Mr. Wu Hongbo Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, Secretary-General for the International Conference on Small Island Developing States

High-level Presentations to the Plenary on Action Areas (Transport)
at Abu Dhabi Ascent


I have the pleasure of introducing the climate action in the transport sector.

Most of the participants today travelled to this dynamic city by air.

Most of us move around the city by car.

Many of the products we use during our stay here are shipped from around the world, through an elaborate multi-modal transport system.

Transport is a pillar of our economy.  It is critical to sustainable development. 

At the Rio+20 Summit, member States recognized the importance of the efficient movement of people and goods and of access to environmentally sound, safe and affordable transportation.

They also highlighted the multiplier benefit from climate action on transport.   They stressed that sustainable transport is an indispensable means to improve social equity, health, resilience of cities, urban-rural linkages and productivity of rural areas.

However, our current patterns of transportation are not sustainable and compound both environmental and health problems.

Greenhouse gas emissions from the transport sector are growing, faster than any other sector.

GHG emissions from transport are estimated to increase from one quarter today to one third of all energy-related carbon dioxide emissions by 2050.

Today’s global vehicle fleet is estimated to be around one billion vehicles and is projected to double and even triple in the coming two decades. 

Without effective action by the transport sector for a low carbon development pathway, it will be not be possible to achieve the 2 Degree target.

We must act.  That is why the UN Secretary-General has included sustainable transport as part of his Five-Year Action Agenda.

The Sustainable Transport community has rallied around a three-pronged strategy:

  • First, reducing the need for motorized transport;
  • Second, shifting towards the most efficient mode of transport; and
  • Third, improving the environmental performance of transport.

We have the technology and policy tools to implement this strategy.

Climate action in transport is feasible because the three key elements of the strategy (Avoid – Shift – Improve) have been tested at scale in both developed and developing countries.

Combined with action in other areas, this strategic approach can significantly reduce the cost of expanding global transport infrastructure and services.

The 6 initiatives on transport and climate change to be presented here today and tomorrow are wide ranging. 

They cover both road and rail transport; they address passenger and freight transport and include action on technological improvements and behavioral change.

The international financial institutions have taken the lead.

The world’s 8 largest Multilateral Development Banks made an unprecedented Voluntary Commitment at the Rio+20 Conference, pledging $175 billion over a ten-year period for sustainable transport.

We need their support.  Indeed, we need actions from all – governments, local authorities, and the business sector.

I am delighted that the next two speakers will share with us how mayors and the business community are joining hands with the UN and governments to deliver on climate action in transport.

Working together, we can make a difference.

Thank you.