Second UN Sustainable Transport Conference

The second United Nations Global Sustainable Transport Conference took place 14-16 October, providing a focus on the opportunities, challenges and solutions towards achieving sustainable transport worldwide. The conference intent was to indicate a way forward for sustainable transport to help achieve the objectives of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on climate change in the Decade of Action.

Transport facilitates the mobility of people and goods and is essential to international trade. For all of the positive aspects it provides - connecting people at all levels and supporting economic growth and social equit -  it also has a negative environmental impact. Nearly a quarter of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions come from transport and these emissions are projected to grow substantially in the years to come, contributing to climate change. In addition, pollution from transport in urban areas in particular has a direct impact on health. 

The second Global Sustainable Transport Conference gathered key stakeholders from Governments, the UN system and other international organizations, the private sector, and civil society to discuss the integrated and cross-cutting nature of sustainable transport and its multiple roles in supporting the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development 2030 Agenda. All modes of transport—road, rail, aviation and waterborne—were addressed, and recent scientific and technological advances deliberated.

The high-level event included H.E. Mr. António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations, and heads of state addressing the conference as well as participating in the opening ceremony. Dr Cleopatra Doubmia-Henry, President of the World Maritime University (WMU), was invited to attend the conference. She remarked, “It is critical that we continue the discussions about sustainable transport, but also that we find tangible ways to action the outcomes of those discussions. We have no choice but to make a change. We have a closing window of opportunity regarding climate action, and we must seize it for the good of humanity, and this exceptional planet we all call home. WMU will continue to fulfill its capacity building mission, educating the maritime and ocean leaders of tomorrow who have the knowledge to make a tangible difference, as well as conducting cutting-edge research, in support of achieving the of the UN 2030 Agenda.” 

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