New York, September 18, 2014
I congratulate the co-chairs and bureau members on their appointment. I would join the comments of United Cities and Local Governments in commending Dr. Joan Clos and various states that have called for local authorities to be engaged as full partners with national governments in constructing a global partnership for development and implementation of the New Urban Agenda, along with effective engagement of civil society. I would refer in this context to SLoCaT partnership, which has proven that different groups including MDBs, UN and NGOs can work effectively together in promoting global agendas like sustainable transport.
Habitat III will be a key vehicle to promote timely progress to implement the post-2015 development agenda and progress in reducing global warming through sustainable urban development. Of particular interest in that context is the urban SDG as well as the inclusion of sectoral targets like transport.
Outputs of Habitat III should be a broadly supported political document and an institutional process that strengthens capacity for implementation of the New Urban Agenda within UN member countries as well as in UN bodies. This should advance systems for sustainable development indicators and monitoring of progress, and for integration of more effective regional planning of transport, land use, housing, and natural resource protection. It should include steps that enable new financial intermediaries at a regional, national, and subnational level to build a pipeline of investable projects. These intermediaries should be used to scale-up investment flows for timely planned sustainable urban development and things that support it, such as improved public transport, walking, cycling, and traffic management, supported by expanded public-private partnerships.
Yesterday, at a side event of this PrepCom meeting, my organization, the Institute for Transportation and Development Poiicy joined with the University of California Davis to release a study that built on recent relevant work by the International Energy Agency. Using IEA’s mobility model, we found that higher investment in urban public transport, walking, and cycling could cut car traffic by half from what is forecast for 2050, saving over $100 trillion cumulatively by 2050 in public and private infrastructure, vehicle, operating, and fuel costs. This high shift to public transport, walking, and cycling would also cut urban passenger transport CO2 emissions by 40% annually by 2050 and would triple public transport mobility by the poorest 20% of the world’s population, creating more inclusive cities.
Access for all supported by sustainable transport should be a key theme of the New Urban Agenda and Habitat III. We look forward to supporting this work in the months and years to come.
*The speech was delievered at the at the HABITAT III PrepCom on September 18, 2014 in New York. For more details regarding the event, please refer to here.