Seoul Conference to Stress Critical Role of Sustainable Public Transit in Providing Economic, Social, Quality-of-Life Benefits

15 March 2010

Seoul Conference to Stress Critical Role of Sustainable Public Transit in Providing Economic, Social, Quality-of-Life Benefits

15 March 2010
Economic and Social Council
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Seoul Conference to Stress Critical Role of Sustainable Public Transit


in Providing Economic, Social, Quality-of-Life Benefits


NEW YORK, 15 March (Department of Economic and Social Affairs) ‑‑ The well-integrated system of buses, subways and trains in Seoul, capital of the Republic of Korea, will highlight the health, economic and quality-of-life benefits of a sustainable public transport system during a meeting in that city on 16‑17 March.

At a time when more people are living in cities than ever before, and when more people are looking to own cars, the transport sector is emerging as the fastest growing source of global greenhouse gases ‑‑ more than 23 per cent of emissions in 2006.  Noxious transport emissions are also responsible for a slew of health problems in increasingly congested urban areas.

That public transit systems are an initial step and pre-condition for sustainable development, as well as a way around these growing problems, will be a focus of the United Nations Forum on Climate Change Mitigation, Fuel Efficiency and Sustainable Urban Transport.  The Government of Korea will host and organize the meeting in collaboration with the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, the United Nations Centre for Regional Development (UNCRD) and the Sustainable Low-Carbon Transport Partnership Council (SLOCAT).

“It is no coincidence this meeting is being held in Seoul, where participants can witness sustainable public transport in action,” said Tariq Banuri, Director of the Division for Sustainable Development in the Department of Economic and Social Affairs.  “The 10 million people here in central Seoul have access to a good public transport system in every respect, and I hope that our participants will see in person how beneficial such an investment can be.”

Highlights of the meeting will include recent studies showing that the sum of social benefits ‑‑ in promoting health, saving time and reducing fuel use ‑‑ far exceed the investment cost of well-planned public transport systems.  The meeting will focus on public transport on the first day and private transport systems on the second.

The Forum’s goal is to support collaborative action on implementing affordable, economically viable, socially acceptable and environmentally sound transport systems.  In attendance will be transport experts and city mayors from major metropolitan centres in Asia.

The Department of Economic and Social Affairs is working to help countries develop sustainable transport systems by encouraging the right mix and coherence of public-private policies.  Among the key components necessary for viable and sustainable systems are financing, technology transfer and capacity-building.  One of the Forum’s primary goals is to build awareness and political support for sustainable transport, especially through inclusive approaches to policymaking.

Mr. Banuri acknowledged that there is no standard, “one-size-fits-all” approach or easy solution to the challenges of urban transport and sustainable development.  “Each country and each city will have to formulate its own approach, taking into account local circumstances, conditions and opportunities.”

The Seoul meeting is part of the preparations for the Commission on Sustainable Development, taking place in New York from 3-14 May.  Transport is one of the focuses for the Commission’s upcoming cycle.

Information on the meeting can be found at  Information on the Commission is available at csd/csd_index.shtml.

For further information, please contact Dan Shepard, United Nations Department of Public Information, tel.:  1 212 963 9495, e-mail:

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