UNITED NATIONS, June 11 (Xinhua) -- A high-level advisory group, established by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, agreed on Thursday to take measures that could accelerate a shift toward safer, healthier, more effective, efficient and sustainable transport systems.
The UN secretary-general's High Level Advisory Group on Sustainable Transport, meeting in Milan, Italy, agreed to develop a set of recommendations for policy makers, and work to convene the first international conference on sustainable development in 2016, said a press release issued here.
The group will also produce the first global sustainable transport outlook report in 2016 that will cover all transport modes and important issues, such as road safety, traffic congestion, climate impacts, health issues and clean fuels.
Sustainable transport is an increasingly important concern in a rapidly urbanizing world, 54 percent of whose population now lives in cities.
There are presently 1.3 billion cars, vans, trucks and buses on the roads worldwide, and all indications point to a continued pattern of motorization, with the number of motor vehicles expected to reach 1.6 billion by 2035.
The transport sector is responsible for nearly a quarter of all global energy-related emissions, and transportation has been the largest energy consuming sector in 40 percent of all countries.
"We simply have to build better, safer, and more sustainable transportation systems if we are going to promote prosperity and greater social well-being while protecting the environment," UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs Wu Hongbo said at the meeting.
"The purpose of this advisory group is to provide recommendations to policy makers and business and civil society leaders that will help build sustainable transport systems that will effectively move people and goods while reducing greenhouse gas emissions and accidents at the same time," Wu said.
The growing need for sustainable transport has been increasingly recognized at the international level, at Rio+20 and at last September's Climate Summit in New York.
The need for sustainable transport is well integrated into the proposed sustainable development goals that will be presented for adoption at the Sustainable Development Summit this September.
The advisory group is supported by a Technical Working Group (TWG) comprising experts from various UN organizations as well as non-UN institutions which are active in transport-related activities.