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UN Secretary General Urges Clean, Safe Transportation

Addis Ababa, October 14, 2021 (FBC) – The United Nations (UN) Sustainable Conference happening in Beijing, at which Ethiopian President Sahle Work Zewdie is in attendance, dwells to chart out the way forward for sustainable future for transportation.

As UN news reports the three-day conference that kicked off yesterday examines how transportation can contribute to climate response, economic growth and sustainable development.

UN Secretary- General Antonio Guterres has remarked at the opening that: “The next nine years must see a global shift towards renewable energy. Sustainable transport is central to that transformation.”

The move to sustainable transport could deliver savings of $70 trillion by 2050, according to the World Bank.

Better access to roads could help Africa to become self-sufficient in food, and create a regional food market worth $1 trillion by the end of the decade.

The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed how transport is “far more than a means of getting people and goods from A to B”, the UN chief said.

Rather, transport is fundamental to implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on climate change, both of which were “badly off-track” even before the crisis.

The Paris Agreement aims to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius, but the door for action is closing, he warned.

“Transport, which accounts for more than one quarter of global greenhouse gases, is key to getting on track. We must decarbonize all means of transport, in order to get to net-zero emissions by 2050 globally.”

Decarbonizing transportation requires countries to address emissions from shipping and aviation because current commitments are not aligned with the Paris Agreement.

Priorities here include phasing out the production of internal combustion engine vehicles by 2040, while zero emission vessels “must be the default choice” for the shipping sector.

He urged governments to incentivize clean transport, for example through regulatory standards and taxation, and to impose stricter regulation of infrastructure and procurement.

The issues of safety and access must also be addressed, the Secretary-General noted.

“It means providing safe conditions for all on public transport by ending harassment and violence against women and girls, and reducing deaths and injuries from road traffic accidents.”

Post-pandemic recovery must also lead to resilient transport systems, with investments going towards sustainable transport, and generating decent jobs and opportunities for isolated communities.

“Public transport should be the foundation for urban mobility,” he said. “Per dollar invested, it creates three times more jobs than building new highways.”

With much existing transport infrastructure, such as ports, vulnerable to extreme climate events, better risk analysis and planning are needed, along with increased financing for climate adaptation, particularly in developing countries.

Mr. Guterres stressed the need for effective partnerships, including with the private sector, so that countries can work together more coherently.

The 2021 UN Sustainable Transport Conference will showcase the commitments and resolve of key stakeholders from Governments, UN system and other international organizations, the private sector, and civil society to advance action for sustainable transport.

All modes of transport—road, rail, aviation and waterborne—will be addressed.

The Conference will also consider the concerns of vulnerable groups, such as women, the youth, the elderly, persons with disabilities, and people living in poverty, and of many developing countries, including least developed countries, landlocked developing countries and Small Island developing States, which will receive particular focus.

Key transport objectives, such as providing access for all while leaving no one behind, green mobility, efficiency and safety will be discussed.

The Conference will culminate in calls for global action to further advance sustainable transport worldwide, complemented by new partnerships, voluntary commitments and initiatives to support sustainable transport.

Source: UN news

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