LEIPZIG, Ger.–The Council of Ministers of Transport at the 2016 Summit of the International Transport Forum in Leipzig, Germany, officially released their declaration on green and inclusive transport May 19.
Transport that is environmentally responsible, inclusive, efficient and economically sustainable will be central to implementing the commitments made at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) 21st Conference of Parties (COP21) in Paris in December 2015 and achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals, the ministers said.
“Recognition of transport’s leading role comes with the duty to make the sector greener and more inclusive. Our challenge is to ensure affordable access for all and provide services for the trade and mobility on which our economies and wellbeing depend, while reducing impacts on the environment and public health,” the declaration said.
Demand for transport is growing rapidly, with particularly strong growth coming from trade-driven freight transport and rapid or persistent motorization in urban areas. Most of this growth is CO2 intensive. The Paris Agreement on Climate Change opens a new era of initiative to secure a low- carbon future for transport. This will be essential to address the growing share of transport in global energy-related CO2 emissions.
A combination of advances in renewable power generation and propulsion technology, managing demand along with changes in behaviour, as well as novel approaches to rationalizing mobility and land use, will be necessary to address these challenges. At the same time, exogenous factors such as changing demographics, rapid urbanization, new trade patterns and digital connectivity need to be factored in.
Our ability to respond to these challenges and opportunities will determine the effectiveness of the shift to green and inclusive transport.
“We, the Ministers responsible for transport in the member countries of the International Transport Forum, have assembled under the Presidency of Denmark to seek mutual understanding of, and orient our response to, these challenges.
We acknowledge the dramatic increase in motorization in countries and its impacts on climate change, air pollution, and public health, and underline the need to adjust transport operations and policies to reverse these impacts; we recognize that the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and the UN Sustainable Development Goals will support integration of low-carbon transport policies in national and local initiatives to reduce the adverse effects of climate change and foster sustainable development across the ITF membership,” they said in the declaration.
The ministers promised to undertake actions to promote initiatives and effective mechanisms that foster more sustainable transport:
“We encourage enhanced coordination of transport and environmental policies across ministries and among all levels of authority, in order to better promote the shift to both green and inclusive transport, through aligned, cost-efficient and coherent policies; and we actively support the ITF’s analytical work to help countries reduce transport-related carbon emissions and improve fuel efficiency, while enhancing transport safety and security,” the Declaration stated.
The ministers agreed that transport plays a central role in providing access to jobs, education, goods and services as well as opportunities for all, with public transport playing a vital role in delivering inclusive access and in reducing the carbon intensity of the transport sector.
Ministers recognized the need to co-ordinate transport and land-use planning and policies to foster social inclusion; in particular, the development of integrated transport and social housing policies that increase access to employment through proximity and affordable, high quality transport services.
They advised all relevant authorities and operators to intensify efforts to make transport infrastructure, equipment and services accessible, and to promote a continued focus on assessing the economic, environmental and social benefits of inclusive and accessible transport for incorporation in project and policy appraisal.