sector. Albania and Ireland report that transport accounts for 40% and 35% of their total energy consumption, respectively. Other challenges identified by countries in their VNRs include lack of basic transport infrastructure and network, road and transport safety issues, and increase of transport demand due to population and economic growth, among others. Mexico identifies a lack of interest among its citizens to shift to low-carbon transport modes.

SLoCaT concludes that the majority of VNRs “fall short to offer any concrete evidence and policy measures” to demonstrate commitment to achieve sustainable transport. Further, the Secretary-General’s 2018 SDG Progress Report only provides “very general” descriptions on transport financing and urban transport.

In order to establish a consistent basis for measuring progress over time, SLoCaT recommends setting more specific, quantified targets aligned with transport-related SDGs, including targets on road safety, rural access, access to inclusive public transport, passenger and freight volume, and fossil fuel subsidies.

SLoCaT has conducted analyses of transport in the VNRs since the first round of VNRs, in 2016. [SLoCaT Preliminary Analysis] [Publication: 2018 VNRs: Showcasing the Critical Role of the Transport Sector to Achieve the SDGs] [All SDG Knowledge Hub coverage of HLPF 2018]


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