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International Transport Forum Summit celebrates 10th anniversary

LEIPZIG, Ger.—The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s annual International Transport Forum is celebrating 10 years of existence this year with continued funding and a renewed mandate.

This year’s ITF summit, held in Leipzig, Germany, examines green and inclusive transport.

Transport is a key enabler of trade but also of welfare for people worldwide, noted Jose Viegas, Secretary-General of the ITF, at the kick-off press conference May 18.

Transport activity is responsible for over a quarter of fossil fuel related CO2 emissions. It is the one major sector that has not achieved a downward pathway, but still has CO2 emissions rising, he noted.

This year’s summit saw 1077 participants from over 71 countries. Today the ITF has 57 member countries.

“We have several dozen ministers with us for our deliberations; from ITF member countries but also from non-members such as South Africa, Thailand or Mongolia,” Viegas said.

Mr. Kitack Lim, Secretary General of the International Maritime Organization, attended the Opening Plenary session and spoke on the panel.

In December 2015, in Paris, France, governments of some 180 nations agreed on a framework to achieve carbon neutrality.

“Transport is not mentioned in the Paris agreement. It is referenced in some of the national commitments, but mostly in a very general way and with a lot of wishful thinking,” Viegas said.

“So COP21 has thrown the transport sector a big challenge-a twin challenge in fact. Our challenge is to reduce transport CO2 without sacrificing the access and opportunities offered by transport-which keep our societies together and make our economies turn,” he said.

While technology is an important part of the answer, it will not suffice.

“We must look at other things to make the progress we need. Some of them are outside the traditional transport sector,” Viegas said.

The ITF will also launch a major initiative at the summit by kicking off its Decarbonizing Transport project on May 19.

The second theme of the summit is inclusive transport, meaning that good mobility options should be available to everyone, creating more equality of access to opportunity.

An ITF report looking at mobility and its organization will also be presented during the summit, Viegas announced.

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