On 1 January 2016, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, with its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which have been adopted by world leaders in September 2015, officially came into force. Over the next 15 years, with these new SDGs that universally apply to all, countries will mobilize efforts to end all forms of poverty, fight inequalities and tackle climate change, while ensuring that no one is left behind.

Rural Communities will represent 30% of the global population in 2030, and it is vital that they are not “left behind” in the new post-2015 development framework. It is clear that rural transport has a unique position in the 2030 Agenda. Although there is no dedicated target on rural transport, there is still a considerable linkage and contribution between rural transport and SDGs 1 (No Poverty), 2 (Zero Hunger), 3 (Good Health and Well-being), 4 (Quality Education), 5 (Gender Equality), 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth), 9 (Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure), 12 (Responsible Consumption and Production) and 13 (Climate Action). In addition, there is a specific indicator for rural access under Target 9.1 in the list of proposed indicators by the International Advisory Expert Group on the Sustainable Development Goals.

In the current SDG structure there is still a considerable amount of unfinished business in terms of rural transport; as need for improved rural transport and enhanced rural access, which are key for rural development and food security, are not fully featured prominently among the SDGs, the targets and the indicators. Continued promotion and advocacy are required to ensure rural communities, that will represent 30% of the global population at 2030, are not ‘left behind’ in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.

The High-Level Political Forum 2017, “Eradicating poverty and promoting prosperity in a changing world,” will be held on July 10 to 19, 2017 in New York to review SDG no. 1, 2, 3, 5, 9, and 14. The SLoCaT Partnership, under its Phase II project with the Research for Community Access Partnership, will continue to promote the implementation of sustainable rural access in the 2030 Agenda in the coming years and is expected to contribute to the discussions in July in New York.

First Global Sustainable Transport Outlook Report by the High Level Advisory Group on Sustainable Transport from a Rural Transport Perspective

In 2014, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced the establishment of the High Level Advisory Group on Sustainable Transport (HLAGST) to promote sustainable transport that is in line with inclusive and equitable growth, social development, protection of the global environment and ecosystems, and addressing climate change. The HLAGST has delivered its recommendations in October 2016 through the Global Sustainable Transport Outlook Report: Mobilizing Sustainable Transport for Development. The report demonstrates how all modes of transport, in both developing and developed countries, can drive sustainable development and meet the needs of people in their personal and economic lives while respecting the ability of future generations to meet their needs. The report highlights the importance of rural transport as a key driver in solving the Last Mile challenge and enabling poor communities to rise out of poverty and overcome social inclusion. This will help fulfill the promise of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to “leave no one behind.

SLoCaT has released an article via the ReCAP quarterly newsletter to analyze the report from a rural transport perspective. The full article is available here.