Advancing Sustainable Transport is Focus of Berlin Dialogue Following Up Implementation of Rio+20 Decisions on Sustainable Cities

21 June 2013
ENV/DEV/1367

Advancing Sustainable Transport is Focus of Berlin Dialogue Following Up Implementation of Rio+20 Decisions on Sustainable Cities

21 June 2013
Press Release
ENV/DEV/1367
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Advancing Sustainable Transport is Focus of Berlin Dialogue Following Up

 

Implementation of Rio+20 Decisions on Sustainable Cities

 

BERLIN, 21 June ‑ One year after the Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development, where the eight largest multilateral development banks jointly committed to invest approximately $175 billion in more sustainable developing-world transport systems over the next 10 years, implementation of those commitments is on track, according to experts attending a dialogue hosted in Berlin by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs and the Government of Germany.

At the Berlin High-level Dialogue on Implementing Rio+20 Decisions on Sustainable Cities and Urban Transport, which concluded today, six additional voluntary commitments were presented by members of the SLoCaT Partnership, a multi-stakeholder partnership of more than 80 members ‑ as part of a status report.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon commended the initiative of the eight multilateral banks in a message to the Berlin meeting.  “While financing investments in sustainable transport can be challenging,” he noted, “we have a model in the Rio+20 Conference, which saw an unprecedented level of voluntary commitments.”  He continued:  “Better land use and more efficient transport systems help protect the environment.  They also enhance urban-rural connections and the productivity of rural areas by increasing access to jobs, markets, goods and services.”

Wu Hongbo, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, added:  “These are the kinds of transformative initiatives that will really make a difference in people’s lives.  Sustainable transport will allow people more opportunities and cleaner air.  It is an essential step as we move towards a low-carbon economy.  The follow-up on these commitments is very good news.”

The pledges were among more than 1,300 voluntary commitments, worth close to $600 billion, made during and since Rio+20 ‑ formally the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development ‑ towards sustainable development initiatives.  During the Conference, countries agreed on an outcome document, “The Future We Want”, that supports the development of sustainable transport systems ‑ including energy-efficient multimodal transport systems, and notably public mass transportation systems ‑ as well as clean fuels and vehicles.

Michael Replogle, Managing Director for Policy and Founder of the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy, said the new commitments will make it possible for the transport community and other development partners to better observe and track the sector’s development and the impact of policies and measures on its sustainability at the global, national or local levels.

According to a report of the SLoCaT Partnership, fuel subsidies supporting cars and trucks now total between $300 billion and $900 billion.  Road crashes are responsible for 1.23 million deaths each year, and their economic costs are estimated at $2,240 billion, or 3 per cent of global GDP (5 per cent of GDP in low-income countries). 

The report, “Creating Universal Access to Safe, Clean and Affordable Transport”, states that a number of organizations have been able to report tangible impacts linked to the implementation of some of the commitments.  In the case of one commitment, a detailed tracking system was able to determine that it saved 0.85 billion hours of travel time, served 4.5 billion person-trips, avoided 2.2 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions and saved 1,062 lives.

The full report can be found at http://slocat.net/rio20-VC.

Media Contact:  For interviews and more information, contact Dan Shepard of the United Nations Department of Public Information at +1 212 963 9495 or shepard@un.org.

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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.