Countries will determine a new direction for global transport that fosters prosperity and well- being while protecting the environment at the first Global Sustainable Transport Conference, convened by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, from 26-27 November.

Some 1,500 participants, including Heads of State and Government, UN officials, private sector CEOs and civil society leaders, will discuss all modes of transport – road, rail, air and waterborne – as well as the fundamental role that sustainable transport plays in fostering social, economic and environmental development.

The conference comes at an opportune time when governments, businesses and civil society are moving quickly to take actions that are needed to achieve sustainable development as well as tackle climate change.

Transport drives development – enabling trade, tourism, and economic growth and allowing people to access jobs, services, education and the interactions that help create fulfilled lives. Sustainable transport, by extension, drives sustainable development, advancing the people-centered goals at the heart of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development while protecting and preserving the planet and its resources for generations to come.

The Conference is expected to culminate in a launch of partnerships, initiatives and commitments that will drive the implementation of a new global sustainable transport system.

  • Nearly 1 billion people worldwide still lack adequate access to road networks, which hinders their access to basic services and markets, promotes marginalization and can deepen social inequities.
  • In many cities, public transport remains unsustainable, unsafe, inefficient, inaccessible or unaffordable – a situation that is particularly affecting the poor.
  • The transport sector, as one of the top consumers of fossil fuels, is a major contributor to air pollution and generates a variety of emissions that impact the climate. The transport sector is responsible for approximately a quarter of the greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Over 1.24 million people are killed annually in road traffic accidents, 90% of these in developing countries.

Sustainable transport systems are therefore crucial to fight climate change and achieve the sustainable future we want. The two-day Conference will feature plenary sessions as well as parallel thematic discussions on various sustainable transport-related topics, including rural and urban transport, multimodal transport, public transport, the links of sustainable transport to climate change and energy, road safety, financing, and specific needs of countries in special situations.