Now more than ever, the region’s development is reliant on its transport system. Whether to carry manufactured and agricultural products to international markets, food to rural and urban communities, workers to their jobs, the young to schools or the sick to hospitals, transport is essential. While development patterns across the region vary, countries that have been able to improve transport capacities and efficiency have been the most successful in achieving sustainable development.
By supporting the development of an intermodal regional network, incorporating the Asian Highway network, the Trans-Asian Railway network and the network of Dry Ports, ESCAP works to strengthen connectivity, optimize the use of existing infrastructure and increase the level of integration between the different transport modes.
While infrastructure development is a prerequisite for achieving regional connectivity, tackling non-physical barriers to cross-border and transit transport is also essential. To this end, ESCAP promotes the unhindered and safe movement of vehicles, goods and people across borders and through countries of the region through the establishment of regional facilitation frameworks, assistance in formulating and implementing facilitation agreements, development of models and standards, provision of facilitation tools and the harmonization of documentation and procedures. ESCAP also assists countries in developing transport logistics policies and in enhancing the quality of transport through improving the skills of logistics service providers and transport professionals.
The extensive enabling role of transport in achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is materialized with integrating economic, social and environmental pillars of sustainable development into transport connectivity agenda in a balanced manner which can be achieved through an integrated intermodal transport and logistics system. The integrated intermodal transport and logistics system is a transport system that optimizes the needs of transporting goods and passengers; minimizes consumption of energy, land and other resources; generates low emissions of greenhouse gases, ozone depleting substances and other pollutants; and minimizes the adverse social impacts arising from transport operations. ESCAP also extends its work to rural connectivity, urban mobility and road safety to help maximize positive impact of connectivity to the environment and society.