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19 Jun 2013 - 21 Jun 2013
Berlin, Germany

Statements & Presentations

Berlin High-level Dialogue on Implementing Rio+20 Decisions on Sustainable Cities and Urban Transport
A. Background

Rapid private motorization poses growing challenges and problems, including urban congestion, inefficient fuel use and air pollution. Many cities around the world face similar challenges. Making cities and urban transportation systems more sustainable will be a prerequisite for poverty eradication, a “greener” economy and sustainable development.

Rio+20 noted “that transportation and mobility are central to sustainable development”, and recognized “the importance of the efficient movement of people and goods, and access to environmentally sound, safe and affordable transportation as a means to improve social equity, health, resilience of cities, urban-rural linkages and productivity of rural areas” ("The future we want", A/RES/66/288; §132). Rio+20 called upon governments to “support the development of sustainable transport systems, including energy efficient multi-modal transport systems, notably public mass transportation systems, clean fuels and vehicles, as well as improved transportation systems in rural areas” (§133).

The Conference emphasized “the important role of municipal governments in setting a vision for sustainable cities, from the initiation of city planning through to revitalization of older cities and neighbourhoods, including by adopting energy efficiency programmes in building management and developing sustainable, locally appropriate transport systems” (§136). Rio +20 also “recognized that partnerships among cities and communities play an important role in promoting sustainable development”, and stressed “the need to strengthen existing cooperation mechanisms and platforms, partnership arrangements and other implementation tools” (§137).

B. Objectives of the Rio+20 Follow-up High-level Dialogue

Whereas the Rio+20 Conference laid the foundation and charted the overall course for the desirable and needed policy action towards “the future we want”, the challenges ahead lie in rapidly and effectively implementing the above mentioned decisions. The Berlin High-level Dialogue on Implementing Rio+20 Decisions on Sustainable Cities and Urban Transport will coincide with the first anniversary of the Rio+20 Conference. The Berlin High-level Dialogue will also coincide with the 2013 Global Forum on Human Settlements and Awards Ceremony (GFHS).

The main objectives of the dialogue are to (a) highlight proven sustainable urban planning and transport policies and measures, (b) identify good and best practices in this regard, and (c) facilitate capacity building through national and international exchanges of information and experiences among relevant practitioners, experts and policy makers, in particular from developing countries. Whereas the High-level Dialogue is not a formal inter-governmental meeting, it provides a forum for national, regional and global information exchange and consultations among stakeholders, experts and decision makers.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon recently announced a Five Year Action Plan for his second term in office (2012-2016). Transport was identified as one of the six main building blocks for achieving sustainable development. The Secretary-General announced his intention to “convene aviation, marine, ferry, rail, road and urban public transport providers, along with Governments and investors, to develop and take action on recommendations for more sustainable transport systems that can address rising congestion and pollution worldwide, particularly in urban areas.” The Berlin High-level Dialogue on Implementing Rio+20 Decisions on Sustainable Cities and Urban Transport will provide an important contribution to this process.
United Nations