The diesel scandal in Europe has made us aware of the potential trade-offs between different fields of policy. While trying to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, policies to subsidize diesel cars were made without taking into account that diesel emissions have serious negative impacts on air quality, and hence on human health and ecosystems.
Furthermore, municipalities and national authorities still find difficulty in developing policies that convince travellers to abandon the comfort of their own cars and to use public transport instead.
To help avoid trade-offs and to promote an integrated approach to transport, health and environmental policies, Central Asian experts from all three policy areas discussed their experiences, good practices and challenges this week (20–21 November 2018) during a workshop in Almaty, Kazakhstan.
Organized under the auspices of the Transport, Health and Environment Pan European Programme (THE PEP), in cooperation with the UNECE Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution, the United Nations Development Programme and the Regional Environmental Centre for Central Asia, the workshop sought to strengthen the capacities of national authorities of countries in Central Asia in integrating health and environmental aspects into transport policies.
The event focused on two main goals of THE PEP that directly underpin the Sustainable Development Goals: to reduce emissions of transport-related greenhouse gasses, air pollution and noise, in support of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 13 on climate action; and to integrate transport, health and environmental objectives into urban and spatial planning policies, which relates to the attainment of SDG 11 on sustainable cities and communities.
This was the first of several events being organized in preparation for the Fifth High-level Meeting on Transport, Health and Environment, which will take place in Austria in October 2019.