United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development


United Nations Human Settlements Programme
Intergovernmental Preparatory Meeting (IPM) for the
Nineteenth session of the Commission on Sustainable Development
Urbanisation plays a key role in for achieving sustainable development.
As the United Nations agency for housing and urban development, UN-HABITAT promotes policies and models to
achieve sustainable urban development across the globe.
Achieving sustainable urban development includes urban mobility. This entails prioritising and promoting mobility policies
and investments that contribute to improved urban productivity and living and working conditions of people, with a special
focus on the needs of the urban poor.
The majority of GHG emissions now come from urban areas and urban transport emissions. On one hand, the transport
sector is currently responsible for 23% of all energy-related CO2 emissions globally and 13% of all GHG emissions. On
the other hand, the capacity to move is at the core of a fully functional city. Indeed, the success of productive
relationships in cities is totally linked to mobility. In addition to its importance as an urban service, it is also important to
realize that the transport infrastructure and service sector itself is a significant generator of wealth and employment.
From the perspective of UN-Habitat, there are three key policy priorities related to urban transport:
First, mobility plans must be integrated into overall urban plans and coordination between planning, transport and other
departments improved. This is critical because all too often planning and transport departments do not work together.
The second element is to look at how urban plans and investments can decrease the demand for motorized mobility
through compact development patterns, mix of compatible uses and guide infrastructure investments towards better
conditions for walking and cycling and expanded public transport systems, together with new technologies and
comprehensive mobility management approaches that increase intermodality.
The third feature is to ensure political and financial commitment for investments in mobility infrastructure, including high
capacity systems, which are environmentally friendly. Without the necessary political it will be hard to achieve sustainable
urban mobility systems. In addition, the private sector, non-profit organisations and civil society have to be included.
Indeed, we will need a wide range of stakeholders/cooperating actors from the public and private sector to address
present and future mobility challenges.
The global community of nations, international organisations and financial institutions, businesses, non-governmental and
civil-society organisations can assist countries and cities with fast growing metropolitan areas in multiple ways.
Organisations like UN-Habitat or UCLG can provide support through developing new models for sustainable urban
development and governance and promoting the exchange of good practices and new technologies in urban
development. For example, UN-Habitat has recently launched a new initiative to promote Sustainable Transport Solutions
for East African Cities with funding from the Global Environmental Facility (GEF). The project will assist government
partners in developing and implementing an operational strategy for improved public transport, corresponding
infrastructure improvements for pedestrians and cyclists and travel demand management in Addis Ababa, Kampala and
In conclusion, with the principles outlined above, both in the North and the South urban mobility and logistics can be major
drivers for and components of green, efficient and socially balanced urban regions that provide effective responses to the
challenges of contemporary and future urbanisation.