At the first-ever Global Sustainable Transport Conference, UITP told national delegations gathered in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, that the public transport sector has the resolve, commitment, imagination and creativity to transform transport systems in a sustainable manner that will improve human wellbeing, enhance social progress and protect our planet.
Multiple issues were on the conference agenda, including sustainable transportation, environmental changes, city transportation systems and transport communication between cities and villages, financing the transportation sector, international cooperation in transportation, development of multilateral transport corridors and infrastructure, as well as road safety. UITP was actively involved in multiple sessions in the main conference programme including a thematic discussion organised by the Asian Development Bank with national governments in the main plenary session on the steps that can take to enable local level action to deliver the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The answer to global transportation challenges is not less transport – it is sustainable transport
The UN Secretary General, Mr. Ban in his opening remarks to the conference, said: "We must ensure that the services and infrastructure for the mobility of people and goods are provided in a manner that is safe, affordable, accessible, efficient, and resilient, while minimising greenhouse gas emissions and environmental impacts. That is sustainable transport, as defined by the UN Secretary-General’s High-level Advisory Group on Sustainable Transport".
In opening the conference he thanked members of the Advisory Group which includes Alain Flausch, UITP's Secretary General, which published its findings in what needs to be done to scale up effort on sustainable transport and provided the inspiration for holding this first ever Global Conference.
In addressing Ministers during the conference, the UK Head of Delegation, Mr. Phil Culligan from the British Assembly, also congratulated the Advisory Group on their recommendations which will help scale up efforts and coordination on sustainable transport.
We should promote better transport systems in cities
More than 1,000 key stakeholders from governments including heads of state, the UN and other international organisations, the private sector and civil society engaged in a dialogue that emphasises the integrated and cross-cutting nature of sustainable transport and its multiple roles in supporting the achievement of the SDGs which calls on expanding public transport. UITP was there to highlight the compelling arguments to double the market share of public transport by 2025 and what governments can do to realise this. In doing so, we can make significant progress towards our Global Goals.
In this context, Mr. Ban stressed to Ministers, "we should promote better transport systems in cities. That means improving public transport while promoting walking and cycling".
The UN Under Secretary-General summarised in a statement to governments, upon the conclusion of the two day Conference, capturing the key messages and policy recommendations. They highlighted the need to develop and enhance multi-modal public transport networks and shift to collective transport solutions. This is essential to advance quality of life and the economic vitality of cities.
In the statement, all participants expressed appreciation to the UN High Level Group for their contribution to the global sustainable development agenda and by keeping it high on the policy agenda the UN system we can ensure that we can deliver on our Global Goals with sustainable transport.