The Secretary-General of the International Transport Forum (ITF) at the OECD, José Viegas, has welcomed the creation of a High-Level Advisory Group on Sustainable Transport by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and pledged to support the work of the new body.

The creation of the Advisory Group was announced by the UN on 8 August. It will consist of twelve leading representatives of the transport sector and is mandated to provide Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon with recommendations on sustainable transport actionable on global, national, local and sector levels over the next three years.

“The creation of the UN High-Level Advisory Group on Sustainable Transport constitutes an important step towards focusing on transport as a priority building block for sustainable development,” said Viegas.

“More than 40 years after the first oil crisis of 1973 and more than 20 years after global warming became a household word, transport is still 97% dependent on fossil fuels and produces almost 25% of man-made carbon emissions. The time has come to end this, because it is simply unsustainable.”

Viegas added that rapid urbanisation also required action in the transport arena to ensure the dramatic growth of cities in the coming decades remains sustainable: “Where efficient urban mobility systems provide good access, growing cities can be places of opportunity and motors of economic growth. Without it, they are prone to become poverty traps and even places of squalor. The choice is ours, and we face it now.”

“The International Transport Forum, which brings together the ministers with responsibility for transport of 54 countries, is prepared to support the High-Level Advisory Group in whatever ways it can,” Viegas said.

“Sustainability will be an important theme at ITF’s Annual Summit of Transport Ministers in May 2015 in Leipzig, Germany. And we are confident that our analytical work, such as the annual ITF Transport Outlook, can provide valuable substantive input for the development of the group’s recommendations.”

“The ITF is delighted that Olof Persson, CEO of Volvo Group and distinguished member of the ITF Corporate Partnership Board, has been named a co-chair of the High-Level Group, and that many other distinguished personalities closely associated with the International Transport Forum will serve as members. The International Transport Forum wishes the work of the High-Level Group on Sustainable Transport every success in its endeavours.”