Committed to Sustainable Cities and Human Settlements for All

In Special Consultative Status with ECOSOC

Berlin High-Level Dialogue on Implementing Rio+20 Decisions on Sustainable Cities and Urban Transport

 & 2013 Global Forum on Human Settlements

Outcome (Exposure Draft)

date: ​June 18, 2013

    Taking place on the anniversary of Rio+20, Berlin High-Level Dialogue on Sustainable Cities and Transport & 2013 Global Forum on Human Settlements, co-organized by UNDESA, UN-HABITAT, UNEP, GFHS, UBA, InnoZ, and ICLEI, extended its relevant agenda centering on the theme of “Implementing Rio+20 Decisions and Achieving the Future We Want”, and was attended by nearly 400 delegates from 40 countries, including leading policy and decision makers from national and local governments, officials of the UN, city mayors, experts and representatives from civil society, academia, financial institutions, public and private companies, and global professional associations. The Dialogue was comprised of one plenary session, two panel discussions, seven parallel sessions, one award ceremony recognizing global sustainable practices, one study tour and 3-day exhibitions.

    At the opening ceremony, Gyan Acharya, UN Under-Secretary-General first conveyed the congratulatory statement by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. The statement underscored: “Better land use and more efficient transport systems help protect the environment, and they also enhance urban-rural connection and productivity of rural areas by improving access to jobs, markets, goods and services. Sustainable city and transport is central to empowering people and protecting the planet.”

    The Dialogue has provided an effective platform for exchange of information and negotiations among the corresponding countries, regions, global stakeholders, decision-makers, experts, and representatives from public and private sectors. In-depth exploration and sharing was conducted on the policies, measures and successful ways to promote sustainable city and transport, and good and best practices in this regard was identified, which has quite impressed the participants, generated bountiful gains, encouraged the involvement of more countries, enterprises, organizations, and the public in the practices of sustainable city and transportation. It was covered and reported by over 100 global major media. Meanwhile, it has facilitated capacity building through international exchanges of experiences and contributed to the global action on sustainable development and the implementation of our shared commitments in Rio.

    The Dialogue emphasized making cities and urban transportation systems more sustainable will be a prerequisite for poverty eradication, a "greener" economy and sustainable development, as well as the key and foundation to create the future we want. It is a cause with grand prospect and daunting challenges, and calls for political foresights, corporate social responsibilities, public engagement and efforts of global stakeholders.

    A succession of prospective and instructive outcomes has been yielded at the Dialogue. We compiled all the results with different focus on the sustainable city, sustainable transport and sustainable culture as follows, thereby providing references for decision-makers, public and private sectors as well as all the stakeholders.



       Ⅰ. Sustainable City

      1. The rural to urban migration project is to keep increasing with three quarters of humanity expected to live in the cities by 2050. Sustainable city and transport is central to empowering people and protecting the planet.

      2. We should have, by 2030, safe, clean and sustainable cities for all. Safety means to target at crime reduction, road safety, and disaster resilience. Safety means to target at crime reduction, road safety, and disaster resilience. Clean city means air quality, water quality, sanitation, hygiene, ending of congestion, upgrading of slums. Sustainable city is concerned with energy use of the city, water use, recycling and reuse, and solid waste management. The clearest and highest level is to have a safe city. We are willing to have more compact cites. Sustainable city should also pursue the target that everyone is equal and equal opportunity for all.

      3. Every city should define a vision that suits its own situation and is widely accepted by all walks of life, and thus establish goals, policies and action plans. We encourage the cities with experiences and advantages to release its annual sustainable development report or environmental statement which will reinforce the promotion of sustainable city.

    4. All large cities have their problems with rural areas, but all of them have a strong connection with their surrounding areas, and they can’t isolate from them. Cities have to been seen as continuum of rural areas. The connectivity with rural areas cannot be ignored. It can enhance rural incomes, to bring them more centrally, to remove the vulnerabilities, to remove marginalization, to remove inequalities. We cannot solve the situation of sustainability only by cities.

