As part of the development of a new global sustainable development agenda, the co-chairs of an UN Open Working Group (OWG) published on 21 February an initial list of 19 Focus Areas that will be discussed by the OWG in 5 negotiating sessions up to the summer before the OWG will report to the UN General Assembly in September of 2014. Transport is not a focus area in its own right but is mentioned in several of the Focus Areas. SLoCaT in its Results Framework has emphasized the need to improve rural, urban and national access through the provision of infrastructure and transport services. At the same time it is important to reduce the negative impacts of both existing and new transport infrastructure and services, including road crashes, air pollution and climate change. At present these negative impacts are responsible for millions of fatalities and losses of hundreds of billions of dollars each year.
The proposals of the OWG co-chairs call amongst others for providing access to safe, affordable, accessible and sustainable transport; improving road safety and urban air quality; improving energy efficiency in transport and phasing out of inefficient fuel subsidies. At the same time the proposals also emphasize the need for more roads, rail and waterborne transport infrastructure. SLoCaT believes that it is both required and possible to improve urban, rural and national access in a more sustainable manner. This can best be achieved if not the infrastructure is the focus of attention but rather the transport services required for economic and social development. This will be the basis of SLoCaT’s engagement with the OWG process in the months to come.