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Intersessional Ad Hoc Working Groups of the Ninth Session of the Commission on Sustainable Development

UN Headquarters, New York
6-16 March 2001                                                                                           >>Version franšaise: BNT<<

 

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Highlights from Tuesday, 6 March

The CSD-9 Inter-sessional Ad Hoc Working Group on Transport and Atmosphere commenced its work on Tuesday at the UN Headquarters in New York and is expected to conclude its work on Friday, 9 March 2001. Delegates convened in a morning session and heard an opening statement, elected the Co-Chair of the Working Group and adopted the agenda. They considered the Secretary-General's report on transport and adjourned at 1:00 pm. CSD-9 Vice-Chair Madina Jarbussynova (Kazakhstan) opened the meeting and addressed the election of officers. David Stuart (Australia) was elected as Co-Chair of the Working Group. Co-Chair Stuart introduced, and delegates adopted, the agenda (E/CN.17/ISWG.1/2001/1)..

Above photo: CSD-9 Vice-Chairs Madina Jarbussynova (Kazakhstan) and David Stuart (Australia) .

ENB Coverage of the Ad Hoc Open-Ended Intergovernmental Group of Experts on Energy and Sustainable Development met in New York from 26 February to 2 March 2001

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Co-Chair David Stuart's opening remarks. He said the inter-sessional working groups should be recognized as preparatory meetings for the CSD-9 with a view to achieving tangible, action-oriented results. He announced that two documents would be produced, a Co-Chairs' summary of all statements and a compilation of elements for a draft decision on the issues of transport and atmosphere
JoAnne DiSano, Director, Division for Sustainable Development, introduced the report of the Secretary-General on transport (E/CN.17/2001/3). She said that although the ability to transport goods and services is necessary for economic development, emissions pose a threat to health and the environment. She warned that meeting the rising demand for transport could involve high costs, and said that transport investment decisions can promote sustainable development, if undertaken with consideration to land-use regulations. She highlighted, inter alia, the successful promotion of non-motorized transport, the transport needs of the poor and the phasing out of leaded petrol.

Iran, on behalf of the G-77/China, described transport difficulties associated with urban populations, stating that low-income families are particularly affected. Noting that more efficient technologies are expensive, he said widespread efforts to transfer these technologies to developing countries have not been undertaken and that the process has to be preceded by capacity building. He emphasized the importance of taking a gender-sensitive approach, as women's travel tends to focus on household needs. He noted that international trade and foreign direct investment require an efficient international transport system, and warned against the costs of environmental standards and difficulties with applying economic incentives.

The US and the Russian Federation

The US (left) said the work undertaken by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) helps clarify and understand the local and regional effects of climate change. He highlighted actions undertaken by the US to tackle air pollution, including developing hybrid vehicles and supporting voluntary programmes for energy efficiency in homes.

Sweden, on behalf of the EU, stressed the need for more sustainable transportation trends, and called for a more integrative approach to transport planning. He emphasized that poor quality transport and lack of access constrain development in many countries, which is exacerbated by population growth and urbanization. He stated that price-based policies can give consumers and industries incentives to change unsustainable transport patterns, and drew attention to the European Commission's framework for fair pricing. He highlighted equitable access for women and people with special needs, the polluter-pays-principle, non-car transport and the removal of lead from petrol. He recognized the role of global and regional bodies in promoting more sustainable transport and emphasized the role of the business sector and NGOs.

Nigeria said local production is minimal and not affordable in developing countries and called for technology transfer. He noted private funds alone are not sufficient to support transport development in developing countries and called for capacity building and transfer of knowledge on emissions control.

Canada underscored the importance of air transport for the provision of food to remote populations. He suggested evaluating the environmental impacts of actions and policies at all levels of decision making and when monitoring and analyzing transport data. He supported behavioral and technological changes and provision of awareness-raising programmes.

Citing its geographical location, Chile expressed interest in issues relating to maritime transport, including potential environmental risks, the health risk to coastal populations and the sustainability of the Antarctic and sub-Antarctic ecosystems. He proposed restrictions on the movement by sea of radioactive waste, not only dangerous substances.

Saudi Arabia called for: an affordable transportation system for developing countries; low costs in international transport to enable developing countries to transport goods; new and additional resources; the elimination of subsidies in the nuclear and coal energy sectors in developed countries; and a halt to nuclear waste transportation to developing countries.

Australia outlined its planned strategies relating to transport and said capacity building is a practical tool for achieving a sustainable transportation system. She said Australia supports the national and regional policy options outlined in the Secretary-General's report, as well as the Commission's flexible approach to realizing an efficient transport system. She called for a policy that is consistent with other CSD issues on atmosphere and energy.

On the elements for a draft decision on transport, Japan underscored the need to improve the capacity in many countries to gather, compile and analyze data using modern information technologies. He highlighted national and regional policy options, including: incorporating sustainability criteria in infrastructure development decisions; educating the public on the local and global environmental effects of transportation mode choice; promoting the movement of goods that make use of more efficient modes of transportation; cooperating on improving data collection, compilation and analytical capabilities, and methodologies in the transport sector; and continuing and strengthening, where necessary, existing cooperation mechanisms in the transport sector, especially in maritime and air transport.

The NGO Caucus on Sustainable Transport said the fact that developed countries remain the greatest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions despite having the most advanced technologies indicates that a focus on transport technologies alone is unlikely to address the fundamental causes of rapidly growing transport sector emissions. He suggested discussing: measures to facilitate the internalization of social and environmental costs of transport services; mechanisms for facilitating the successful commercial acceptance of pre-existing, yet environmentally sustainable technologies in a developing country context; and road safety issues. He contrasted demands and consumption with technological measures.

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