     5. We need to avoid the endless and narrow-minded bargaining and empty talk, instead, to mobilize the local governments, corporations, professional institutions and the public to make their first move, and have the global policies come to fruition at the local level first. We should strengthen our efforts to re-launch our local government  climate role in order to get a better deal for cities in the next agreement and to not only get demands of cities, but also get the right important magnates in place that allow cities to achieve the necessary improvements.

       6. If we are to improve urban quality of life, we need look beyond the city boundaries and confront these challenges also on the national and regional level. We need get a step to get overall thinking, not thinking on an urban development specialist, to transport specialist, to financing specialist. We have to work further understanding the city as a system, and the necessary needs many ways to improve the government process within the systems. We need to differentiate the share of responsibility between the public and private sector and burden sharing.

      7. We should maybe have a stronger bottom-up perspective by building this international cooperation, and see what we can do from the local level, and scale it up to bring it together globally. We have to know that we need much more energy, food, water source locally, this is not only to say this is more sustainable, but it also helps to generate income, transparency, control of every resource, adjust with population, and potential, even economic benefits for the local population.

      8. We can manage the seven important flows of buildings, including air, light, water, energy, sound, people and material, and finally work out the brand-new ecological green buildings. For example, we can learn from the termite how to control the air flow inside the building to obtain a comfortable temperature and fresh air, and the simulation of zebra stripes can lower the temperature on the surface of buildings, and so on. Such buildings are already being constructed, but they need to be further promoted.

      9. Green cities and smart cities are inseparable from the new energy and smart grid infrastructure and the current information technology, namely cloud computing system. The first step for the new energy into millions of households is to combine new energy with smart grid.

      10. What are the major challenges which we found out during our discussion is the absence of planning or the planning failed to be implemented effectively. Among the cities in some developing countries, about 60%-80% of them have developed without any planning at all. Many cities in developing regions have the chance to overcome to avoid the mistakes made in countries in the north, so emerging cities have a really good chance to avoid planning mistakes.

      11. Working with world organizations including UNEP, GFHS launched the International Green Modern City (IGMC) project at the headquarters of United Nations. IGMC serves as an inspiration for the sustainable city. As an important commitment to Rio+20, IGMC mainly features with the combination of low-carbon city building with green economy and with culture. IGMC is a new exploration matching up with the United Nations and the whole world’s response to climate change, sustainable land development and new-type urbanization. The IGMC Standards and Indicators include 12 principles and corresponding strategies and measures with an authentication rating system to guide IGMC planning and construction, thereby bringing out the new model of cooperation among governments, private sectors and other social institutions. The principles are: Net Zero Carbon, Zero Waste, Sustainable Environment, Green Planning and Design, Green Transportation& Linkage, Green Infrastructure, Green Building, Green Economy, Green Living, Harmonious Society, Sustainable Culture and Heritage, Smart Community. The IGMC Project will be initially implemented in China and other developing countries, till now, two Chinese cities have already signed the framework agreement on the IGMC pilot project.


      Ⅱ. Sustainable Transport

      1. We change mobility patterns throughout our life. Non-participation in mobility will soon leads to socially unjust exclusion. Socially just mobility requires the willing of all people to share the mobility for the man and woman of all the races, poor and rich, old and young, as well as people of disabilities and those that were marginalized. The staggering annual amount of traffic fatalities has soon to be concentrated on the variable groups such as children and elderly as well as low income populations in developing countries, these are important factors to be taken into account when considering urban planning and modern transport development.

      2. Current patterns of transport conjunction focus prominently on private model ownership largely due to the increase distances between the home and necessary services and lack a full accounting and simple considerations of individual life style. Moving society behavior to the one of giving people easy access rather than let them prone to cars is fully essential.

      3. Modern transport systems lead to sustainable economical, social and environmental standpoints. Both national and local governments play a key role in this regard translating policies and objectives into implementation, guiding infrastructure investments and services for both private and public transport. It requires adequate positive application at the metropolitan level and safety in thinking towards intricate planning processes which connects urban development patterns with all transport quality, and private companies responsible for providing effective and affordable transport system.

      4. We are moving to a future, where magnetic levitation train are the norms rather than exceptions, where cities and social interaction walking and biking with motorized transportation based on public systems rather than individual ownership, it remains to be seen the decisions that we take today will impact on development parts long into the future, a future that would count more than 10 billion people by the end of this century.

