Mr. Wu Hongbo Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, Secretary-General for the Third International Conference on Financing for Development

Welcome remarks
Second Meeting of the Secretary-General’s High-level Advisory Group on Sustainable Transport

Distinguished Members and Sherpas,

I would like to join Mayor Toha in warmly welcoming you to this second meeting of the Secretary-General’s High-level Advisory Group on Sustainable Transport.

The Secretary-General and I have been very pleased to see the dedication and energy of the Members of the Advisory Group as you work to advance the sustainable transport agenda, with its many dimensions, including poverty reduction, improved safety and accessibility, and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and other pollution. I will provide a briefing to the Secretary-General on our discussions held today in Milan.

I also want to take this opportunity to thank the Sherpas who have been working closely with my team in a very collaborative manner to make today’s meeting a success.

Finally, I am pleased to be able to report that the Technical Working Group has proven to be ready and very eager to provide technical inputs to the Advisory Group. They have completed their first assignment by providing the five thematic issues briefs which will be discussed here today.

I would like to give you a few updates.

The latest meeting on the post-2015 development agenda took place from 18-22 May 2015. As you all know, the Open Working Group proposal on sustainable development goals contains several targets related to sustainable transport, especially in the areas of food security, health, energy, infrastructure and cities and human settlements. It was decided that the proposal of the Open Working Group shall be the main basis for integrating sustainable development goals into the post-2015 development agenda. The intergovernmental discussions have reached a stage that makes it unlikely that we will see any major changes or additions to the SDGs and associated targets prior to the adoption of the post-2015 development agenda at the global Summit in September 2015. The Executive Secretary of the Advisory Board, Mr. Nikhil Seth, will further elaborate on this topic in tonight’s evening session.

At the same time, preparations for the Financing for Development Conference in Addis Ababa, which will take place from 13-16 July 2015, are well underway. A draft outcome document has been compiled and the next informal consultation on the outcome document will take place from 15-19 June 2015. It is my understanding that the Advisory Group might like to prepare a brief contribution to the Addis Ababa meeting and I am looking forward to today’s deliberations in this regard.

These two processes, together with the climate meeting to take place in Paris in December are inextricably connected, and success in one will be possible only with success in the other two.

At this point in the year, I have spoken of the “post-2015 agenda” so many times, as shorthand for the goals and priorities that will serve as a roadmap for the sustainable development of the world for the next fifteen years. I—and your Executive Secretary Nikhil Seth—have been witness to the passionate and skillful negotiations of Member States as they hammered out the Sustainable Development Goals and their related targets. And now, we are supporting them as they craft the declaration that will be signed by heads of state and government at the Summit in New York in September, signaling their full commitment to a sustainable future.

So far the SDGs and the declaration, and the draft Addis outcome, are only words. But I look at this High Level Advisory Group and I see a collection of leaders, giving your time to ensure that these words become reality. As I mentioned, transport sits at the intersection of many SDGs—on health, sustainable cities, climate, economic growth—and with your expertise this Advisory Group can lead the way to innovative solutions addressing these integrated issues. So I thank you for your leadership, your creativity, and your practical knowhow, and for breathing life and substance into the aspirational words coming from the negotiations in New York.

To continue strengthening the Advisory Group, the Secretary-General is considering three new members including two candidates from the developing world who have yet to be confirmed. We will let you know as soon as we have more information.

Now, before you get on to the important work of the day, I would like to take brief moment to address rather mundane matter—that of funding for the activities of the Advisory Group. The unfortunate truth is that due to the limited funding available to the Secretariat, the work of the Advisory Group will need to be supported by voluntary contributions— to organize future meetings, produce the Global Outlook Report and plan the International Conference. In this respect, my team has drawn up a fundraising strategy which we have circulated to the sherpas. We would like to invite Advisory Group members to support fund raising efforts or consider making a contribution.

I would take this opportunity in this regard to thank the Volvo Group for sponsoring our meals and refreshments today!

I am eager to participate in today’s meeting and learn more about the five topics under discussion. I am confident that together we can help advance the Secretary-General’s Five year action agenda on climate and sustainable development and I am looking forward to our continued work together.

Thank you.