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UN’s new sustainable solutions to increase GDP by $2.6 trillion

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Flags from all countries outside of the UN building

A new initiative; Sustainable Mobility for All Initiative (SUM4ALL), predicated on growing urbanisation, increasing world trade, and new technologies may increase global Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by as much as $2.6 trillion.
SUM4ALL is also targeted at connecting about one billion people and reducing climate change challenge by 1.9 gigatonnes (GtC) of carbon dioxide (CO2).

With more than one billion people or one-third of the global rural population, lacking access to all-weather roads and transport services, this remains a major barrier to social and economic advancement in countries like Nigeria, a report released yesterday by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) said, SUM4ALL offers sustainable solutions.

“As a tool, the Global Roadmap for Action (GRA) helps countries identify gaps, crucial steps, and appropriate policies to ensure that transport contributes to attain the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, and improve the sustainability of their transport system,” the report noted.

While Nigeria has been regarded as the country with largest road network in West Africa with about 108,000km of surfaced roads of which 32,000km has been built and managed by the Federal Government, a study by SBM Intelligence said the country has one of the worst, poorly-maintained roads in the region, amid limited rail network.

According to the report, improvements in border administration, transport, and communication infrastructure could increase global GDP by up to $2.6trillion; and an additional 1.6 billion people would breathe cleaner air if transport pollution was halved.

Programme Manager of SuM4All and World Bank Lead Economist, Nancy Vandycke, who was quoted in the report, said: “The current mobility system takes a heavy toll on our planet and leaves many people behind. In most cases, it is also expensive, inefficient, and unsafe. The GRA is the first comprehensive effort to look across the four policy goals of accessibility, efficiency, safety, and green mobility for all modes of transport with a focus on action. It serves as an important tool for policymakers to act now and turn the vision of sustainable transport into a reality.”

Also quoted in the report, CEO of Michelin, Florent Menegaux, said while mobility remains a key factor of human progress, transport is a major contributor to CO2 emissions.

“The challenge is to achieve more mobility, for more people, with less impact. In this sense, the GRA is a real milestone. It is an operational toolbox that will help States and cities improve the sustainability of their own transport sector. As a member of the Sum4All steering committee, Michelin is proud to support this great, action-focused initiative,” Menegaux said.

Similarly, SLoCaT Partnership’s Secretary-General, Maruxa Cardama, insisted that safe, efficient, low carbon and accessible mobility is essential to sustainable human development policies, adding that the GRA for the future of mobility is a new go-to resource enabling countries and decision-makers to define sustainable mobility pathways.

UN said the report was the outcome of more than 18 months of work by 55 influential organisations, 180 experts, and consultations with 50 public decision makers and 25 private corporations, adding that SUM4ALL is an umbrella platform supported by 55 public and private organisations with a shared ambition to transform the future of mobility.


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