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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 106 - 120 of 175
Title Type Date
CSD19/2011/BP3 - "Global overview on fuel efficiency and motor vehicle emission standards: Policy options… Background papers/Special studies 2-May-2011
CSD19/2011/BP9 - Transport and Sustainable Development in the ESCWA Region Background papers/Special studies 2-May-2011
CSD19/2011/BP2 - "Technology and Policy Options for making transport systems more sustainable"… Background papers/Special studies 2-May-2011
CSD19/2011/BP8 - Bicycle Sharing Schemes: Enhancing Sustainable Mobility in Urban Areas Background papers/Special studies 2-May-2011
Aide-Memoire (Seoul) Other documents 12-Apr-2011
Presentations on Workshop (Seoul) Other documents 12-Apr-2011
E/CN.17/2011/4 - Policy options and actions for expediting progress in implementation: transport Secretary-General Reports 17-Dec-2010
Aide-Memoire (Chile) Other documents 10-Nov-2010
Programme (Chile) Logistics 10-Nov-2010
Bangkok Declaration for 2020 Other documents 4-Sep-2010
A/65/298 - Implementation of Agenda 21, the Programme for the Further Implementation of Agenda 21 and the outcomes… Secretary-General Reports 16-Jul-2010
CSD18/2010/BP2 (English)-IRU RESOLUTION on the "UN Decade of Action for Road Safety" - adopted… Background papers/Special studies 3-May-2010
CSD18/2010/BP11 - The Improvement of Developing Country Transport Data Collection, Analysis and Dissemination,… Background papers/Special studies 3-May-2010
CSD18/2010/BP15 - United Nations Economic Commission for Europe Work in support of Sustainable development… Background papers/Special studies 3-May-2010
CSD18/2010/BP2 (French)-IRU RESOLUTION on the "UN Decade of Action for Road Safety" - adopted unanimously… Background papers/Special studies 3-May-2010
Displaying 106 - 120 of 244
Title Category Date Sort ascending
Mr. Martin Roehrleef, Head of Staff Department Parallel Session 3 20-Jun-2013
Mr. Jochen Flasbarth, President, German Federal Environment Agency High-Level Morning Plenary Session 20-Jun-2013
Mr. Hasso Georg Grünjes, Infrastructure & Cities Sector, Siemens AG Parallel Session 5 20-Jun-2013
Mr. Francois-Joseph Van Audenhove, Partner, Head Travel & Transportation Practice,… Parallel Session 3 20-Jun-2013
Dr. Helmar Rendez, Head of BU Distribution and Chairman of the Management Board,… Parallel Session 5 20-Jun-2013
Mr. Naoki Mimuro, Chief Representative of the City of Yokohama in Europe Parallel Session 4 20-Jun-2013
Mr. Tadashi Matsumoto, Senior Policy Analyst, Organization for Economic Cooperation and… Parallel Session 4 20-Jun-2013
Ms. Silvia Isabela Breu, Director, Oeiras Municipal Development Office, Portugal Part II: Best Practices in Sustainable Urban Development and Eco-cities 20-Jun-2013
Mr. Lawrie Robertson, Director of Strategic Planning, Buro Happold Parallel Session 4 20-Jun-2013
Ms. Tibleste Asgedom, Bureau Vice Head, Addis Ababa City Administration Road &… Parallel Session 4 20-Jun-2013
Mr. Lu Haifeng, Secretary-General, Global Forum for Human Settlements (GFHS) Part I: Initiatives in Sustainable Cities 20-Jun-2013
Dr. Stephan Herbst, General Manager Energy Research Group (Toyota) Parallel Session 3 20-Jun-2013
Ms. Pam O’Connor, Mayor, City of Santa Monica, California, USA High-Level Morning Plenary Session 20-Jun-2013
Dr. Bernhard Ensink, Secretary General and Velo-city Series Director European Cyclist Parallel Session 3 20-Jun-2013
Ms. Nicole Stroj, Coordinator Integrated Mobility, Austrian Federal Railways (OBB) Parallel Session 3 20-Jun-2013