March 01, 2006

Urban Transportation and the Millenium Development Goals

In 2000, at the UN Millennium Summit, governments committed themselves to cutting the number of people in poverty in half by 2015. This is to be achieved through eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) with specific, measurable targets, all of them addressing poverty alleviation. The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) do not include any specific goals or targets related to transportation, though transport sector interventions are critical to meeting many of the goals.

The initial recommendations for transport that came out of the UN Millennium Project, an effort to clarify the implementation goals for the MDGs, were written by people unfamiliar with the transport sector. They were heavily focused on increasing governmental spending on new road construction, and included targets for miles of new roads to be constructed. Experts from the World Bank and NGOs lobbied only partially successfully to change this approach, with the result that the final recommendations of the Millennium Project also make little mention of transport. While glad that a misdirected approach has been avoided, no clearer, better targeted program has yet emerged.

This article is an effort to set clearer targets and goals for transport interventions that will help meet the Millennium Development Goals. It is focused on urban transport interventions, but similar goals also should be set for rural transport.Urban Transportation and the Millenium Development Goals


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