Habitat III: Urban services and technologies

Statement by Ms. Marit Viktoria Pettersen, Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs at the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development, 27 April 2016.

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The past decades there has been one winner of urban planning in most countries and cities: the private car. According to Policy Paper 9, private cars use an extremely high proportion of energy compared to the transport effect.

So using private cars is inefficient. But worse than that, it leads to deadly air pollution and contributes to climate change. Road accidents and traffic congestion are other serious impacts. We also know that the poor, children, youth and the elderly are disadvantaged, since they do not drive cars. This means that their access to urban services, health, education and public space is restricted, especially if public transport possibilities are limited.

Norway commends Policy Unit 9 for a solid Policy Paper. However, we find that the recommendations presented today are too weak regarding transport. There should be clear targets and recommendations on limiting the use of private cars, making public transport affordable and accessible to all, and promoting cycling and walking.

In my city, Oslo, the city council has decided to ban private cars from the inner city by 2019. This will promote a healthy and environmentally friendly city, where the streets are for people and not for cars.

Norway believes that if we want an equitable, actionable and visionary New Urban Agenda, environment and health must be top priorities. This further implies that action to reduce air and climate pollution from sectors such as transport must be promoted. We must completely transform the transport sector if we are serious about cities contributing to the Paris Agreement goal of keeping temperature increase below 1.5 degrees.

I would like to add that I absolutely agree with Mr. Noda in that that we need a paradigm shift: We must limit consumption and waste. This is crucial for health, for the environment and for the climate, and this should be reflected in the New Urban Agenda.

Thank you.