I am pleased to send greetings to all participants at the High-Level Dialogue on Implementing Rio+20 Decisions on Sustainable Cities and Transport. This gathering is an important opportunity to share experiences, showcase technologies, and identify partners for projects.
There are many examples of sustainable urban planning based on mass transit systems complemented by green spaces within walking or biking distance, that improve mobility and living conditions in cities and beyond.
The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development emphasized how clean, safe and affordable transport enhances economic development while improving social equity and public health.
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.
While financing investments in sustainable transport can be challenging, we have a model in the Rio+20 conference, which saw an unprecedented level of voluntary commitments. The eight largest multilateral development banks jointly committed to invest approximately $175 billion over the next ten years in more sustainable transport systems in developing countries. I commend their initiative.
Your consultations will help inform discussions on transport in the follow-up to Rio+20 as we aim to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. They should also contribute to our broader efforts to shape a vision for a universal development agenda beyond 2015. Sustainable cities and transport are central to empowering people and protecting the planet.
Please accept my best wishes for a successful and productive meeting.