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The world’s transport ministers agree to “build back better” after the pandemic

The world’s transport ministers agree to “build back better” after the pandemic

Ministers of transport from the 63 member countries of the International Transport Forum at the OECD have agreed to use recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic to transform transport.

In the Ministerial Declaration agreed unanimously in the context of their Annual Council of Ministers of Transport on 27 May 2021, Ministers note that “the recovery from this pandemic offers new opportunities to reshape transport systems and shift to more resilient, efficient, sustainable and equitable mobility”.

In order to “embrace the opportunity to build back better”, Ministers commit to show ambition, leadership and continued investment in the transition to greener and more efficient transport solutions”.

Among other things, Ministers undertake to:

  • promote urban mobility redesigns that build on the boom for walking and cycling during the pandemic;
  • ensure that new technologies and innovative mobility options foster equitable access for all citizens;
  • promote education and training and a more inclusive and fair workplace for all transport workers;
  • encourage the use of public transport;
  • foster automation, digitalisation and data innovation,
  • promote innovation in electrification, low- and zero-carbon fuels, hydrogen fuel cells and new-generation batteries
  • promote intermodal transport and develop interoperability.

Eamon Ryan, Minister for Environment, Climate, Communication and Transport of Ireland, chaired the Council of Ministers of Transport under Ireland’s Presidency of the ITF. Commenting on the Declaration, Minister Ryan said:

“I have joined with the Ministers responsible for transport in the ITF member countries, under the Presidency of Ireland, to outline our response to the challenges facing transport operations today.

In the context of climate change and the urgent need to fundamentally reduce greenhouse gas emissions globally, coupled with digitalisation, automation and the impact of Covid-19, our transport systems are at a turning point.

As we look to shift towards cleaner and efficient transport networks, we must innovate and drive behaviour change to ensure passengers and freight stay connected, in a sustainable manner, to the communities and businesses which need them.

The ITF Summit has provided a much-needed opportunity for transport leaders from around the world to join together and plan the pathway towards realising that vision.”

The Council of Ministers also discussed the coercive forced landing of a Ryanair flight by the government of Belarus on 23 May and the subsequent detention of Roman Protasevich and Sofia Sapega.

Please find the full text of the “Declaration from Ministers on ‘Transport Innovation for Sustainable Development: Reshaping Mobility in the Wake of Covid-19’” below.

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