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Transport & Open Working Group (OWG) Process

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Final OWG update The Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals published its Outcome Document on SDGs on July 19th, 2014. All six targets proposed in the SLoCaT Results Framework on Sustainable Transport were reflected in the Outcome Document 

Background and Description of the OWG Process

One of the main outcomes of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), held in Rio de Janeiro in June 2012, was the agreement by Member States to launch a process to develop a set of sustainable development goals (SDGs). While not elaborating specific goals, Rio+20 stated that the SDGs should be limited in number, aspirational and easy to communicate. The goals should address in a balanced way all three dimensions of sustainable development and be coherent with and integrated into the UN development agenda beyond 2015. A 30-member Open Working Group (OWG) of the General Assembly was established on 22nd of January 2013 and the OWG is tasked with preparing a proposal on the SDGs.

In “Future We Want”, the Rio+20 outcome document, it is stated that OWG will decide on its methods of work, including developing modalities to ensure the full involvement of relevant stakeholders and expertise from civil society, the scientific community and the United Nations system in its work. 

OWG Negotiation Sessions

21 February 2014 the co-Chairs of the Open Working Group in a February 2014 Progress Report have summarized the eight stock taking sessions and outlined the second phase of the OWG's work on SDGs.  The second phase focuses on the process of identifying SDGs and accompanying targets.  To this end, the OWG will be holding five negotiation sessions.  
  • Thirteenth Session of the OWG: The 13th Session of the OWG will take place from 14th to 18th of July.  The co-chairs of the OWG have updated the Introductory Document for the Proposed Sustainable Development Goals and Targets, which serves as the basis for the negotiations in the OWG. The number of targets was reduced from 222 in the OWG 12 proposals to 148 in the current proposals. It is encouraging to see that all transport related targets were maintained in the current proposals.  Of relevance from the perspective of the transport sector is the increased emphasis on sustainable infrastructure, including transport and the emphasis on sustainability and affordability of such infrastructure. A major step forward, compared to OWG 12, is that Road Safety is now a target in its own right and no longer "hidden" in a long list of non-communicable diseases. Continuing areas of concerns are the limited references to transport services and to rural transport.
  • Twelfth Session of the OWG: The 12th Session of the OWG will take place on June 16-20, 2014, with informal consultations from 9-13 June.  In preparation of the 12th Session, the OWG published an Introductory Document for the Proposed Sustainable Development Goals and Targets, which for the first time presents a list of proposed sustainable development goals for the Post-2015 agenda. In the informal consultations prior to the OWG sessions itself the Co-chairs introduced a new reference document, "Mainstreamed Topics for SDGs," that indicates how “non-headline” issues are streamlined and reflected both directly and indirectly in the current negotiating document. It should be noted that transport is NOT included among the list of mainstreamed topics. This although transport does not have its own SDG and according to the recommendations of the 7th OWG session should be considered a mainstreamed topic: "The importance of its (transport) inclusion in SDGs was well recognized, with many calling for it to be included at the level of targets under other goals".
  • In relation to the the SLoCaT Results Framework on Sustainable Transport, all six of the proposed SLoCaT targets on sustainable transport are reflected in the proposed SDGs and targets. Transport is reflected in 8 out of the 17 proposed SDGs.  In the  document below, SLoCaT reviews of the proposed goals and how they reflect the sustainable transport targets in the SLoCaT Results Framework:
  • Eleventh Session of the OWG: The 11th Session of the OWG took place on May 5-9 2014.  In preparation of the 11th Session, the OWG published a Working Document, where the previously stated 19 Focus areas, are now reduced to 16.  In preparation of the 11th OWG Session 5-9 May the co-chairs prepared a further proposal, reducing the number of focal areas to 16. In terms of relevance for the SLoCaT proposed targets; rural transport is now included as an indicator for sustainable infrastructure; road safety has been removed from Health and is now only listed under sustainable cities; urban transport and air pollution remain to be listed under sustainable cities focus area; and fuel economy, one of the key indicators under the proposed SLoCaT Climate Change target is listed under the energy focus area. The SLoCaT target on provision of national acccess and regional connectivity is no longer included.
Relevant Documents on the 11th Session are presented below:

The response to the Working Document of the Co-Chairs is composed of four parts:

  • Tenth Session of the OWG: The 10th Session of the OWG took place on March 31-April 4 2014. The five day meeting sought to create more focused preferences, as stated throughout 'a year-long stocktaking period', to produce a report on preferred SDGs and targets. During the session Major Groups and other stakeholders commented and gave feedback on a revised list of 19 Focus Areas, possible targets relating to each (based on discussions at OWG-9 in March) and discussed ways of going forward for its last three sessions.
Relevant Documents on the 10th Session are presented below:
  • Ninth Session of the OWG:  The Ninth Session of the OWG took place on 3-5 March 2014. It was the first session of the second phase of OWG work. For more information on the Ninth Session of the OWG (program, side events, relevant resources), please visit
Relevant documents on 9th Session are presented below:

OWG Stocktaking Sessions

Since January 2013 the OWG organized 8 stocktaking sessions, each session addressing different thematic areas outlined in the Future We Want. 

Sustainable Transport was addressed in the Seventh Session of the OWG: Sustainable cities and human settlements, sustainable transport; Sustainable consumption and production (including chemicals and waste); Climate change and disaster risk reduction which will take place on January 6-10, 2014 in New York.  For Program of the Seventh Session,  schedule of the Side Events for the Seventh Session, please visit  Relevant documents on transport for the 7th Session include:

Outreach Efforts by the Sustainable Transport Community towards the OWG Process
Partnership on Sustainable Low Carbon Transport
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