Time to deliver on promise of UN Global Goals
The Sustainable Development Goals that are adopted today will set the global mobility agenda for a generation.
Decisions taken over the next few years, decisions guided or influenced by the targets included in the Global Goals, will define our world far beyond the SDGs' 2030 deadline. This is particularly true in the area of transportation, with long-term investment in everything from highways and mass transit to vehicle propulsion technologies to telematics to urban planning shaping the way our children and grandchildren will travel, their quality of life and their health. Much is at stake.
As world leaders conclude their speeches and the SDGs are formally adopted, attention will turn to practical implementation. The Global Goals encompass a wide agenda. Even within the goals and targets related to mobility there are many issues that need to be addressed. For the FIA Foundation, it makes sense to focus our efforts on a small set of key priorities on which we can make a real difference.
In Goal 3, 'Health', the Foundation is supporting efforts to meet target 3.6, to reduce road traffic fatalities by 50% by 2020, and target 3.9, to substantially reduce the contribution of road transport to air pollution by 2030.
Our road safety objectives include: supporting programmes and advocacy for safer vehicles, with the aim that all new cars meet minimum UN safety standards by 2020; urging governments and development agencies to star rate all roads, with the aim that we move towards minimum '3 star' (out of 5) safety performance for all road users on the 10% of highest risk roads by 2020; supporting legislative change, awareness raising and enforcement to encourage national efforts to secure 100% seat-belt and motorcycle crash helmet use by 2020. This is the agenda we will be taking to the 2nd Global High Level Conference on Road Safety - and the first SDG road safety implementation conference - in Brasilia in November.
Air pollution is an even greater killer than road traffic injuries and emissions from road traffic are a significant contributor. Working through the Partnership for Clean Fuels & Vehicles, a highly successful coalition arising from the first round of (Millennium) Development Goals, and as a member of the Climate & Clean Air Coalition, the Foundation has contributed to the phase-out of leaded fuel, and is enabling reductions in sulphur content in fuel in some countries, and efforts to tackle particulate emissions. Much more must be done.
In Goal 7, 'Energy', our focus is on target 7.3, to double the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency. With our partners in the Global Fuel Economy Initiative, we are leading an international campaign to improve vehicle fuel efficiency, work recognised by the G20 and the UN's 'Sustainable Energy for All' platform. As the world prepares for the make or break Paris Climate Summit in December, GFEI is delivering a practical and focused effort to recruit 100 countries to meet the challenge of securing a 50% improvement in average fuel efficiency for new cars by 2030.
But fuel efficiency is only part of the equation. Car use must be rationalised and reduced, and the underlying causes of car dependency tackled, by ensuring there are efficient and affordable alternatives - particularly accessible mass transit. So in Goal 11, 'Cities', we are focusing on target 11.2, to ensure safe and sustainable urban mobility by 2030. Other organisations are leading the effort to persuade policymakers to balance car use with mass transit. At the Foundation we are focusing on supporting non-motorised, low-carbon, transport: walking and cycling. Through our 'Share the Road' partnership with the UN Environment Programme, and in exciting new alliances soon to be announced, the Foundation aims to work at the forefront of efforts to enable safe and equitable access to sidewalks, cycle lanes and to promote a 'feet first' re-imagining of urban mobility design.
At the core of this agenda our vision, encompassing the Health and City Goals, but also goals on education (4), sustainable infrastructure (9) and inequality (10), is for every child to have a safe route to school - ideally a journey they can make independently by foot, bike or bus - by 2030, with low speed limits a crucial element. Our new partnerships with UNICEF and Save the Children; the proven results of our road safety NGO partners - AIP Foundation, Amend, EASST and Fundacion Gonzalo Rodriguez; and the diversity and reach of our member FIA club network forms the basis of a strong alliance to make this vision a reality and, in the words of the SDG communique 'transform our world'.
This week there is a palpable excitement and enthusiasm amongst the international development community assembling in New York. And for the first time those of us involved in road safety and sustainable mobility are inside the 'club' and have a direct stake and role in delivering the global agenda. There will inevitably be a sense of celebration as the Global Goals are adopted. They are the result of years of consultation and negotiation, and - whether they ultimately succeed or fail - at this moment represent the best of international cooperation and hope for the future. 'Project Everyone', a massive communications campaign, will try to connect the excitement inside the UN bubble with millions of people across the world.
This connection to real people is vitally important. The high idealism of much of the diplomatic discussion that led to the Global Goals has often seemed divorced from national political realities that obstruct progress through indifference or design. If, for example, we are to achieve a 2020 road safety target many governments and institutions will have to show much more commitment and energy than they have hitherto. Civil society activism can help to identify and support political champions, ensure accountability and provide the impetus to build home-grown strategies. When harnessed, this energy must be channelled through focused, practical, measurable solutions that address local issues and are owned locally and delivered through local expertise.
'On behalf of the peoples we serve...', this is how world leaders begin their commitment to deliver the Global Goals. And this is an agenda for people. It is for the child who misses out on an education because her leg has been crushed by a truck on the way home from school; it is for the parent who can't let her child play outside because the air is brown and burns his throat; it is for the community torn in two by a new highway they are too poor to use; it is for the islanders sinking further into the sea every time we fill our fuel tanks. These stories, this human experience, and the opportunity for progress: this is what motivates all of us at the FIA Foundation, and this is why we will strive to do what we can to deliver on the promise of the Global Goals.
Support the campaign to promote the Global Goals at http://www.globalgoals.org/