27 May 2015

UN Chief Urges Ministers to Reduce Environmental Impact of Passenger and Freight Transport  

Ban Ki-moon Speaks Out Before Leipzig Conference

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WORLDWIDE – Once more climate change has been brought sharply into focus with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon speaking directly to the world’s transport ministers in a bid to have them focus on reducing the effect of passenger and freight movements on the environment. In a video message released ahead of the annual meeting of transport ministers during their global summit in the German city of Leipzig which runs until 29 May, Ban said:

“I urge all of you to accelerate your efforts. It is time to reshape the world’s transport systems for a cleaner, safer and more sustainable future.”

Ban called sustainable transport ‘a common thread’ linking the upcoming UN Summit in September in New York and the COP21 climate change conference in Paris in December. In New York, world leaders will define a post-2015 development agenda. In Paris, governments will seek to agree on concrete actions to limit the effects of global warming.

The continuing dependence on oil is a barrier however to several transport sectors cleaning up their acts, and there is a perceived reluctance by vested interests to press for serious changes. Although measures such as the use of hybrid vehicles and improved, compulsory emission standards for road haulage vehicles, plus the drastic reduction in permitted sulphur emissions under the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) latest MARPOL regulations, go some way to improving the situation, more needs to be done on a global basis.

With transport ministers discussing the mitigation of transport-related climate change plus the impacts of trade and tourism on the environment at the Leipzig Summit a joint declaration is anticipated and Mr Ban’s comments are clearly intended to concentrate the minds of those in a position of influence.

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