      5. It is crucially important that in the decision making processes for a sustainable transportation policy, we need to ensure that public and private sector stakeholders coordinate their transportation planning, development and delivery activities. These transportation decisions should also be integrated with environment, health, energy and urban land-use decisions. It is equally important to make transportation-related decisions in an open and inclusive process.

      6. We need a traffic transport system which is based on a strong public participation. At the same time, it should of course contain all modes of transportation, and ensure that they are linked intelligently. We set our policies to the goal of mobility with less automobile traffic. What we need is the real document calling for an integrated planning approach that systematically includes both the various modes of transportation and urban development issues.

      7. We need to weigh the overall sustainability of green transport option. However, we should not forget that green vehicles are more fuel-efficient, but only in comparison with standard vehicles, and they still contribute to traffic congestion and road accidents. From electric rapid transit systems to individual electric vehicles, there is an increasing realization that the future of mobility could lie in electric transport. Electric mobility is certainly not a "silver bullet" that could solve all of our transport problems, but it offers many new opportunities to improve mobility in a sustainable way.

      8. The International Energy Agency has estimated that under current conditions global CO2 emissions from transport will rise by 50 percent by 2030 and by 80 percent by 2050. Especially over long distances, cars and trucks should be used less and the use of rail and buses stepped up. Furthermore, the efficiency of cars and trucks should be increased through improved engine technology and a consistent light-weight design. For the increasing number of consumers, the important thing is that the supply chain should be sustainable and ecological, and commercial transfer should be intelligently designed in order to meet the necessity to reduce   particulate and noise pollution.

      9.  In the post-fossil energy supply systems, the transport sector will often use renewable electricity, whether directly or indirectly. We must take into account the fact that biomass is a scarce resource. We therefore believe that the use of biomass crops, including raw timber, for the production of energy should not be expanded any further. Biofuels should therefore be produced from waste and residual materials that are first recycled and only then used for the production of energy. We have high hopes for liquid fuels or gas fuels produced using renewable electricity. It is key to develop them now so that the transport sector with its infrastructure and vehicles can adjust in time. Each transport mode makes different demands. Therefore, the right energy option must be found for each. It is especially for aviation and navigation where alternatives are very few in number.

      10.  What we can do in an international context to make transport more sustainable is:

First of all we need strong institutions and good instruments. We welcome the agreement reached in Rio and endorsed by the UN General Assembly that the role of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) should be strengthened. Meanwhile these decisions have been implemented.Second point: The transport issue is not, in the global framework, paid the attention it deserves in view of the pressures it causes and the difficulty of finding adequate solutions. We hope that the traffic and transport sector will be appropriately addressed under the set of Sustainable Development Goals.Third point: Transport does not play a separate role in the context of international climate negotiations such as those under the Framework Convention on Climate Change. This new approach of using NAMAs to develop mitigation plans in developing and newly industrialized countries is promising. The short time since the official adoption of this mechanism has already shown that it can set in motion developments towards emissions abatement in the transport sector.Fourth point: we see an urgent need for action in the fields of aviation and shipping. Perhaps as early as 2020, these two transport modes could each account for over 10 percent of the global climate impact of all emission sources.

      11. Greening transport is one of the major considerations of Europe transportation commission. Multi-level and cross sector collaboration for implementing this is needed. Our aim for greening the transport are, avoiding the loop by more effective transport chains and more modern transport management and getting a Chain of Green Pearls.

      12. To create a more efficient transport environment for the commuters, the adjacent governments should create a common transportation planning and management system, which will contribute to the strengthening of competitiveness of the metropolitan region both in the national as well as the international context.

      13. There should be five pillars constituting the Sustainable Urban Transport Master Plan, namely: the extension of public transport, promotion of cycling and walking, livable streets and limitation of car traffic, reduced congestion, emissions, accidents combined with increased social equity, a livable urban environment, more healthy population and improved accessibility for all.

      14. When considering financing municipal projects, the financial institutions should get to know what do the people really need, for instance, a gender assessment should be made on what the needs of both genders are, work hard to reduce the traffic accidents, and support the development of sustainable transportation with the power of capital.

