Asia-Pacific countries strengthen regional transport connectivity to drive sustainable development

General Press Releases Wednesday November 21, 2018 17:44
Bangkok--21 Nov--ESCAP-SCAS

Bangkok (ESCAP news) – Countries in the region today reinforced their commitment to implement the Regional Action Programme for Sustainable Transport Connectivity in Asia and the Pacific, Phase I (2017 – 2020). The Programme was adopted by ministers of transport of the region in December 2016 to foster greater regional consistency in addressing issues such as international intermodal corridors, modern logistics, Asia-Europe connectivity, rural transport, sustainable urban transport systems and road safety.

High-level policymakers of the region used the Fifth Session of the Committee on Transport, held by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) from 19 to 21 November, to emphasize the significant contribution that sustainable transport connectivity can make to the realization of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

"The way we design, build and upgrade our transport networks will help determine whether the 2030 Agenda can be achieved in Asia and the Pacific. Reliable, integrated transport networks are essential to the fabric of successful economies and societies. They drive the trade, investment and growth we need to lift people out of poverty," said Ms. Armida Alisjahbana, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and ESCAP Executive Secretary, in her opening remarks.

"But our challenge is to make them accessible, safe and sustainable - as we chart a more inclusive, greener course for our region," added Ms. Alisjahbana.

The Committee deliberated on the major transport development challenges faced by the Asia-Pacific region in light of the 2030 Agenda. Delegates shared information on their recent and planned activities for further developing and operationalizing the Asian Highway Network, the Trans-Asian Railway Network and the network of Dry Ports. They also highlighted how a wide array of breakthrough technologies and fast-expanding networks of digitally-connected devices are providing new opportunities to increase the efficiency of the transport sector, while reducing its carbon footprint.

In his keynote address, H.E. Mr. Arkhom Termpittayapaisith, Minister of Transport, Royal Thai Government reaffirmed, "The actions that Thailand is implementing towards sustainable transport are very much in line with ESCAP's Regional Action Programme for Sustainable Transport Connectivity" and noted that "Thailand is committed to promoting sustainable transport in advancing regional and global efforts in achieving the SDGs."

Against the backdrop of a startling statistic that one person is killed in a road crash every 40 seconds in the Asia-Pacific region, H.E. Mr. Alexander Gorovoy, First Deputy Minister of the Interior of the Russian Federation and ESCAP representative on the Advisory Board of the United Nations Road Safety Trust Fund called for attention to be given to enhancing safety, efficiency and sustainability of urban transport. "In my country, we are consistently implementing a set of legislative measures and strategies to enhance road safety. Thanks to the measures taken, the number of deaths from road accidents has dropped by one-third over the last six years. The Russian Federation stands ready to share our groundwork with the UN and ESCAP on the issues of reducing deaths and injuries from road accidents," he shared.

The Committee also agreed to promote the use of the Sustainable Urban Transport Index developed by ESCAP to help countries assess the quality of their urban transport services.

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