At UN forum, Asia-Pacific countries highlight importance of transport for sustainable development

21 November 2018

Gathered at the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), the Organization’s development wing in the region, countries have highlighted how new technologies – especially smart devices – are making transport systems safer and greener.

Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana, the Executive Secretary of ESCAP, said that innovative sustainable transport solutions can get the region “on track” to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, given that the transport sector accounts for nearly 15 per cent of the region’s greenhouse gas emissions.

“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,” she said, addressing senior policy makers from the region, at the ESCAP Committee on Transport.

“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,” added Ms. Armida.

One such example is the Asian Highway Network – initiated by ESCAP in the 1950s, and formalized through an intergovernmental agreement in 2003 – an international road network from Tokyo to Istanbul, Turkey, on borders of Europe.

Alongside the Asian Highway Network, the region also boasts of an intergovernmental agreement on dry ports as well as one on a trans-Asian railway network.

These networks also featured prominently in discussions among ESCAP member countries at the Committee, which opened on 19 November, as did other major transport developments and challenges faced by the region.

The Committee concluded on Wednesday with countries reinforcing their commitment a regional sustainable transport connectivity action programme to strengthen intermodal transport corridors, logistics, rural transport, road safety and Asia-Europe connectivity.


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