The UN’s two-day conference on sustainable transport, which opened on Thursday, will examine how transport can contribute to climate response, economic growth and sustainable development.
It takes place just a few weeks before the COP26 UN climate conference in Glasgow, Scotland.
In remarks to the opening, UN Secretary-General António Guterres emphasized what is at stake.
“The next nine years must see a global shift towards renewable energy. Sustainable transport is central to that transformation, “ he said.
The transition to sustainable transportation could save $ 70 trillion by 2050, according to the World Bank.
Better access to roads can help Africa become self-sufficient in food and create a $ 1 trillion regional food market by the end of the decade.
The covid-19 The pandemic has revealed how transport is “much more than a way to get people and goods from A to B”, says the UN chief.
Transport is rather basic to implement 2030 Agenda for sustainable development and that The Paris Agreement on climate change, both of which were “bad outside” even before the crisis.
The Paris Agreement aims to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius, but the door to action is closed, he warned.
“Transport, which stands for more than a quarter of global greenhouse gases, is the key to getting on the right track. We must carbonate all means of transport to reach zero emissions by 2050 globally. ”
A role for everyone
Carbon dioxide emissions from transport require countries to manage emissions from shipping and aviation because current commitments are not in line with the Paris Agreement.
The priorities here are to phase out the production of internal combustion engine engines by 2040, while zero-emission vessels “must be the standard choice” for the shipping sector.
“All stakeholders have a role to play, from individuals changing their travel habits to companies changing their carbon footprint,” the secretary general said.
He called on governments to stimulate clean transport, for example through statutory standards and taxation, and to introduce stricter regulation of infrastructure and procurement.
Safer transport for everyone
The issues of security and access must also be addressed, the Secretary-General continued.
“This means helping more than a billion people access paved roads, with special space for pedestrians and bicycles, and providing convenient public transport options,” he said.
“It means providing safe conditions for everyone on public transport by stopping harassment and violence against women and girls and reducing deaths and injuries from road traffic accidents.”
Make the transport resistant
Post-pandemic recovery must also lead to resilient transport systems, with investments in sustainable transport, and create decent jobs and opportunities for isolated communities.
“Public transport should be the basis for urban mobility,” he said. “Per dollar invested, it creates three times more jobs than building new highways.”
With very existing transport infrastructure, such as ports, exposed to extreme climate events, better risk analysis and planning are needed, along with increased funding for climate adaptation, especially in developing countries.
Mr Guterres emphasized the need for effective partnerships, including with the private sector, so that countries can work more coherently.
“The transformative potential for sustainable transport can only be unleashed if improvements lead to poverty eradication, decent jobs, better health and education and increased opportunities for women and girls. Countries have a lot to learn from each other, he says.