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Together with energy efficiency, clean energy technologies such as solar and wind are central to the fight against climate change. They are available today, getting better and cheaper all the time, and help improve air quality whilst creating new jobs. Photo©UN/Eskinder Debebe

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The UN Secretary-General has appointed a new high-level Advisory Group on Sustainable Transport. The aim of the 12-member group is to promote accelerated implementation of sustainable transport aligned closely with the objectives of inclusive and equitable growth. The panel will also work on social development, protection of the global environment and ecosystems, and address climate change.

The Advisory Group of Sustainable Transport will be co-chaired by Mr. Olof Persson, Chief Executive Officer of the Volvo Group, and Ms. Carolina Tohá, Mayor of Santiago, Chile.

Olof Persson.jpg                 Carolina Toha.jpg

Mr. Olof Persson                                                   Ms.Carolina Tohá      

Sustainable Transport

Transportation has a major role to play in the fight against climate change. According to the latest UNEP Emissions Gap Report, the transporation sector has an emission reduction potential of 1,7-2.5 gigatonnes of CO2 in 2020, meaning it has the second highest mitigation potential after the power sector.

The report also identifies policies that have proven successful in reducing greenhouse gas emissions in many different countries, while contributing to national development goals. In the transport sector, policies with significant mitigation potential include:

  • Transit-oriented development
  • Vehicle performance standards
  • Bus Rapid Transit (BRT)

A number of Bus Rapid Transit systems are now in operation and making a big impact on emissions in different parts of the world. In Bogotá, Colombia, a Bus Rapid Transit system is transforming the city. Transmilenio is a massive transportation system that brings exclusive bus lanes operating different routes through the city. A project under the Clean Development Mechanism, the project has improved lives in one of the largest cities in Latin America, where traffic congestion is a major challenge and air quality remains poor.

Three Bus Rapid Transit systems are also featured under the UNFCCC secretariat's Momentum for Change initiative, which showcases the enormous groundswell of activities underway across the globe that are moving the world toward a low-carbon future:

  • The Guangzhou BRT is the first ‘metro replacement’ level BRT system outside South America. The system carries more than triple the single-directional passenger flows of any other BRT system in Asia, and is second only to Bogota’s BRT, Transmilenio, worldwide.
  • In the Indian city of Ahmedabad, with a population of more than 5.5 million, commuting options used to be limited, but the Ahmedabad bus rapid transit system (BRTS) now provides affordable, climate-friendly public transport. 
  • Curitiba in Brazil has become famous for its rapid bus-based public transport used by 70 percent of the population.

A further Momentum for Change project shows the commercial introduction of electric and hybrid vehicles on the streets of Sri Lanka's capital, Colombo:

Transportation-related climate action in the world’s megacities is crucial to bridging the emissions gap and groups C40 cities are leading the way on this critical issue through a transport initiative.

The Global Cities Network ICLEI, in a collaborative effort with other partners, has developed EcoMobility SHIFT to help cities measure their existing transport performance and identify the areas for improvement. ICLEI is a member fo the Eco­Mo­bil­ity Alliance, which is a precursor of the ear­lier Global Alliance for EcoMobility, an NGO launched in Bali in Decem­ber 2007, on the occa­sion of the 2007 UN Cli­mate Change Con­fer­ence. The Eco­Mo­bil­ity Alliance aims to pro­mot­e Eco­Mo­bil­ity at a global level, both in indus­tri­al­ized and devel­op­ing countries.

The world first EcoMobility World Festival was held in Suwon, South Korea, where residents of Haenggung-dong neighborhood in Suwon adopted for the whole month of September 2013 an ecomobile lifestyle.

Sustainable transport was also taken up at the Technical Expert Meeting on Urban Climate Action during the UN Climate Change Conference in Bonn in June, where participants shared good practices and showcased specific initiatives.

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