United Nations Adopts Landmark Global Decarbonization Strategy In Transport By Road, Rail And Inland Waterway 


February 28, 2024


UN member States took a decisive step towards sustainable low carbon mobility with the adoption on 23 February of the Inland Transport Committee’s (ITC) Strategy on Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Inland Transport.

Transport accounts for some 23% of annual GHG emissions. Inland transport accounts for 72% of this total, with 69% coming from road transport, 2% from inland shipping and 1% from rail. In addition, demand for passenger transport is projected to increase by 79% and freight transport by 100% by 2050. Since transport is such a large contributor to carbon emissions, rapid and ambitious climate action by the inland transport sector is imperative.

The strategy aims to transform the way inland transport is approached globally, and to set a medium- and long-term course towards carbon neutrality by 2050, based on the 61 United Nations legal instruments under ITC’s purview.

“What we do today will shape the future of transport,” said Mark Harbers, Minister of Infrastructure and Water Management of The Netherlands, at the opening of the 86th session of ITC. “We are here to take steps towards a future-proof inland transport system. One that takes account of climate-related challenges, energy security and road safety. It is also vital that the transition to clean transport is a just transition. So, I’m pleased that the ITC has taken the lead in developing quality standards for importing and exporting used vehicles”.

“Decarbonization of the transport sector is lagging behind many other sectors. This strategy will help countries to deliver on a significant part of their climate commitments under the Paris Agreement. Its adoption therefore marks a crucial milestone in climate action”, noted UNECE Executive Secretary Tatiana Molcean. “Decarbonization of mobility will require a shift to electrification and the prioritization of public transport and active mobility options but also significant societal changes. Each country will have to adopt the relevant fiscal incentives and policy mechanisms needed for its population to embrace this transition”.