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Bogota Declaration on Sustainable Transport Objectives

Ten Latin American Governments agreed on opportunities and actions to provide more environmentally sustainable, efficient, and equitable access to goods and services in Latin America.

At a three-day intergovernmental forum, the first Foro de Transporte Sostenible (FTS), over one hundred participants, including senior government representatives, experts and civil society participants from 10 Latin American countries1, agreed to the Bogotá Declaration, which outlines common goals on environmentally sustainable transport in Latin America up to 2020.

“Transport is one of the central issues today in Latin America. It is key to economic development, but it generates about 35% of emissions. Despite significant improvement, transport often still fails to provide equitable access to the poor,” said Luis Alberto Moreno, President of the Inter-American Development Bank. “Nearly 5 million new cars are added each year to the fleet of motor vehicles, while tens of millions of old and highly polluting vehicles continue in service,harming the health of hundreds of millions of people. While cleaner technologies can help, it is vital to also focus on mass transport issues in cities and to plan sustainable cities.”

German Cardona Gutiérrez, Colombia’s Minister of Transport, the local host for the meeting, emphasized the importance of a comprehensive approach towards sustainable transport. He described Colombia’s efforts to transform the countries freight and logistics systems into a
world-class system. He also explained that for the first time Colombia now has a dedicated Vice-Minister focusing on the sustainability of transport services.

Growing economic prosperity in Latin America is helping advance sustainable development, but growth in individual motor vehicle transport demand simultaneously constrains achievement of a healthy local environment and contributes to global climate change. Choudhury Rudra Charan Mohanty, Coordinator of the Environmental Program, United Nations Centre for Regional Development, said, “Together with the outcome of the Asia Environmentally Sustainable Transport Forum, this Latin American Forum not only helps globalize Environmentally Sustainable Transport, but it adds meaningful dimensions to the on-going process leading to United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, Rio+20.” He invited the host countries – as UN member states – to communicate the outcomes of these regional Fora to the UN Secretary General for consideration at UNCSD Rio+20.

The Forum in Latin America on 22-24 June, 2011, in Bogotá, Colombia sets in motion a regional mechanism and consultative process to share best practices and policy instruments, to promote collaborative and participatory efforts to address emerging issues of common concern related to transport. The FTS was jointly organized by the Inter-American Development Bank, the United Nations Centre for Regional Development, and the Ministry of Transport, Colombia. 

An initial review of the status of transport in Latin America, prepared by UNCRD for the FTS, showed how cities and countries are advancing sustainable transport across the region. Bus Rapid Transit has proven highly effective in 33 Latin American cities. Several countries are
fostering more efficient freight transport with improved logistics systems, and plans to shift goods to waterways and rail. Scaling up of these sustainable transport initiatives, will help in meeting multiple economic,
social and environmental objectives. Improved data will be required to understand and follow up the advance in sustainable transport in the region.

“It is important to apply the polluter-pays principle in transportation. The drivers of private cars should pay for the full environmental costs caused by their travel choice. Subsidies are justified to create cities with less pollution and more efficient and equitable access.” said Cornie Huizenga, co-convener of the Sustainable Low Carbon Transport Partnership.

Sandra Bessudo, Adviser on Environment to the President of Colombia, said“ By exchanging the visions and experiences of all our countries at this forum, we have together created a framework for joint learning and progress. We are pleased to have come to a common vision in the final declaration, enhancing opportunities and mechanisms for collaboration.”
The organizers and participants envision cooperative actions to further the development of sustainable transport projects, programs and policies in Latin American and look to reporting on future progress. Implementation of the Bogota Declaration up to 2020 will require technical capacity building, further intergovernmental consultation, financing from domestic, development and climate change mechanisms. The next Forum is proposed to take place in Mexico, 2-4 October 2012.

Website for the event:

FTS is supported by United Nations Centre for Regional Development (UNCRD), the Ministry of Environment Japan and the Inter-American Development Bank/Korean InfraFund, With Contributions from the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP),EMBARQ - the World Resources Institute Center for Sustainable Transport, and the Partnership on Sustainable, Low Carbon Transport (SloCaT).

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