Asia-Pacific countries discuss ways to make transport a key pillar of post-2015 development agenda

Representatives of over 23 Asia-Pacific governments began a three-day meeting here today to discuss cooperation in building an efficient and sustainable regional transport and logistics network to drive growth while improving access for all to economic opportunities and social services.

Convened by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), the 10-12 October meeting of policymakers and experts is reviewing a regional road map for an integrated regional intermodal transport and logistics system adopted earlier this year, to enhance its contribution to inclusive, sustainable and resilient development.

“Transport has a critical role to play in reducing poverty, driving growth, and enabling development. There is a need to better connect our remote communities to social services, to growth and to opportunity. There is a need to improve urban-rural linkages and make our cities more livable, more future-oriented, and more resilient,” United Nations Under-Secretary-General and ESCAP Executive Secretary Dr. Noeleen Heyzer told the third session of the ESCAP Committee on Transport.

Following up on the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) held in Brazil in June this year, the meeting is examining proposals to strengthen the contribution of the Regional Action Programme for Transport Development in Asia and the Pacific, Phase II (2012-2016) to the economic, social and environmental pillars of sustainable development.

“The Rio+20 Conference was very clear, in its identification of transport and mobility as central to the implementation of sustainable development, and the United Nations Secretary-General’s Five Year Action Agenda also identifies sustainable transport as a key pillar of the post-2015 development framework,” said Dr. Heyzer.

A special Rio+20 follow-up session during the Committee will discuss the contribution of transport to sustainable development through consideration of the issues of mobility and freight. It will also consider the economic, environmental and social dimensions of a Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) for Transport that is likely to be one of the SDGs to complement the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) after 2015.

The ESCAP Transport Committee is expected to make progress towards the adoption of a new intergovernmental agreement on dry ports, marking an additional milestone towards realizing the vision of efficient, safe, and clean regional connectivity.

Finalized by the ad hoc Intergovernmental Meeting on the Intergovernmental Agreement on dry ports held in June this year, the draft agreement will supplement and integrate the Asian Highway and Trans-Asian Railway networks set up with ESCAP support.