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United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Sustainable transport


The role of transport in sustainable development was first recognized at the 1992 United Nation’s Earth Summit and reinforced in its outcome document – Agenda 21. In undertaking the five-year review of the implementation of Agenda 21 during its nineteenth Special Session in 1997, the UN General Assembly further noted that, over the next twenty years, transportation would be expected to be the major driving force behind a growing world demand for energy (Indeed, it is now the largest end-use of energy in developed countries and the fastest growing one in most developing countries). Further, at the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development, the role of transport was once again captured in the outcome document - the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation (JPOI). JPOI provided multiple anchor points for sustainable transport, in the context of infrastructure, public transport systems, goods delivery networks, affordability, efficiency and convenience of transportation, as well as improving urban air quality and health, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The global attention to transport has continued in recent years. World leaders recognized unanimously at the 2012 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio +20) that transportation and mobility are central to sustainable development. Sustainable transportation can enhance economic growth and improve accessibility. Sustainable transport achieves better integration of the economy while respecting the environment. improving social equity, health, resilience of cities, urban-rural linkages and productivity of rural areas

Subsequently, the UN Secretary-General, as part of his Five-Year Action Agenda, identified transport as a major component of sustainable development. To this end, the Secretary General established and launched in August 2014 a High Level Advisory Group on Sustainable Transport (HLAG-ST), representing all modes of transport including road, rail, aviation, marine, ferry, and urban public transport providers. The policy recommendations of the Advisory Group were submitted to the Secretary-General in a global sustainable transport outlook report, entitled "Mobilizing Sustainable Transport for Development", released at the first Global Sustainable Transport Conference in November 2016.

The importance of sustainable transport for countries in special situations is also recognized by the international community, through the Istanbul Programme of Action for the LDCs, the Vienna Programme of Action for the LLDCs, the SAMOA Pathway for SIDS, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, and the New Urban Agenda.

In the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, sustainable transport is mainstreamed across several SDGs and targets, especially those related to food security, health, energy, economic growth, infrastructure, and cities and human settlements. The importance of transport for climate action is further recognized under the UNFCCC - the transport sector will be playing a particularly important role in the achievement of the Paris Agreement, given the fact close to a quarter of energy-related global greenhouse gas emissions come from transport and that these emissions are projected to grow substantially in the years to come.

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Displaying 46 - 60 of 175
Title Type Date
Information note Logistics 19-Sep-2016
A/RES/70/197 - Towards comprehensive cooperation among all modes of transport for promoting sustainable… Resolutions and decisions 28-Jun-2016
Meeting Report on Special Needs and Challenges in Developing Countries for Achieving Sustainable Transport Meeting reports 26-May-2016
A/RES/70/260 - Improving global road safety Resolutions and decisions 2-May-2016
A/70/472 - Sustainable development: report of the Second Committee Resolutions and decisions 16-Dec-2015
High-Level Briefing on Secretary-General's High-level Advisory Group on Sustainable Transport Other documents 4-Dec-2015
Analysis of the transport relevance of each of the 17 SDGs Background papers/Special studies 24-Sep-2015
A/70/262 - Role of transport and transit corridors in ensuring international cooperation for sustainable… Secretary-General Reports 3-Aug-2015
A/RES/69/313- Addis Ababa Action Agenda of the Third International Conference on Financing for Development (Addis… Resolutions and decisions 15-Jul-2015
Issues briefs prepared by the Technical Working Group for information of the Secretary-Generals' High-… Background papers/Special studies 14-Jul-2015
The UN SGs High-Level Advisory Group on Sustainable Transport Position Paper on Financing Sustainable… Other documents 13-Jul-2015
Secretary-General appoints Jean Todt of France Special Envoy for Road Safety Press releases 8-Jun-2015
UNEP Chief and Goodwill Ambassador Yaya Touré Make a Carbon-Free Entrance at Expo Milano Press releases 5-Jun-2015
Flyer on Sustainable Urban Mobility in Developing Countries Other documents 25-Mar-2015
A/RES/69/213 - Role of transport and transit corridors in ensuring international cooperation for sustainable… Resolutions and decisions 19-Dec-2014
Displaying 46 - 60 of 244
Title Category Date Sort ascending
Dr. Lake Sagaris, Researcher and Assistant Adjunct Professor, Pontificia Universidad… Session 3 11-May-2016
Sengsavang PHANDANOUVONG, Senior Advisor, LAO LOGISTICS GROUP Session 2 10-May-2016
Bernard Dzawanda, Senior Transport Economist, Common Market for Eastern and Southern… Session 2 10-May-2016
Dr. Anjali Mahendra, WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities, World Resources Institute… Session 1 10-May-2016
Jean Maxy SIMONET, Senior Chief Executive, Ministry of Public Infrastructure and Land… Session 2 10-May-2016
Peter Njenga, Executive Director, International Forum for Rural Transport and Development… Session 1 10-May-2016
Azmi Abdul Aziz, President & Group Chief Executive Officer, Prasarana Malaysia… Session 1 10-May-2016
Policy briefing UN Open Working Group 11 Road traffic injury and the Post-2015… Dialogue with Major Groups 6-May-2014
Serbia Sustainable cities and human settlements, sustainable transport 8-Jan-2014
Australia, The Netherlands and United Kingdom Sustainable cities and human settlements, sustainable transport 8-Jan-2014
Major Group: Local Authorities Co-chairs' meetings with Major Groups 8-Jan-2014
Argentina, Bolivia and Ecuador Sustainable cities and human settlements, sustainable transport 8-Jan-2014
Major Group: Local Authorities Sustainable cities and human settlements, sustainable transport 7-Jan-2014
Sustainable Development Goals for Transport Sustainable cities and human settlements, sustainable transport 7-Jan-2014
Japan Sustainable cities and human settlements, sustainable transport 7-Jan-2014