ESCAP Committee Highlights Role of Transport in 2030 Agenda
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Participants recognized the role of integrated transport networks in promoting and driving the types of trade, growth and investment necessary to lift people out of poverty.

They also stressed the potential of new technologies, such as smart and digitally-connected devices, to increase the efficiency of the transport system while also reducing its carbon footprint and safety.

21 November 2018: The UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) Committee on Transport discussed the importance of sustainable transport solutions in helping the region to achieve the SDGs. Countries expressed their continued commitment to implement the Regional Action Programme for Sustainable Transport Connectivity in Asia and the Pacific (Phase 1, 2017-2020), which aims to promote greater regional consistency in sustainable urban transport systems, rural transport, road safety and other transport-related issues.

The transport sector accounts for nearly 15 percent of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the Asia-Pacific region. Within this context, ESCAP Executive Secretary Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana stressed the importance of innovative, sustainable transport solutions to enable the region to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. She explained that the way the region designs, builds and upgrades transport networks “will help determine whether the 2030 Agenda can be achieved in Asia and the Pacific” and can help chart a more inclusive, greener course for the region.

The way the region designs, builds and upgrades transport networks will help determine whether the 2030 Agenda can be achieved in Asia and the Pacific.

Participants highlighted several benefits for the region from transport. For instance, they recognized the role of integrated transport networks in promoting and driving the types of trade, growth and investment necessary to lift people out of poverty. Participants also stressed the potential of new technologies, such as smart and digitally-connected devices, to increase the efficiency of the transport system while also reducing its carbon footprint and safety. They also underscored the importance of regional transport in connecting rural areas and promoting connectivity.

On challenges, the Committee heard the statistic that one person is killed in a road crash every 40 seconds in the Asia-Pacific region. Participants urged an increased focus on enhancing safety, particularly for urban transport. The Russian Federation said his country has implemented a set of legislative measures and strategies to enhance road safety and has experienced a decrease in the number of deaths from road accidents by one-third over the past six years.

Participants discussed several intergovernmental agreements that have facilitated international transport through the region. One example is the Asian Highway Network, an international road network from Tokyo, Japan, to Istanbul, Turkey, which ESCAP initiated in the 1950s and then formalized through an intergovernmental agreement in 2003. The region also has a trans-Asian railway network and an intergovernmental agreement on dry ports.

The Fifth Session of the Committee on Transport met from 19-21 November at ESCAP headquarters in Bangkok, Thailand. [UN Press Release] [ESCAP Press Release]

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