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Sustainable transport paves way for poverty alleviation, livelihood improvement in developing countries
Last Updated: 2021-10-17 05:28 | Xinhua
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A visitor tries a 5G driving simulation system at the venue of the Second United Nations Global Sustainable Transport Conference in Beijing, capital of China, Oct. 14, 2021. (Xinhua/Li He)

"If you want to become rich, build a road first" is a popular Chinese saying, and it may also work for other developing countries as participants attending a key United Nations (UN) meeting highlighted the role of sustainable transport in reducing poverty and improving people's livelihoods.

Without sustainable transport, there is simply no sustainable development, Courtenay Rattray, UN Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States, said at a thematic session of the ongoing Second United Nations Global Sustainable Transport Conference.

Scheduled from Thursday to Saturday, the conference seeks to provide solutions to achieve safe, accessible, green and resilient transport. Representatives from 171 countries gathered online and offline for the three-day meeting.

"Efforts to accelerate the sustainable transformation of the transport sector are essential to reduce climate-causing emissions and improve the lives and livelihoods of people everywhere," said Liu Zhenmin, Under-Secretary-General of the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs.

Transport infrastructure in some most vulnerable countries is inadequate in both quality and quantity, said Rattray, adding that these countries need support including access in finance, new technologies and innovation.

Better transport is expected to lead to less poverty and improved lives. In Ethiopia, improved road access reduced poverty by 6.9 percentage points and increased consumption growth by 16.3 percentage points, said a UN report on sustainable transport, citing longitudinal household data for 15 villages.

According to the World Bank, a transition to sustainable mobility could deliver savings of 70 trillion U.S. dollars by 2050, when considering full transport costs, including vehicles, fuel, operational expenses, and losses due to congestion. Better access to roads could help Africa become self-sufficient in food and create a regional food market worth 1 trillion dollars by 2030.

In sustainable transport, the development of transport industries such as new energy vehicles should be stressed, according to Li Xuesong, director of the Institute of Quantitative & Technological Economics, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

To achieve sustainability, greater efforts must be put in areas including digitalization, intelligence and technology, which are leading factors in the economic recovery and can help prevent the world economy from falling into long-term wandering, he added.

"In terms of technology, we have been committed to the exploration and development of autonomous driving," said Wei Dong, chief safety operation officer of Baidu Intelligent Driving Group.

Driverless cars can help reduce the number of private vehicles, cut down energy consumption and improve transportation efficiency, which will all facilitate the sustainable development of transport, Wei said.

(Editor:Fu Bo)

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Sustainable transport paves way for poverty alleviation, livelihood improvement in developing countries
Source:Xinhua | 2021-10-17 05:28
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