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24 April 2013

UN highlights role of transport in sustainable development at Bali Forum

Ban Ki-moon, the United Nations Secretary-General,  welcomed efforts by Asian countries at a United Nations-backed regional forum this week in addressing the role of transportation in the effort to fight climate change and achieve sustainable development.

In his message at the opening of the Seventh Regional Environmentally Sustainable Transport Forum in Asia and Global Consultation on Sustainable Transport in the post 2015 Development Agenda, the Secretary-General commended delegates for discussing next-generation transport systems for the 21st century.

The design and construction of sustainable transport infrastructure on a global scale was highlighted as a major element in the struggle to minimize vulnerability to climate change and natural disasters. The Forum was urged to contribute to a transformative post-2015 development agenda.

The two-day meeting, held in Bali, Indonesia, will explore a variety of issues related to transport in relation to the outcome of the 2012 UN Conference on Sustainable Development, known as Rio+20 under the theme Next Generation Transport System We Want for 21st Century~ Looking Beyond Rio+20.

Topics include the promotion of public bicycle schemes, greenways initiatives for converting road space into leaner parks and high quality pedestrian areas, and the full integration of public transport modes.

In addressing the importance of sustainable transport, Ban also noted that access to goods and services through efficient means was “essential” not only in preserving the environment but also in reducing poverty.

The role of better land-use and transport system planning in facilitating access to jobs, goods and services has been highlighted as a major factor in sustainable development in the region.

Echoing this point in a message delivered Tuesday to Brazil’s National Association of Mayors, the Secretary-General also urged Brazil’s local officials to renew their commitment to developing sustainable cities in order to ensure better lives for the growing numbers of people who inhabit the world’s urban environments.

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