United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development


Mr. Chairman, Excellencies, Distinguished Delegates,
As most delegates have already emphasized, in terms of sustainable transport, we need an approach that combines avoiding transport where we can, like through better city planning, shifting to cleaner modes of transport, for example through promoting public transport, and cleaning our cars and buses. To achieve sustainable transport all three interventions are needed. None on their own will be able to reach targets such as those set by the IPCC. They are intrinsically linked - for example, if we introduce a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system we also want to make sure that the busses used are state of the art. To achieve the changes we need a mix of standards and market based instruments. Transport is a sector where public - private approaches can work well. Some of the most successful transport programs have been using public-private partnerships, for example the UNEP -led Partnership for Clean Fuels and Vehicles, that has been successful in introducing cleaner fuels and cars in many countries. In UNEP's view, concrete action is urgently needed in four areas:
1. To ensure that all road investment will include investment in non motorized transport infrastructure. Creating clean, safe mobility opportunities for the whole population - not only the small group that own cars - is a priority.
2. To promote a wide application of bus rapid transit systems. The best practices are there. As we heard yesterday, these systems are effective and affordable.
3. To ensure cleaner fuels are available - to phase out lead of gasoline in the few countries it is still used - with huge health benefits - and also to reduce sulphur levels in fuels
4. To ensure that developing countries can begin introducing cleaner vehicles, that can be 90% or more cleaner with existing technologies.
UNEP is implementing major programs in each of these four areas, with many partners in close to 100 countries worldwide.
There are major opportunities here. The transport sector plays a major role in moving towards green and low carbon economies. Developing countries are starting to invest in BRT systems and production of cleaner, smaller cars. These investments can result in significant numbers of green jobs. There is an opportunity to learn from best practices, both in developed and developing countries, and introduce new transport systems and modes that can be cleaner, safer and much more efficient. We do not have much time. If we act now we can still avoid huge increases in local air pollution in greenhouse gas emissions and develop transport systems that are pro-poor and pro-environment. Ultimately it will depend on political decisions to change our transport systems to become sustainable.