The Global Partnership on Sustainable Transport (GPST) is a multi-stakeholder collaboration organised by the International Road Transport Union (IRU), the road transport organization representing bus, coach, taxi and truck operators, and the UN Global Compact. On 24 –25 February, the GPST convened a group of senior executives from relevant organisations to brainstorm on strategies for advancing the sustainable transport-related objectives of the Post-2015 Development Agenda. UIC was invited to participate and was represented by a local UIC member Karen Gelman of Amtrak. Other participants included the private sector and NGO representatives from road, aviation, maritime, logistics and shipping, construction and business associations.
The impetus for the GPST came from the Rio+20 Outcome document “The Future We Want” (2012) and the 17 sustainability development goals (SDGs) proposed by the Open Working Group in July 2014 (to be adopted September 2015). Both efforts recognised the critical role transport plays in sustainable development. Although sustainable transport is not a stand-alone goal of the Post-2015 Development process, the international community recognises that it is at the heart of development challenges of gender empowerment, food security and nutrition, urbanisation, job creation, climate change and energy use.
The GPST hopes to become a key platform for industries across modes to address sustainable transport priorities. It will be launched after the United Nations General Assembly formally adopts the Post-2015 Development Agenda in September. It will facilitate information exchange among partners, as well as other interested parties; document best practices of public/private sustainable transport solutions; advocate policies aimed at advancing sustainable transport; and facilitate (inter)national cooperation between stakeholders at their request. The GPST will make its information and reports available to the High-Level Advisory Group on Sustainable Transport, the 12-member group of government, civil society and transport providers appointed in August 2014 by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to promote sustainable transport systems and their integration into development strategies and policies. (UIC Director General Jean-Pierre Loubinoux was appointed to the High-Level Advisory Group by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in September 2014).
Participants in the GPST strategy session heard from Igor Runov, Under-Secretary-General of the Permanent Delegation to the UN, International Road Transport Union, Georg Kell, Executive Director, UN Global Compact, and Nikhil Seth, Director, Sustainable Development Division, UN-DESA on the need for multi-modal collaborations on the issues of sustainability, and the importance the UN has placed on the private sector being an active partner in the global solution.
After a day and a half of brainstorming, the group agreed on two main deliverables for the GPST over the next several months: 1) identify the goals and targets of the SDGs that are translatable to the transport industry in the form of achievable and actionable initiatives; and 2) gather from members of the strategy session, and other GPST stakeholders, specific examples of best practices of sustainable transport initiatives that specifically demonstrate different transport modes and sectors working together. The intent is to work through the High-Level Advisory Group and to have these deliverables by September 2015, when the Open Working Group adopts the final SDGs for the Post-2015 Development Agenda.