Asia-Pacific transport ministers discuss a regional roadmap for sustainable transport connectivity

Transport ministers and senior government officials from across the Asia-Pacific region are meeting in Moscow this week to exchange views on emerging issues in developing sustainable transport connectivity, and discuss ways to make transport systems in the region integrated, safe, affordable, inclusive and environmentally sound.

The Third Session of the Ministerial Conference on Transport, organised by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) along with the Ministry of Transportation of the Russian Federation, will elaborate on how to further develop integrated intermodal transport systems that help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and integrate sustainable development into transport connectivity programmes across the region.

“The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development provides the transport sector with a framework through which it can contribute to fighting poverty and building shared prosperity in our region. Indeed, transport sits at the intersection of many of the SDGs, including those on health, sustainable cities, and economic growth”, noted Dr. Shamshad Akhtar, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of ESCAP. “Moving forward we must ensure that transport is accessible, affordable, efficient, financially sustainable, environmentally friendly, and safe.”

Ministers will assess the implementation of the Regional Action Programme for Transport Development in Asia and the Pacific, phase II (2012-2016), decide the future policy direction for regional transport development and adopt a new five-year regional action programme for 2017-2021 to support member States in achieving transport infrastructure and operational connectivity.

The new regional action programme is expected to introduce maritime transport corridors that complement existing land networks to form a regional intermodal transport system for enhancing the transport connectivity of landlocked developing countries, coastal countries and small island developing states.
Ministers will also consider the adoption of a set of transport facilitation tools—model agreements and logistics information systems—as well as regional goals and targets for improving road safety.

During the Conference, China, Mongolia and the Russian Federation plan to sign an intergovernmental agreement on international road transport along the Asian Highway network. It is the first agreement to formalize the use of the Asian Highway for international road transport operations. The agreement provides new links between China and the Russian Federation through central and western parts of Mongolia, as well as additional sea access for landlocked Mongolia. Once in force, the agreement will be open for accession by other Asian Highway member countries to further enhance regional connectivity.