The role of Gender and Transport in the UN Millennium Development Goals
[Dear Friends: I hope that you will take the time to have a close look at this, and if possible to join their discussions. Our New Mobility Agenda is dedicated to increasing the participation of women in the transport dialogue. And here is a chance for us to prove it.]
From: jeff turner [mailto:jeffreymturner@...]
Sent: Monday, May 23, 2005 12:05 AM
To: Gender and Transport
Subject: [gatnet] TOPIC 1: The role of Gender and Transport in the MDG's
Welcome to this important virtual discussion on mainstreaming gender in the
transport sector. My name is Jeff Turner and I am your moderator for the
first topic of discussion on the role of gender and transport in the
millennium development goals. My job during this week, is to promote
discussion and to produce a summary of the week's discussions, that will be
available to the GATNET list serv and will be posted on the IFRTD website at
www.ifrtd.org. Also, don't forget the US Transportation Research Board is
issuing a call for papers on this very topic and contributors are encouraged
to submit papers.
I would like to start off the week's discussions by posing a series of
questions that will hopefully provoke thought, comment and discussion.
I would firstly like to remind people what the UN Millennium Development
Goals (MDG's) are. They are a set of timebound and measurable goals and
targets for combating poverty, hunger, disease, illiteracy, environmental
degradation and discrimination against women, established by world leaders
in 2000. The MDG's:
• Halve extreme poverty and hunger
• Achieve universal primary education
• Empower women and promote equality between women and men
• Reduce under-five mortality by two-thirds
• Reduce maternal mortality by three-quarters
• Reverse the spread of diseases, especially hiv/aids and malaria
• Ensure environmental sustainability
• Create a global partnership for development, with targets for aid, trade
and debt relief
1. Why transport and the millennium development goals?
It is beginning to be appreciated that physical access and mobility are
embedded within all the MDG's and fundamental to their successful
achievement. They form part of the key to successful service delivery,
access and mobility is a key to enabling enhanced trade, the nature of
access and mobility will impact significantly on the environmental
sustainability. For example, the recent Sachs report on achieving the MDGs
(http://www.unmillenniumproject.org/reports/index.htm ) and the Commission
for Africa report
highlight the need for improved transport infrastructure in many developing
countries. What is still failing to be appreciated is that transport
services are also needed as without a means of mobility, infrastructure is
no solution. What is also not clear is what type of infrastructure, with the
Sachs work focusing on local roads, and the Commission for Africa
concentrating on privately financed trans-regional networks. Still less, is
the appreciation of the gendered nature of access and mobility.
Why should we be looking at the role of transport in the MDG's? Why should
we be looking at the gendered role of transport in the MDG's?
2. What do we know of the role of transport in the MDG's and what do we know
of the gendered nature of this role?
If we argue that transport does play a role in the achievement of MDG's, it
is clear that the role that transport plays is gendered. It is also clear
that the argument is not really getting through. We still need to make a
clear case that transport plays a key role in achieving the MDG's. There are
gendered transport interventions that could be taken which greatly assist
the achievement of the MDG's. For example, there are transport interventions
which could be taken in respect of maternal mortality which would greatly
reduce maternal mortality rates. And there are projects in Africa developed
by Africans which have accomplished radical lowering of maternal mortality
rates within specific localities. In terms of the Maternal Health MDG and
transport interventions, there is a toolkit developed by Professor Margaret
Grieco at http://www.people.cornell.edu/pages/mg294/maternalmortality.html
Are there any other toolkits of interventions for other MDG's?
What other transport interventions do people know of that have had impact on
achievement of any particular MDG?
What research and evidence is there available to inform our knowledge of the
gendered role of transport in the MDG's?
What research still of the interactions between transport and MDG's needs to
3. What role do the efforts to achieve the MDGs play in the transport
The transport sector should be affected by efforts to achieve the MDGs'. I
am thinking particularly here of the gender equality MDG (Empower women and
promote equality between women and men). Should this MDG be wider than just
gendered disparities of education attainment?
Interventions here are more likely to be about governance of the transport
sector and the mainstreaming of gender in how transport is managed, planned
and operated. The sector needs new protocols to work to. An example of what
impact this could have on the transport sector is set out in the paper '
Gender and User Group Protocols: The Need for New Transport Planning
How is the transport sector responding to the Gender Equality MDG?
What interventions are taking place that seek to achieve this MDG in the
What impact do they have?
What needs to happen in the transport sector for it to contribute to the
achievement of the MDG?
I hope these are a few questions and thoughts that will encourage you to
respond to what I know will be a very important and lively debate over the
next few days.
Independent Gender & Transport Consultant
Dgroups is a joint initiative of Bellanet, DFID, Hivos, ICA, IICD, OneWorld, UNAIDS
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