      15. The public have new demand for more convenient public transport. They want public transport to be as fast as possible to compete with the car; they want public transport ready to be predictable. Many cities are not so open to technical innovations, and they have limited level of collaboration between the actors to achieve these changes, and become really efficient public transport, and multi-model transport concept for cities.

      16. Public transport is not all rounder, and must be supplemented. The suggestion is that indeed the integrator of public transport should be the transport provider in the city who supports or who provides the city with a complete mobility systematic approach. For instance, Berlin, or Hannover has such a system with the mobile plus cards, and it is called one stop shop. It is accessible by all people in the city and offers all modes of public transport, from the bicycle to the car, from car-sharing to bike sharing, to trams and so on.

      17. We really have a high diversity in the model share of cycling in the cities. We have cities with 35% share, and we have cities with 0.5% share, and we need progress in this definitely. The idea is also to launch and to develop the alliance.

      18. Progress and sustainability means something different in a different regional context. In Caracas, and also in other Latin Americas, the cable car systems are working very successfully to feed public transport.

      19. It was quite clear that the smart infrastructure was integrated into the smart grid, but also go down to the houses, which is essential for sustainable development. And we learn that we see four digitalization mega trends, which are sort of focus on big data, focus on mobility, on cloud as a storage facility, and also on the social media, so we have to find the right pinpoint in order to reach the focus, and those pinpoints are very different depending on the very local situation in different cities.

      20. We have seen all kinds of modes and concepts of electric mobility: We have two things of electric mobility. One is for two wheels and the other is for four wheels; two wheels we see mainly in China, four wheels mainly in Europe; As for pure electric cars, Germany is looking into hydrogen as an important alternative energy, as hydrogen is more efficient than the electricity we are using now; The wireless charging for the public transportation enables buses to be charged on a normal bus route, meaning buses get charged while standing at the bus stop; E-highway is a concept that power grid is installed at the highways to provide electricity for the trucks, which is a solution for the freight and long distance transport. All those types of mobility have corresponding technical solutions.


      21. The Paradigm of Planning and Development of Berlin Transport

      21.1 Background: Berlin experienced the most rapid growth between 1860 and 1940, it is interesting because that is the period of the emergence of rail-based public transportation. Until 1920s rapid growth of the city was in conjunction with the rail-bound transport systems, and this time, urban development followed rail development. So even today you can see a kind of star structure in the city and the regional area. This settlements structure still exists along the line of rails, first we build rail infrastructure, and then the settlements followed. On the contrary, Southern California dismantled, in the beginning of 1960s, the rail transit lines with the length of 1,850 km and extended in all directions, instead, it brought in the most vast freeway network in the nation and directly led to the overflow of private cars and urban sprawl.

      21.2 Achievements Gained: Berlin has about 6 million inhabitants. Today the motorization rate is 324 cars/1,000 inh, car-free households rate is about 45%. This favorable mixture of transport modes is shown by the mobility patterns: 1/4 of daily trips are by public transport, while 2/3 of daily trips by “environmental alliance” (PT, Bike, Pedestrians). Today, Berlin is the capital of “green mobility”. We have the lowest CO2-intensity of all German cities; we have largest modal share of what we called “environmental alliance”; we have the best in traffic safety among all German states.

    21.3 To cope with these challenges, we need the necessary conditions that meet the following ‘Troika’ requirements: integrated strategy regarding contents and process; long-term vision met by short-/medium-term actions; continuous evaluation and flexibility.

      21.4 Berlin’s Integrated Transport Master Plan: Participatory Planning Process is very essential for the result. It starts on the top from the city guiding vision, and the idea is how should Berlin look like in the future, to detail set of measures which go down to the layers.

