November 26 marks the first ever United Nations World Sustainable Transport Day. There will be an inaugural event with high-level UN staff and transport experts on November 24 in Geneva. On November 26, several knowledge and awareness raising tools will be launched. Celebrations will focus on promoting sustainable, efficient, and inclusive transport, showcasing how transport supports our daily life, makes us safe, and contributes to the climate agenda.
Putting sustainable transport on the agenda
In recent years, sustainable transport has received more international attention, for example with the United Nations Global Sustainable Transport Conferences, which have taken place in 2016 and 2021. As the clock is ticking, the 2030 timeline to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement comes ever closer. And considering that transport accounts for around 24% of CO2 emissions from fuel combustion, 57% of global oil demand, and 28% of total energy consumption, there is a lot of potential for more sustainability. In a 2021 interagency report, the United Nations focused on “Sustainable Transport, Sustainable Development”, emphasizing the role of sustainable transport in reducing carbon emissions and mitigating climate change.
In May 2023, the General Assembly of the United Nations adapted resolution A/RES/77/286, introduced by Turkmenistan and supported by 66 other countries, to have an international day dedicated to sustainable transport. On November 26, member states of the United Nations as well as UN organizations, international and regional organizations, and civil society are invited to mark World Sustainable Transport Day by means of education and the holding of events aimed at enhancing the knowledge of the public on sustainable transport issues.
The importance of sustainable transport for a green transition
Sustainable transport initiatives positively impact communities worldwide: They support sustainable economic growth, improve the social welfare of people, and enhance international cooperation and trade among countries. Sustainable transport is essential to achieving a sustainable and green transition. The term sustainability reaches for beyond reducing carbon emissions: It also includes a focus on accessibility, safety, improved resilience, and other aspects related to the environmental and social impact of transport.
Crucial for the achieving the goals promoted during World Sustainable Transportation Day is the transformative ‘Avoid – Shift – Improve’ concept, a guiding principle that underscores the urgent need for a paradigm shift in our approach to transportation. To truly achieve sustainability, we must first ‘Avoid’ unnecessary travel where possible, harnessing the power of technology and remote connectivity to reduce the demand for physical transportation. Next, the imperative is to ‘Shift’ towards eco-friendly and socially inclusive modes of transport, steering away from conventional practices that contribute to environmental degradation. In doing so, we champion the cause of active transportation, such as walking and cycling, as integral components of a low-carbon future, particularly in urban landscapes. TUMI’s commitment extends to promoting e-mobility and smart mobility solutions, fostering a holistic transformation that aligns with the aspirations of World Sustainable Transportation Day. By continuously striving to ‘Improve’ intermodal connectivity and efficiency, we pave the way for a sustainable transport landscape. Learn more about the ‘Avoid – Shift – Improve’ approach in our Knowledge Hub.
Importantly, November 26 is also very close in date to this year’s climate conference, COP28, set to take place in Dubai from November 30 to December 12, 2023. This is very intentional as the debates around the world’s first Sustainable Transport Day will hopefully filter into the COP discussions and foster a deeper focus on transport.