International lessons of experience for the Shell Foundation in this great effort
- (Please see the attached note for further information.)
To: The Shell Foundation support conference at http://newmobility.org
Further information available at http://www.oecd.org/env/ccst/est/index.htm
You may or may not have heard of the OECDs EST (Environmentally Sustainable Transportation) program, but let me tell you in a nutshell that over the last decade we have spent thousands of expert hours in the task of trying to figure out what indeed is meant by environmentally sustainable transportation and how we might best, if at all, move toward it. Over these years of research and hands-on work by top scientific teams working in a number of countries, and confronted with a very wide range of transport and environmental situations, we have generated many volumes of technical reports and recommendations, some of which have even stimulated political discussions, remedial programs, a ceratin media interest, and actual concrete reforms.
But we have not, as you know well, succeeded in turning around the basic situation of our still most unsustainable transportation systems, even in the nine countries that have been the most active participants. However, we understood from the outset that our goal had to be a more modest one: not to move in one swoop from a situation of gross unsustainability in these matters to a pristine world of full sustainability, health, safety, and social justice but to see if we could contribute to defining the path to get us all moving TOWARD sustainability.
Based on our experience of these years we have a message both for this informal ad hoc international group and for the organizers of the Shell Foundation Workshop next week. Within the last several months, our international teams sat down and drew up a relatively simple and straight-forward set of guidelines for informing national governments and these we think might now serve as a useful stepping stone for those involved in the Shell Foundations efforts to find their own place in the world transport/environment scene. Our guidelines, which you will find on the next page of this note reflect what may be a rather broader view of what sustainable transportation is all about than may be being targeted by your group. We for instance are quite possibly a couple of notches less interested in clean energy options per se than you may eventually decide at an important part of the Shell Foundations sustainable transport mandate. This is not to say that we consider progress in terms of new fuels and motors of no importance, but rather that we see them as just one part of a much broader whole.
In addition to the EST Guidelines, I also attach here in a single page which summarizes both the general background to and the main content of a Ministerial Decision signed earlier this month by all transportation ministers of the OECDs twenty four member countries. This is, I might add, a very significant event, since we now for the first time have a commitment at a broad international level to begin to treat the transportation sector, not just in terms of technical issues of modal performance, but as a much broader systemic challenge, where issues of environment, safety, health and quality of life begin to be given much more priority in the decision process. (For more complete documentation on all these matters, I can refer you to our website at http://www.oecd.org/env/ccst/est/index.htm where they can freely be downloaded.)
To conclude: Our work in the area of sustainable transportation and the environment here at the OECDs Environment Directorate is but one of many ongoing international, national and local programs around the world working to move us toward better practices in the sector. We are pleased that the Shell Foundation is getting ready to join this international movement to do better in these matters, and we hope that our work and its lessons may serve you as well in orienting the surely most original and effective program that you are now preparing through this workshop to define and put in place.
Dr. Peter Wiederkehr, EST Program Director, OECD Environment Directorate, wiederkehr@...