      21.5 Key Measures and Implementation: The first is Combining Spatial and Transport Planning, which means two states (Berlin and Brandenburg), one joint planning department, and one special development plan. The second is Strengthening the Backbone of Urban Transport. We need to develop public transport with priority, while also increasing its attractiveness. The third is Multi- and Inter-modality. Forth is to Promote the Cycling in Berlin. We need to consider the extension of the cycling network; and we add bicycle parking facilities in public and private spaces. The fifth is Walking, which is an undervalued mode of transport in cities. To promote walking, we need walking-friendly environments; safety and barrier-free design; mobility management and communication. The sixth is Car Traffic - Shifting Patterns. This means using Push-and-Pull-Measures to further reduce car traffic in the inner city, i.e., Parking management; New engine technologies and vehicle concepts (E-Mobility); Car Sharing: “Using instead of owning”. The Seventh is to Reallocate Road Space. The eighth is to Define Specific Environmental Zone, thus we improved the air quality. Ninth is to Manage Information and Traffic, and couple real time air quality measurements and traffic flow organization. In case of exceedance of limit values for PM10we will take direct reaction. The tenth is about Traffic Safety. We made Traffic Safety Programme with the target of reducing 40% number of the heavily injured/killed people as compared to 2004.

      21.6 Future goals: We are still facing tremendous challenges in economic, demographic, environmental, and we have a very challenging goals and targets that we want to reduce the amount of cars in the city by 2025 to 25%, and we want finally come from a carbon reduced to a carbon free mobility, “We do not just organize transportation; We want to create quality of life in the city”.


      22. Paradigm of Berlin Electromobility

      The German capital region has the ambition to be top one leading centers of electromobility, at least in European area, maybe beyond. To be able to achieve this ambition, Berlin Agency for Electromobility, the eMO has been created in late 2010. Berlin and Brandenburg have some advantages and benefits for electromobility: The first one is that almost 50% of householders do not have their private car. The second one is that basically in the few years, Brandenburg will be able to cover the electric conception by 100% of renewable energy, and Berlin is the consumer of it.


      In Berlin we have more than 500 e-vehicles and over 200 public charging points. It is the country’s largest laboratory for electromobility. So we are far away to be area-wide. The next decisive step is the “showcase” electromobility. At moment we have 1200 vehicles, and we are looking for 1 million in Germany by 2020. So there is a big gap, and the showcase electromobility program may contribute to close this gap.


      To achieve a critical mass with regard to the number of density of vehicles, and also the infrastructure, the most important to follow is a systematic approach, which means to bring transport system, energy system, and vehicle technology close together. Its a program designed for 3 years. It is currently foreseen that the large-scale showcase projects be located in three to five locations or regions. It has more than 30 projects, more than 100 partners, including companies, institutes, project volume about 100 million EUR.


     Theelectromobility showcase projects will be characterized by: Systematic approach (energy system/electric vehicle, mobility/traffic system and interfaces between these elements); Formation of alliances and partnerships that represent the entire mobility value chain, regulatory framework trials; Reach critical size in order to draw conclusions as to the mass market viability of the deployedelectromobility solutions; Integration of a broad public; Integration of academic and vocational training; Appropriate level of engagement with the local economy; Clear acknowledgement of the commitment of the participating municipalities and federal states. 

      Electromobility is definitely a promising option towards sustainability, in mid-terms, but also in the long-term basics.

      Ⅲ. Sustainable Culture

      1. We need to create a culture of sustainability, and then extends into the lifestyle of daily behavior of people; and it should reflect the culture based on the existing culture and the culture differences in the country.

      2. Greed is the root cause of modern financial crises. Creed is also the root cause of today’s environmental changes and climate change. The eager for quick success and great profits in business, and the behaviors of boasting and comparing with each other in consumptions, have undoubtedly aggravated the resources and environmental crises. We can learn something from the religions and ancient sages. The Nature is the best teacher. And simple, healthy and moderate lifestyle is the best choice. Everybody can do it, as long as you will.

      3. As Gunter Pauli wrote in the book of Blue Economy, “people make much ado about nothing, and they produced a large amount of materials they don’t need and piles of waste. If we can follow the nature and apply the physical law to make use of nutrients and energies, we can create the blue ocean of sustainable blue economy.”

      4. We have some old definitions of success. If you are a young man in a bus, you are a failure; if you are a young man in a car, you are a success. That mindset of development should be changed, as a lot of city chaos is just caused by more and more cars.

      5. This will not, however, eliminate the need for concepts for reducing transport demand wherever possible and shifting it as far as possible to the most environmentally friendly modes, because the availability of renewable energies, as well, will be limited.

      6. There is a new group which is a person who doesn't want a car but he wants to drive a car. It is more about working on new values like simplicity, like convenience, like the economic benefit if you can have.