With global transport at a crossroads, government leaders, industry experts, and civil society groups are meeting in Beijing, China, for a UN conference to chart the way forward to a more sustainable future for the sector, and greater climate action overal
“The next nine years must see a global shift towards renewable energy. Sustainable transport is central to that transformation,” he said.
The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed how transport is “far more than a means of getting people and goods from A to B”, the UN chief said.
Rather, transport is fundamental to implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on climate change, both of which were “badly off-track” even before the crisis.
“Transport, which accounts for more than one quarter of global greenhouse gases, is key to getting on track. We must decarbonize all means of transport, in order to get to net-zero emissions by 2050 globally.”
“Public transport should be the foundation for urban mobility,” he said. “Per dollar invested, it creates three times more jobs than building new highways.”
The 2021 UN Sustainable Transport Conference will showcase the commitments and resolve of key stakeholders from Governments, UN system and other international organizations, the private sector, and civil society to advance action for sustainable transport. All modes of transport—road, rail, aviation and waterborne—will be addressed.
Mr. Guterres stressed the need for effective partnerships, including with the private sector, so that countries can work together more coherently.
Decarbonizing transportation requires countries to address emissions from shipping and aviation because current commitments are not aligned with the Paris Agreement.
Priorities here include phasing out the production of internal combustion engine vehicles by 2040, while zero emission vessels “must be the default choice” for the shipping sector.
“All stakeholders have a role to play, from individuals changing their travel habits, to businesses transforming their carbon footprint,” the Secretary-General said.
He urged governments to incentivize clean transport, for example through regulatory standards and taxation, and to impose stricter regulation of infrastructure and procurement.
Countries have much to learn from each other,” he said.
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