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Thứ Ba, ngày 23/04/2024

European countries adopt Vienna Declaration on clean, safe and healthy transport


    The greenhouse gas emissions from transport contribute to climate change, and traffic-related air pollution, noise and road traffic crashes add to the disease burden in Europe. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown the important role of active mobility in public health and the necessity of strengthening the resilience of mobility to crises and disasters. European authorities agreed that post-pandemic recovery packages need to focus on innovative approaches to expanding clean, safe, healthy and inclusive mobility and transport, including by reducing car dependency, improving rail traffic and public transport and significantly increasing safe walking and cycling. Building on lessons learned from the pandemic, and recognizing the value of  public transport systems and frontline workers who ensure that these services continue, a set of recommendations was developed to assure the sustainability and resilience of transport and mobility systems. 

Calling for a pan-European strategy on transport, health and environment 

    On May 18th, 2021, European countries adopted the Vienna Declaration to spur the transformation towards clean, safe, healthy and inclusive transport and mobility, with a strong focus on promoting cycling across the pan-European region.  The Vienna Declaration was signed at the end of the Fifth High-level Meeting on Transport, Health and Environment. The virtual meeting, hosted by the Federal Government of Austria, brought together 46 Ministers and state secretaries and representatives of 41 countries in the pan-European region.  

    The group discussed how to introduce substantial changes in transport and mobility systems in order to address multiple challenges such as ambient air pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, physical inactivity and noncommunicable diseases and social inequity in access to transport and mobility.  

   The Vienna Declaration calls for a comprehensive pan-European strategy for transforming mobility towards zero emissions, ensuring health-promoting mobility and building safe and efficient transport in the decade to come. Its recommendations point towards a restart for sustainable transport and investments in green and healthy mobility and transport for all in the region. 

    “The climate crisis is the biggest challenge of our time. In adopting the Vienna Declaration, we commit to taking leadership in building forward better, and to making our mobility and transport systems climate-friendly, clean, safe and health promoting. There are tremendous positive effects that green transport can have on our citizens’ health and climate action, as well as on the recovery of the economy and on the creation of jobs. This is an historic milestone to promote active and zero-emission mobility all over Europe. Climate action is the right solution at the right time”, Ms. Leonore Gewessler - Federal Minister for Climate Action, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology of Austria affirmed.  

    The Vienna Declaration also underlines the need to address inequalities related to transport and urban sprawl, as not all socioeconomic groups have equal access to healthy transportation, public transport networks, resources for active mobility and recreational and green areas.  

Building forward better in the pan-European region 

    Car dependency, restricted use of public space, and lack of safety for cyclists and pedestrians contribute to physical inactivity and sedentary lifestyles, which increase the risk of noncommunicable diseases and obesity.  

Increasing cycling and walking in every country

    Increasing cycling and walking in every country, ensuring cyclist and pedestrian safety and including active mobility in health policies, can reduce the burden of diseases and the impact of road crashes in the region.   

   Ministers and representatives of the European countries also adopted the Pan-European Master Plan for Cycling Promotion, a first-of-its-kind initiative that extends across the region.

  The Master Plan calls for: Doubling cycling in the region by 2030; Significantly increasing cycling and walking in every country; Reallocating space for cycling and walking; Improving the active mobility infrastructure in every country; Increasing cyclist and pedestrian safety; Developing national cycling policies, strategies and plans; Integrating cycling into health policies, infrastructure and land-use planning. 

    European countries also agreed to promote the mobilization of financial resources, including from international institutions, green finance instruments, and public and private sectors; to invest in sustainable mobility and transport systems through partnerships; to invest in strengthening capacities and to exchange experiences across the pan-European region. 

Nam Hưng

(Source: Vietnam Environment Administration Magazine, English Edition II - 2021)

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