United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

European Union

Statement on behalf of the European Union and its 27 Member States
Senior Adviser to the State Secretary for the Environment
Republic of Hungary
Intergovernmental preparatory meeting
of the 19th Commission on Sustainable Development
Transport Session
United Nations
New York
1 March 2011
Statement on Transport1
(New York, 1 March 2011)
Mr. Chairman, distinguished delegates,
The EU and its Member States very much appreciate that CSD 19 focuses
on the thematic issue of transport. We think that, in doing so, the CSD
19 provides an important chance to establish a common understanding
for the necessity of and the opportunities for sustainable mobility.
We fully agree that sustainable mobility can improve the quality of life
and human health. It also allows protecting the environment.
Furthermore, equal access to mobility is essential to achieve the MDGs.
At the same time, however, the transport sector has the fastest growing
greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions due to rapid growth in motorized mobility.
Many developing countries are particularly concerned by the severe effects of
climate change. The continued reliance of transport on fossil fuels also
exacerbates economic vulnerability and trade imbalances.
We believe that sustainable transport solutions are moreover directly
linked to the objective of promoting sustainable consumption and
production patterns. CSD 19 can pioneer a globally harmonized and consistent
progress in developing sustainable transport patterns worldwide. This progress
can also promote job creation in the framework of green economy.
The resource paper of the Bureau that was distributed yesterday shows
important steps in the right direction. But above all these singular steps,
CSD 19 should call for an international target to decouple transport
growth from its energy consumption and its negative environmental and
social impacts.
In our statement we would like to focus on two primary issues: energy
efficiency and urban mobility. In this respect we would like to comment
on some further important aspects on sustainable transport that should
be taken into account by the CSD 19.
1 Parts of this text in bold are those effectively read out by Mr Teplan during the transport session
We would like to point out that not only an efficient but a highly energy
efficient transport sector is needed in particular to mitigate the effects
of climate change and to meet the international targets of limiting global
Therefore, the EU and its Member States welcome a transition towards more
energy efficient transport consumption and production patterns with less GHG
emissions in all countries.
To achieve this, technological innovation is greatly needed. In particular,
CO2 emission reductions and fuel efficiency standards for vehicle and fuel
production will push forward sustainable innovations in the transport sector.
The EU and its Member States support especially the development and
deployment of more efficient vehicles and carbon-free energy carriers as
for instance electric power on the basis of renewable energies.
Moreover we supports the use of tailor-made market based instruments (for
instance carbon-based taxation) to set strong incentives for more energy
efficient transport consumption and production patterns.
We think that in particular pricing mechanisms play an important role.
According to the polluter pays principle, all external costs across all
transport modes should be addressed by the relevant stakeholders.
A level playing field is needed in the taxation of energy sources. That
means removing harmful subsidies in particular to fossil fuels.
Furthermore, the EU and its Member States promote the production of
liquid fuels with better quality and lower carbon intensity.
Bio-fuels must be produced in a sustainable manner and the issue of
indirect land use change and the possible threat to global food security
must be effectively addressed.
In addition, we encourage all countries to increase investments in
energy efficient transport modes with lower GHG emissions such as
public transport, railways, buses and inland waterway transportation,
where appropriate.
Spatial planning should better promote efficient transport patterns. In transport
investments, especially for transport infrastructure, environmental impacts such
as land take, soil sealing, habitat loss and connectivity, noise and air pollution,
impacts on water quality and quantity should be taken into account and
mitigated to the most possible extent.
At a global level we call for a greater role for sustainable transport in the
climate change mitigation process through development of a sectoral
approach. We advocate a better use of the potential of NAMA?s and an
enhanced embedding of transport in the climate financing schemes, in particular
within the post-2012 UNFCCC fund.
We support capacity building for developing countries to measure, report and
verify their mitigation actions in transport.
We welcome that CSD 19 takes the opportunity to call for meeting
mobility demands of all people in urban areas in a more sustainable
Given that, worldwide, more people live in urban than in rural areas, support
should be sought for sustainable urban transport patterns.
Hence, urban transport policies should focus on environmentally friendly,
healthy, energy and space efficient modes. These modes include walking,
cycling, public transport and electric vehicles using renewable energies, for
instance rail and 2 and 3 wheelers.
We argue for strengthened efforts in supplying affordable, safe, reliable
and environmentally friendly public passenger transportation systems.
We need these to provide access to work and to leisure activities in particular for
poorer and disabled people, the elderly and children in urban areas.
In line with the proposal by the Bureau, we call for the production of
cleaner vehicles through harmonization of ambitious pollutant emission
standards and comparable measuring cycles worldwide. We support noise
reduction measures e.g. speed limits in residential areas, usage of so-called
silent asphalt and e-mobility.
We also hold the opinion that the integration of transport issues
including transport demand aspects in spatial planning at an early stage
of urban development with the involvement of all stakeholders is essential.
Urban mobility plans and tightened traffic management through Urban Transport
Management Systems also contribute to sustainable urban transport. These
include public and private mass transport systems, parking space control and
safe infrastructure for vulnerable road users, including non-motorised modes of
We would like to underline that the international community needs to
strengthen technical cooperation, technology transfer and capacity
building including North-South and South-South exchanges (for instance
BRT-systems in different cities of the world).
Finally, the EU and ist Member States would like to state that globally
harmonized and publicly available transport databases and tools are
essential for long term strategies, transport and spatial planning, local
decisions and financing. We believe that a global reporting mechanism
for monitoring and evaluating sustainable transport is needed. Such a
database can act as a warning tool and provides baseline information for
policy makers. We furthermore recommend the development of
meaningful indicators to monitor progress towards sustainable transport
before the next evaluation of CSD.
Thank you!