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Home What is Sustainability? Global Sustainable Transport Conference

Global Sustainable Transport Conference

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Recognizing the fundamental role of sustainable transport in fighting climate change and achieving the sustainable future we want, Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon will convene the first ever global conference on sustainable transport, on 26 and 27 November 2016 in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan. In resolution 70/197 titled “Towards comprehensive cooperation among all modes of transport for promoting sustainable multimodal transit corridors”, the General Assembly welcomed the initiative of the Secretary-General to convene the Conference.

The Conference will build on the intergovernmental discussions on sustainable transport. The outcome document of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), held in 2012, stresses that transportation and mobility are central to sustainable development. It recognizes the need to promote an integrated approach to policymaking at the national, regional and local levels for transport services and systems to advance sustainable development.

Transport drives development - enabling trade, tourism, and economic growth and allowing people to access jobs, services, education and the interactions that help create fulfilled lives. Sustainable transport, by extension, drives sustainable development, advancing the people-centered goals at the heart of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development while protecting and preserving the planet and its resources for generations to come. For example, access to sustainable and safe transport allows young people to attend school. It facilitates women’s opportunities for employment and empowerment, and provides persons with disabilities and elderly people improved access to mobility. Sustainable transport systems enable access to markets and basic services, generate jobs and contribute to human well-being by reducing emissions and improving air quality. A move towards more sustainable transport practices will have a considerable impact on the health of our oceans, seas and terrestrial ecosystems, and will help us tackle climate change.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted in 2015, also recognizes the global need to adopt policies which enhance sustainable transport systems. It is clear that advances in sustainable transport will contribute to the attainment of several, if not all, of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), outlined in the 2030 Agenda. Some SDGs are directly connected to sustainable transport through targets and indicators such as SDG 3 on health, which includes a target addressing deaths and injuries from road traffic accidents (3.6), and SDG 11 sustainable cities which includes a target on providing access to safe, affordable, accessible and sustainable transport systems for all and on expanding public transport (11.2).

In this spirit, the Global Sustainable Transport Conference will bring together key stakeholders from Governments, UN system and other international organizations, the private sector, and civil society to engage in a dialogue that emphasizes the integrated and cross-cutting nature of sustainable transport and its multiple roles in supporting the achievement of the SDGs. All modes of transport—road, rail, aviation, ferry and maritime—will be addressed. The concerns of developing countries, including least developed countries, landlocked developing countries and small island developing States, will receive particular focus. Developing countries and their expanding cities face urgent challenges, but they also have opportunities to bypass unsustainable transport practices and find fast tracks to a new paradigm of sustainability. The Conference will shine a spotlight on these opportunities.

The programme of the Conference reflects the diversity and complexity of the transport sector and will provide a platform for forging partnerships and initiatives to advance sustainable transport objectives.

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