Asian and Pacific countries today adopted a potentially transformative agenda for transport that would enable greener, smarter and more resilient ways to move people and goods around the region and across the world.
Transport ministers agreed to a new Regional Action Programme (RAP) for 2022 to 2026 that provides concerted action to address rising freight and passenger volumes and rapid urbanization with high motorization rates, as well as encourages accelerated use of digital technologies, deployment of smart transport systems, and transitioning towards more inclusive and low-carbon transport systems.
The Ministerial Declaration on Sustainable Transport Development in Asia and the Pacific also calls upon all stakeholders to further intensify efforts to address the region’s lagging sustainability performance and enhance resilience to future crises after nearly two years of disruption to supply chains and transport connectivity caused by the COVID-19 pandemic .
The Declaration and RAP are fully aligned with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and were officially adopted at the fourth Ministerial Conference on Transport hosted by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) this week.
“By anchoring regional transport and connectivity in sustainability, there is a real opportunity to transform transport systems and services to follow a low-carbon development path, increase the use of clean energy, and adopt innovations and emerging smart transport technologies to improve environmental sustainability,” said Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of ESCAP.
The Ministerial Conference featured a rethinking of transport priorities in the region towards more affordable, accessible, reliable, safe and sustainable mobility. Ministers also welcomed national and regional efforts to preserve and enhance transport connectivity during the pandemic; endorsed the Transport Research and Education Network; agreed to work towards a harmonized legal framework for multimodal transport; and encouraged a regional approach on sustainable multimodal freight transport.
“The Royal Thai Government has committed to achieve a more sustainable, reliable and resilient transport connectivity. In this connection, I am pleased to reiterate that Thailand’s ambitions towards sustainable transport development are in line with the regional action programme for sustainable transport development in Asia and the Pacific,” said H.E. Saksayam Chidchob, Minister of Transport of Thailand.
On the sidelines of the Conference, ESCAP launched its flagship Review of Transport Developments in Asia and the Pacific 2021, which this year assesses the effects of COVID-19 on urban transport systems. It provides recommendations on how urban transport system policies and plans can integrate the three key elements of environmental sustainability, social inclusiveness and resilience. The Review also presents the results of a modeling exercise on future scenarios, which found that energy efficiency and electric vehicle scenarios had the most significant impact on reducing emissions.