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Alex Trepelkov, officer-in-charge of the Division for SDGs at the U.N. Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Liu Zhenmin, U.N. under-secretary-general for economic and social affairs, and Siddharth Chatterjee, U.N. resident coordinator in China (from L to R) attend a curtain raiser press briefing for the second U.N. Global Sustainable Transport Conference, Oct. 12, 2021, in Beijing. [Photo courtesy of the Office of U.N. Resident Coordinator in China]

The second United Nations Global Sustainable Transport Conference is expected to help achieve the objectives of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on climate change in the Decade of Action, according to a curtain raiser press briefing held Tuesday.

The conference, scheduled to take place from Oct. 14 to 16 in Beijing, will bring together key stakeholders from governments, U.N. system and other international organizations, the private sector, and civil society to discuss the integrated and cross-cutting nature of sustainable transport and its multiple roles in supporting the achievement of the 2030 Agenda.

Siddharth Chatterjee, U.N. resident coordinator in China, said the conference comes at a critical juncture as the world looks for a way forward to achieve the 2030 Agenda and recover from the COVID-19 crisis, while focusing on the Paris Agreement at the same time.

"It will provide a chance to focus attention on the opportunities, challenges, and solutions towards achieving sustainable transport worldwide," Chatterjee said.

Liu Zhenmin, U.N. under-secretary-general for economic and social affairs, emphasized the importance of sustainable transport in achieving the sustainable development goals (SDGs).

He said that years of progress toward eradicating poverty and hunger were reversed by the pandemic in 2020, and climate change grows more deadly with each passing year.

Two years into the U.N. Decade of Action for the SDGs, Liu said that accelerated progress is needed simultaneously across multiple goals and targets, and focused efforts should be made in areas where there are deep and systemic links across economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development, adding that sustainable transport is one of these crucial areas.

Liu explained that transport is vital for promoting connectivity, trade, economic growth and employment, but the sector accounts for 24% of global CO2 emissions.

Resolving these trade-offs is essential to achieving sustainable transport and, through that, sustainable development, he said.

Liu, also secretary-general of the conference, said all modes of transport — road, rail, aviation and waterborne — will be addressed at the upcoming event.

The concerns of vulnerable groups, such as women, young people, the elderly, people with disabilities and the poor, as well as many developing countries, including the least developed countries, landlocked developing countries and small island developing states, will receive particular focus, he added.

The first Global Sustainable Transport Conference was held in 2016 in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan. The decision to convene the second conference was made in 2018 by U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres following a resolution adopted by the U.N. General Assembly 2017.