Excellencies, distinguished guests, ladies, and gentlemen.
It is my pleasure to address you all at this Forum on sustainable transport: "Working Together to Promote Global Development."
We all gather here today with a shared recognition that sustainable transport is not only a pressing concern but also a catalyst for making global sustainable development a reality.
The integration of the economic, social and environmental pillars of sustainable development into the transport connectivity agenda in Asia and the Pacific stems from the key enabling role the transport plays in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
In the aftermath of the global pandemic, the role of transport connectivity in rebuilding and future-proofing the economy has become even more significant.
To achieve the transport-related SDGs, ESCAP has launched the new Regional Action Programme on Sustainable Transport Development in Asia and the Pacific (2022-2026), adopted by the Fourth Ministerial Conference on Transport in December 2021.
The Programme sets out three overarching objectives: efficient and resilient transport and logistics network and mobility for economic growth; environmentally sustainable transport systems and services and safe and inclusive transport and mobility.
Greater economic efficiency and resilience of freight transport calls for continued regional cooperation on developing a fully-fledged multimodal regional transport system which reduces the costs and delays of transport operations.
This is the core mandate of ESCAP, which services the intergovernmental working groups on the Asian Highway, Trans-Asian Railway and Dry Ports, and supports a regional dialogue on sustainable maritime connectivity.
The urgent need for more environmentally sustainable transport solutions becomes increasingly apparent in response to pressing environmental challenges.
Stronger collaboration and innovative solutions can enhance the implementation of the Paris Agreement at the national and local levels. Notably, digitally-driven innovation will pave the way to a more environmentally friendly and smart transport and mobility system.
In order to support our member States transition to low-carbon transport and transport digitalization, we launched three new initiatives last year.
The first, the Regional Cooperation Mechanism on Low Carbon Transport, identifies priorities to promote low-carbon transport and enhances the capacity of countries to engage in transport and climate change policy discussions.
The Asia-Pacific Initiative on Electric Mobility conducts case studies and regional policy guidelines on electric mobility in public transport.
And the Regional Road Map to Support Regional Cooperation for the Wider Deployment of Sustainable Smart Transport Systems identifies key strategies and policy plans to provide guidance for the optimal use of digital technologies in addressing transport issues.
These initiatives seek to deepen regional collaboration for low-carbon transport and transport digitalization while identifying common interests and policy priorities.
Moreover, we should invest in improving public transport systems to make them more accessible, efficient, reliable and inclusive. Ensuring the safety of all individuals, regardless of age, gender or ability, is a fundamental aspect of our commitment to sustainable transport.
We recognize the importance of making transportation accessible and secure for everyone. We will actively contribute to one of the side events during this Forum focusing on transport safety.
Today's Forum serves as a crucial platform to jointly address challenges and seek practical solutions. By bringing us together, we have the opportunity to exchange knowledge, share best practices and foster meaningful partnerships.
This will help us identify innovative approaches, harness technological advancements, including transport digitalization, and promote policy frameworks that pave the way for sustainable transport on a global scale.
By working together, we can forge a path towards global development that is socially inclusive, economically prosperous, and environmentally sustainable.
Thank you very much.