SPEECHES & TRANSCRIPTS Speech by World Bank Group Senior Vice President Mahmoud Mohieldin: “Global Sustainable Transport Conference”

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Senior Vice President for the 2030 Development Agenda, UN Relations and Partnerships Mahmoud MohieldinGlobal Sustainable Transport ConferenceAshgabat, Turkmenistan


Mr. Wu Hongbo, Under-Secretary-General of UN-DESA, and Mr. Rashid Meredov, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

It’s an honor to be here in Ashgabat representing President Jim Kim and the World Bank Group at this important gathering on sustainable transport.

The World Bank Group is committed to support the implementation of the SDGs — and transport is a core part of this ambition.

We define a vision for sustainable transport and mobility along four dimensions: universality with emphasis on access to people with disabilities, the disadvantaged, and the most vulnerable, with an aim in achieving accessibility for all to modern mobility solutions – efficiency, safety, and shifting transport infrastructure and services to a “green” and low carbon, low pollution, and low noise path.

However there are serious obstacles to achieve this vision.

The world population is expected to reach 8.5 billion by 2030, putting an exponential increase in demand for mobility. Further, the number of light-duty vehicles on the road will significantly increase while adequate public transport remains unaffordable to a large population in many major cities in the world.

70% of fuel energy is lost in engine and driveline inefficiencies.

The number of people who have suffered road deaths reached 1,250,000 in 2013 and has increased by 32% in low-income countries between 2010 and 2013.

And air pollution was responsible for more than 3.2 million early deaths in 2010, and today in 2016, transport is responsible for 23% of energy-related greenhouse gas emissions.

Ladies and Gentlemen, this conference marks an important moment for the international community, and development partners such as the UN and World Bank Group to come alongside countries rethinking the transport sector in the context of the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals – an agenda that has pledged a new vision in which transport sustainably moves people and goods across towns and across the globe.

Sustainable transport is also an important piece in helping achieve our institution’s twin goals of ending extreme poverty by 2030 and boosting shared prosperity.

In order to achieve “The future We Want”, we need the right kind of mobility. We need people, their ideas, and goods to move in a way that improves development but does not harm the planet.

Recent international agreements, have helped frame a vision for the transport sector, to ensure it plays its role as an enabler in ensuring prosperity for all and protecting the planet.  But it is up to us, now, at this conference, to create the consensus on what we want to achieve, and how to get there.

This is why at the World Bank Group we see sustainable transport as a critical enabling sector achieving our twin goals in three ways:

First, dependable and sustainable transport systems are needed to accelerate inclusive and sustainable economic growth. Transport enables access to markets, and provides access to jobs.

Second, transport enables investment in human capital by allowing people to access schools, hospitals, and other essential services.

And third, resilient transport systems are the backbone of resilient economies that can withstand natural disasters and shocks.

And how do we achieve this ambition? I see three elements to this: financing; data; and an implementation action plan.

On finance, the World Bank Group aims to increase the share of our transport finance investment and we are working with other multilateral development banks (MDBs) to increase financing and reduce emissions.

While financing from MDBs and Official Development Assistance (ODA) are important, especially for the poorest nations, to get to the financing we need to leverage our existing resources to attract greater private finance. Over the past five years, the private sector has invested an average of $124 billion per year in private infrastructure projects. And we can do more.

We need to stop crowding-out the private sector, and provide adequate incentives for businesses to get involved in achieving the SDG. And institutions like the World Bank Group can work with governments on standards and enhancing regulatory frameworks to help create those incentives.

On data, we need better data and a tracking framework for the transport sector. The SDG and Paris commitments related to transport have not yet been translated into measurable targets.

With this in mind, the World Bank has convened a multi-stakeholder partnership to develop a “global tracking framework” that will bring together global goals and country-level performance on a common platform.

Finally, on implementation, to transform mobility we are proposing that all actors in the transport space join forces to develop a common, global vision for mobility around clearly defined goals, a global program of actions to achieve these goals, and a leadership coalition to support it.

This meeting in Ashgabat — where sustainable transport is of particular strategic importance – can bring us one step closer to our common vision: to advance sustainable transport, and to ensure a more accessible, efficient, safer and greener future for all.

Thank you.