European Ministers of Transport, Health and Environment to discuss the future of healthy and sustainable mobility (17-18 May 2021)

The Transport, Health and Environment Pan-European Programme (THE PEP), jointly serviced by the UNECE and the WHO Regional Office for Europe, held its Fifth High-Level Meeting from 17 to 18 May 2021. The Fifth High-Level Meeting was due to be held in November 2020 in Vienna; however, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it hosted by Austria in a completely virtual format for the first time.  

Member States adopted the Vienna Declaration, which embodies an ambitious vision of transforming to clean, safe, healthy and inclusive mobility and transport systems for all. The High-Level Meeting held discussions and negotiations to jointly overcome challenges, seize opportunities and solidify goals for THE PEP. The documents, recommendations and work on cycling promotion, eco-driving, and the integration of sustainable transport planning and urban planning was discussed and adopted. Among these documents is the first Pan-European Master Plan for Cycling Promotion, aiming to assist in the development of cycling promotion policies at national level. The Master Plan includes recommendations based on evidence and good practice from the region.  

COVID-19 has created new challenges in relation to transport and THE PEP has been active to integrate the needs of member States and their worries into the discussions for the High-Level Meeting. A Task Force was established in April 2020 with the aim to develop Recommendations on Green and Healthy Sustainable Transport. These recommendations strive to make post-COVID-19 pandemic mobility more environmentally sound, healthy and sustainable through THE PEP, and was also form part of the Vienna Declaration. 

May 2021 marked 20 years since the First High-Level Meeting on Transport, Health and Environment, one year prior to the creation of THE PEP itself. Thus, the Fifth High-Level Meeting, organised at the joint invitation of Austria’s Federal Ministry for Climate Action, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology and Federal Ministry of Social Affairs, Health, Care and Consumer Protection, signals two decades of multilateral negotiations and cooperation on this important intersection of fields. There will be a celebration of 20 years of THE PEP next year in 2022, to commemorate this unique cross-sectoral tripartite policy platform.  

Documents are available on the meeting webpage. 

About THE PEP

Travel and transport are essential parts of modern life. We depend on transport to travel to work, for shopping and leisure, by car, by bus, by train, by walking and cycling. Human powered mobility can also contribute to our health and well-being through physical activity.

But transport also has harmful effects on the environment and on our health – through congestion, accidents, pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.

More than ever, we need to be aware of the crucial connection between transport, health and the environment.  THE PEP – the Transport, Health and Environment Pan-European Programme – makes the link.

The implementation of the five priority goals enshrined in the Paris Declaration “City in Motion – People First!” is achieved through the following THE PEP implementation mechanisms: