Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development, Department of Economic and Social Affairs

Expert Group Meeting on Special Needs and Challenges in
Developing Countries for Achieving Sustainable Transport

It is my distinct pleasure to welcome you on behalf of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs to the UN Headquarters for this Expert Group Meeting on Sustainable Transportation needs and challenges in developing countries. We are pleased to have H.E. Mr. Ahmed Sareer, Ambassador of Maldives and H.E. Mrs. Chulamanee Chartsuwan, Deputy Permanent Representative of Thailand with us this morning.

I also welcome Michael Replogle, Deputy Commissioner for Policy at the New York City Department of Transportation to make a key note address. I am confident that they can provide great insights into the perspectives of developing countries in this regard.

It is our hope you will all benefit from this meeting. It is an opportunity to share experiences and to identify special needs, gaps and challenges in developing countries as you work towards increasing access to sustainable transportation. We encourage you to zero in on concreate actions and options for promoting sustainable transport solutions.

DESA acts as the Secretariat for the High-level Political Forum (HLPF), which is responsible for the follow-up and review of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals that were adopted by the UN last year. The Goals are the centre piece of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development which aims to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all.

I do not need to convince this group that sustainable transportation is critical for sustainable development. It is, however, important that we have a better understanding of how transport can contributes to all of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Sustainable transport contributes to the Goal 1 which calls for ending poverty by stimulating socio-economic development and providing access to jobs. Goal 3 to ensure healthy lives includes a target to halve the number of deaths and injuries from road traffic accidents by 2020.

Safe transport options that are responsive to the needs of women and girls contribute to the gender equity Goal.

The links to Goal 13 on combating climate change are obvious for we know that in 2010 the transport sector was responsible for approximately 23% of totally energy-related CO2 emissions.

And we all know that in an era of unprecedented urbanisation, sustainable transportation is a central element to advance Goal 11 to make cities inclusive, safe and resilient.

That is why this Goal includes a specific target to provide safe, affordable, accessible transport for all. This target emphasises public transport and I look forward to hearing from New York’s Deputy Commissioner about what is happening in this growing mega-city to keep up the city’s growing transportation demands.

The 2030 Agenda is a guiding framework for the sustainable transport. As transportation experts and practitioners, you can make a vital contribution at a critical time.

DESA attaches great importance to this issue in part by supporting the Secretary-General’s High-Level Advisory Group on Sustainable Transport. Created in 2014, the Group has helped mobilize action and political will for innovative transportation solutions. The Group is currently writing their “Global Sustainable Transport Outlook Report” which will share their vision for transportation along with a set of recommendations to set us on a sustainable path.

The greatest opportunities for sustainable transportation are the world’s developing countries. Transportation drives development by providing access to education, markets, health care, jobs and social interaction. By expanding sustainable transportation networks, we make an immeasurable contribution to advancing equality and to ensuring that no one is left behind.

DESA is pleased to welcome such a diverse group of transportation experts from all regions of the world to this meeting – we believe your advice will be valuable for the Global Outlook Report and will help put this challenge higher on the development agenda.

I wish you productive discussions and fruitful outcomes.

Thank you.

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