The United Nations Division for Social Policy and Development (DSPD), in partnership with Baltic Sea Forum (BSF) invited participant to the high-level panel discussion on:
“Sustainable transport as a strategy for the eradication of poverty and the Baltic Sea Region Programme project EMMA as an example of how sustainable transport solutions support the Sustainable Development Goals - from macro-regional specifics to international policies”.
The event took place on Tuesday, 7 February 2017 in the United Nations Headquarters New York during the 55th session of the Commission for Social Development (CSoC55).
Mr Bodewig, President Baltic Sea Forum, moderated the session which aimed to present sustainable transport solutions as tool for social development and elimination of poverty.
An opening remark was given by Ambassador of the Permanent Mission of Germany of the United Nations, Mr. Jürgen Schulz, who also serves as Vice-President of ECOSOC. He stated: “Sustainable transport and mobility are absolutely necessary in order to achieve sustainable development and eradicate poverty in all its dimensions, being key factors for trade and economic development. In Germany, for example, roughly 15 million jobs depend directly on companies’ ability to export their goods and products – which is possible only if these goods can be transported to their final destination.”
Infrastructure is a main prerequisite for social and economic development, and a well-functioning transport system is an integral component of infrastructure.
Infrastructure must offer reliable and efficient transport solutions for industry to successfully take part in (inter)national trade and welfare. Alternative and efficient transport solutions such as inland shipping need to play an important role in the transport mix to support competitiveness and sustainability.
Due to economies of scale, inland ships have significantly lower transport cost per unit than lorries. Thus, inland shipping is a cost efficient transport solution that strengthens the competitiveness of regional companies on the one hand and results in growing trade on the other hand.
Stronger regional cooperation through the creation of more competitive transport solutions results in increased economic development and supports efforts to reduce poverty.
Awareness and knowledge of inland shipping and setting up multimodal transport solutions is rather limited in many regions. In consequence, regional specifics and needs for inland shipping are not adequately considered in national and international politics.
The Baltic Sea Region cooperation project EMMA illustrates how this can be achieved and what is important to consider. Bringing this up on the international policy agenda is a major step towards the further integration of inland shipping in transport chains.
Ms Daniela Bas, Director of DESA’s Division for Social Policy and Development followed by a keynote speech in which she underlined that “Transport is key if accessible, inclusive and sustainable. The lack of transport has negative effects, also on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the UN. Transport can create new forms of employment. The BSR is key to support the SDG.”
Dr. Patrick Ho Chi Ping, Deputy Chairman, Secretary General of China Energy Fund Committee, was a member of the Secretary-General's High-level Advisory Group on Sustainable Transport. Ho confirmed “the importance of sustainable transport, also to achieve further development goals of the UN. It merges overall goals like social inclusiveness, fairness and environmental responsibility.”
Discussions continued with a presentation of the Baltic Sea Region Programme project EMMA. The Project focuses on the strengthening of inland navigation and was highlighted exemplary as best practice example. It can act as showcases how to bring together different stakeholders to work together on joint challenges to strengthen sustainable transport and to create jobs and welfare in Regions by joint cooperation. Mr Stefan Breitenbach, Head of Project Division at Port of Hamburg Marketing and Mr Gunnar Platz, CEO PLANCO Consulting jointly leading the EMMA project combining 21 project partners as well as more than 45 supporting organisations, associations and private entities. It was also made clear by Breitenbach, that political support is needed to strengthen sustainable transport modes such as inland navigation to better integrate it into supply chains. Especially the harmonisation of (international) standards, rules and regulations is needed, where the UN plays a critical role. Uncertainties linked to infrastructure conditions need to be lifted to push investments. The business sector needs to see a clear perspective which is not always given.
Murmokaité summed-up the workshop. She concluded: “A community has to be built to support the further development of inland navigation. Engage everybody in order to have a successful development of inland waterway transport.”
Schulz added “The massive reduction in global poverty (SDG 1) over the last two decades could not have happened without further integrating developing countries into global trade.”
The topic will be further discussed at UN level with focus on transferability of developed concepts and strategies to other countries.
The panel participants in brief
Mr Kurt Bodewig is the European Coordinator for the Baltic-Adriatic Core Network Corridor TEN-T and holds the Mandate Innovative Financing Instruments at the Directorate-General for Mobility and Transport. Since 2003 he is Chairman of Board of the Baltic Sea Forum. This Forum has at its core the strengthening of political, economic and cultural ties around the Baltic Sea Region.
Mr Dr. Patrick Ho Chi Ping, Deputy Chairman, Secretary General of China Energy Fund Committee, was a member of the Secretary-General's High-level Advisory Group on Sustainable Transport and is still engaged in sustainable energy and sustainable transport through the UN system informal network on sustainable mobility. During his membership of the Advisory Group on Sustainable Transport, Dr. Ho repeatedly stressed the links between sustainable transport and poverty reduction.
Mr Jürgen Schulz is Ambassador of the Permanent Mission of Germany of the United Nations. He also serves as Vice-President of ECOSOC. Before coming to New York, Ambassador Schulz was Deputy Political Director and Security Policy Director at the Foreign Office from 2013 to 2016.
Ms Daniela Bas was appointed Director of DESA’s Division for Social Policy and Development on 9 May 2011. A politologist specialized in international politics, human rights and social development, Ms. Bas has most recently served as Senior Consultant designated by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs as expert on human rights to Institutes that operate internationally. She has also provided her expertise on anti-discrimination issues at the Presidency of the Council of Ministers.
Ms. Bas has worked for close to 10 years for the UN as a Professional Officer in social development and human rights, traveling around the world on behalf of the UN and also as a speaker at international conventions. She has also held a number of other significant assignments including as Special Adviser on “Fundamental Rights” for the former Vice President of the European Commission; as the Italian representative designated by the Presidency of the Council of Ministers on the topic “Tourism for All” to the European Commission; and as journalist and broadcaster for Italian Radio and TV.
Mr Stefan Breitenbach has a background in shipping and a degree in Business Administration. In 2009 he started with Port of Hamburg Marketing in the department for market research. Having joint the project division in 2010 he nowadays is head of the department.
Mr Gunnar Platz (transport economist) has been managing partner of PLANCO Essen since 2007. His main fields of experience are transport economics (including demand forecasting and modelling, financial analysis, economic project evaluation and transport policy consultancy) and regional development planning. During 20 years of consultant's work, he was involved in a wide number of projects in Germany, at European level, and overseas. As director of PLANCO, he has long-standing experience as project manager to guide complex project teams, but is also still engaged in technical studies and consultancy.
Ms Raimonda Murmokaitė (born 17 July 1959) is a Lithuanian diplomat, serving as Permanent Representative of Lithuania to the United Nations since 25 October 2012, when she presented her credentials to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. She served as President of the United Nations Security Council for February 2014 and May 2015.