UN Post-2015 report: ‘pressing need’ to address traffic injuries, transport pollution and emissions

Main Image
Sheila Watson makes a submission to the UN hearing on behalf of GFEI
Sheila Watson makes a submission to the UN hearing on behalf of GFEI
The SLoCAT side event at the UN OWG session on sustainable transport
The SLoCAT side event at the UN OWG session on sustainable transport

The UN Open Working Group for the Post-2015 Development Goals has highlighted the “pressing need” to address road traffic injury, the adverse health effects of transport related air pollution, and the transport sector’s “rapidly growing greenhouse gas emissions” in the new development agenda, according to its main progress report issued on 18 February 2014.

The Open Working Group (OWG) is the forum of governments at the UN that are tasked with drawing up proposals for a new set of goals to replace the Millennium Development Goals when they expire in 2015. The latest report is a summary of the group’s consultations and meetings held over the past year. The report’s release marks the final phase of the OWG, when it will compile its full recommendations to the UN as a whole.

The report’s section on sustainable transport draws attention to the urgent need for action on what it identifies as the “negative impacts” of transportation. This follows the ‘Safe Clean Fair and Green’ agenda for sustainable mobility presented to the UN OWG by the FIA Foundation together with advocacy from key partners such as the Partnership on Sustainable Low Carbon Transport (SLoCaT).

The report said: “While realizing its important economic and social benefits, there is a pressing need to reduce negative impacts of transportation, such as adverse health effects from air pollution and casualties and injuries in traffic accidents and rapidly growing greenhouse gas emissions of the transport sector.”

The Safe Clean Fair and Green agenda proposes a series of 2030 targets to be included in the Sustainable Development Goals. These targets have also been reflected in the main briefings prepared for the Open Working Group by UN agencies and partners.

They include a global target for halving road traffic deaths as proposed by the Commission for Global Road Safety; doubling urban access to mass transit; bringing an additional 1.5 billion urban residents within WHO air quality thresholds; and following the work of the Global Fuel Economy Initiative, doubling the fuel efficiency of new vehicles.

In summary the OWG progress report emphasised that sustainable transport is “crucial” for all three dimensions of sustainable development - economic, environmental and social. The report also that the importance of including sustainable transport in the Post-2015 SDGs was recognised with many calling for it to be included at the level of targets under other goals. The report singled out road safety as an important issue highlighted.

The FIA Foundation and partners had made a series presentations and submissions to the Open Working Group in January 2014. Saul Billingsley, Director General of the FIA Foundation had made the opening presentation to the OWG hearing calling on UN Member States to restore the human dimension to transport policy in the post-2015 agenda, to design transport systems that do no harm and integrate safe and sustainable transport policies with wider development objectives.

As part of its input into the OWG consultation, SLoCaT had organised a side event on sustainable transport chaired by the Netherlands Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Karel van Oosterom and involving Dr Joan Clos, Executive Director of UN HABITAT, Nikhil Seth, Director of Sustainable Development at the UN Department of Social and Economic Affairs, Cornie Huizenga, SLoCaT Joint Convener and FIA Foundation Director General Saul Billingsley.

The latest report is a summary of the group’s consultations and meetings held over the past year. The report’s release marks the final phase of the OWG, when it will compile its full recommendations to the UN as a whole. It was accompanied by the release of a set of ‘focus areas’ by the Open Working Group Co-Chairs which aim to set the agenda for further discussions among the group to compile its proposals. These focus areas also mention safe and sustainable transport and road safety as issues to be considered.

Click here for the 'focus areas' published by the UN OWG >

Click here for the UN OWG Progress Report >

Click here for the Safe Clean Fair and Green agenda >

Watch the Safe Clean Fair and Green film >

Join the campaign for safe roads for all, call on your government to act at the UN >