Ministers, delegates and representatives from the nine major groups had a difficult choice of events in which to participate today. The nine major groups of civil society, having been unhappy with the nature of the Ministerial Multi-stakeholder Dialogue yesterday (one NGO stated "it was a monologue, not a dialogue"), took the floor through the auspices of two generous chairman in sessions on transport and mining today, as almost all of the groups were able to make presentations.
The transport roundtable at 10:00 a.m., "Enhancing Access to Sustainable Urban and Rural Transport" was chaired by H.E. Mr. Phil Hogan, Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government of Ireland, and H.E. Mr. Blaise Louembe, Minister for Habitat, Urban Ecology and Sustainable Development of Gabon.
The first panelist, Mr. Joan Clos, Executive Director of UN-HABITAT, stated that despite the amount of greenhouse gases emitted by transportation, more transportation is still needed to serve the needs of all people. Changes in energy provision are needed or there is "no way" to stop greenhouse gas emissions in the transport sector. What humanity needs is a "revolution" in planning.
Ms. Allison Davis, Senior Transportation Planner, Arup, New York, said that political will and vision over a series of governments might be necessary in the area of transport, since it takes much longer to change infrastructure and behavior than we think. Lessons from sister cities and knowledge sharing can be essential in understanding the nature of transport systems.
Mr. Stephan Contius, Head of the German Delegation, called for development of clean, affordable and efficient systems of transport in urban agglomerations and to remove obstacles to accessing rural regions.
H.E. Mr. Abdul Hadi Arghandehwal, Minister of Economy, the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, said that his country faces a number of key challenges, including the legacy of destruction and deterioration that has resulted from prolonged conflict, insufficient and unreliable funding for the reconstruction and development of transportation systems, and a poorly developed consulting and contracting industry.
Mr. Kevin Harings, representative of Children and Youth, stated that sustainable transport can offer children and youth in rural areas access to quality education.
Minister Louembe declined to sum up the session, only saying that he offered a few points in reflection: sustainable development requires mobility and fluidity in transport; each country must set realistic policies in the transport sector; and transportation for the most vulnerable in society, including older persons and the disabled, is a necessity.