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Transport Ministers Gather to Address Climate Change and Road Safety ‎

Ministers of Transport and high-level officials from across the globe will gather in Geneva from 25 to 28 February for the 82nd Session of the Inland Transport Committee (ITC).  The meeting will discuss the greatest challenges of the modern world, in particular combatting climate change and increasing road safety.

The ITC is the highest UNECE policy-making body in the field of transport. With its subsidiary bodies, the ITC has provided a forum, where UN member countries have come together to forge tools for economic cooperation and develop international legally binding instruments on inland transport.  These legal instruments have provided regional and global standards for everything from vehicle construction to road safety. 

Climate Change in Transport

The first Day will consist of a high-level policy segment on “Environmental challenges to sustainable inland transport”.  The effects of climate change on international transport — from compromised infrastructures, to undermined access and connectivity, to road safety and beyond — can be felt in every region in the world.

The ITC is uniquely positioned to be a leader in making transport more environmentally friendly and energy efficient.   

Road Safety

The rest of the week will focus on additional issues including a heavy emphasis on increasing road safety and reducing fatalities.  Every year, 1.35 million people die on the world’s roads ranking road traffic injuries as one of the most pressing challenges of our time. Additionally, road traffic injuries are estimated to create a $1.85 trillion burden on the global economy each year, slowing down sustainable development.

2020 marks the end of the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety which had the goal of reducing road fatalities by half.  While there where strong efforts and some gains during the decade of action, the rise of deaths shows that the goal was far from met.  However, with the lessons learned during the decade as well as the establishment of the United Nations Road Safety Fund (UNRSF), the global community has affirmed its resolve to tackle the issue and the ITC is now in a position to make a serious impact in reducing this global crisis. 

The ITC will examine a comprehensive list of recommendations on strengthening national road safety systems that can be adapted to meet the needs of countries regionally and globally to improve road safety performance and reduce fatalities. The recommendations will act as a blueprint providing actionable ways governments can make their roads safer. 

The regular session of the Committee will start on 26 February, focusing on important topics on the future of inland transport governance, including automation; Intelligent Transport Systems, digitalization; e-documents, including eCMR and eTIR; the transport of dangerous goods; and border-crossing facilitation.

The programme is available at: http://www.unece.org/trans/events/2020/itc82_2020.html