Ashgabat, 22 November 2016 (nCa) — The first global conference on sustainable transport will take place in Ashgabat on 26 November 2016.
On 28 November 2016, two back-to-back ceremonies will be held for the opening of the first segment – Atamurat-Imamnazar-Akina – of the Asian international railway network. The first ceremony would be at Imamnazar, the border point of Turkmenistan with Afghanistan, and the second one would be at Akina, some eight kilometers inside the territory of Afghanistan.
Turkmenistan has built the entire segment, complete with the necessary infrastructure, including the part in Afghanistan, from its own resources and funding.
The conference, where several heads of state and government from the region have confirmed their participation already, is a proof that the world community is mindful of the urgent need for connectivity and is united behind the cause.
The conference should realistically serve as the trigger for the processes that would eventually help ensure sustainable transport in every sense of the word.
The scope is really wide – ranging from fundamental political positions to minutest technical issues, everything can and should be considered during the conference or on its sidelines.
- The fuel and energy resources, when not transported through pipelines, require some kind of transportation system
- Food items, if transported cheaply, will sell cheaply
- High speed, mass transit also comes under the compass of transportation – if people can commute cheaply at high speed, they will not flock to a few major cities for living
- Every sustainable development goal is ultimately linked to transportation one way or the other
- The countries that are considered developed cannot afford to remain oblivious from the urgency of sustainable development goals as proven by the huge flood of refugees at the doorsteps of Europe
The UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, who will be present at the conference, has highlighted the transport needs of the LLDCs (LandLocked Developing Countries).
In a story titled ‘UN Secretary-General Highlights Transport Needs for LLDCs’ the IISD reports:
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon underscored the role of sustainable transport in tackling climate change and building a cleaner, greener world.
The first-ever Global Conference on Sustainable Transport will convene in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, from 26-27 November 2016.
13 October 2016: Speaking at a high-level meeting on sustainable transport for landlocked developing countries (LLDCs) that convened in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon underscored the role of sustainable transport in tackling climate change and building a cleaner, greener world. He called attention to the first-ever Global Conference on Sustainable Transport, which will convene in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, from 26-27 November 2016.
Ban highlighted sustainable transport as “a special challenge for LLDCs, which face unique transport obstacles, such as remoteness from major markets and high transport costs.” He elaborated on the crucial role of “economically, viable, socially acceptable and environmentally sound transport systems.” Ban also highlighted the transport sector’s role in achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The UN General Assembly (UNGA) welcomed the Secretary-General’s intention to convene “the first-ever global conference on sustainable transport” in a 2015 Resolution (A/RES/70/197), which outlines sustainable transport’s potential to contribute to the 2030 Agenda by: facilitating women’s opportunities for empowerment and employment; enabling young people to attend school; contributing to a more sustainable planet by reducing emissions and improving air quality; and facilitating access to markets and basic services, among other linkages.
The Conference is expected to address all these linkages and all modes of transport, including aviation, ferry, maritime, rail and road. It will focus on LLDCs, the least developed countries (LDCs) and small island developing States (SIDS). [UN Secretary-General Statement] [Global Sustainable Transport Conference] [Resolution 70/197]
Here is a short report on the message of Ban Ki-moon:
Building Sustainable Transport Systems Plays Vital Role in Achieving 2030 Agenda, Secretary-General Says at High-level Event for Landlocked Developing Countries
Following is UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message to the high-level meeting on sustainable transport for landlocked developing countries, in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, today:
I am pleased to convey my greetings to all those gathered for this high-level meeting on sustainable transport for landlocked developing countries. I thank the Government and people of Bolivia for hosting this gathering.
Sustainable transport is an important part of our common efforts to tackle climate change and build a cleaner, greener world. This is a special challenge for landlocked developing countries, which face unique transport obstacles, such as remoteness from major markets and high transport costs.
Economically viable, socially acceptable and environmentally sound transport systems are crucial. The transport sector can play a vital role in achieving the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals. I welcome the advice and guidance from this conference as you focus on the particular sustainable transport needs of landlocked developing countries. Your gathering is especially timely coming within weeks of the entry into force of the Paris Agreement on climate change.
I am convening the first-ever global conference on sustainable transport, on 26 and 27 November, in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, and look forward to your contributions. I wish you a successful conference.
Here is some information about the conference, as carried by the sustainable developments page of the UN website:
Global Sustainable Transport Conference
26 – 27 NOVEMBER 2016, Ashgabat, Turkmenistan
Side events sponsored by Governments, UN system and other Inter-governmental Organizations, as well as Major Groups and other stakeholders, will be organized during the Global Sustainable Transport Conference (GSTC), from 25 to 27 November 2016 in conference rooms located in close proximity to the official venue of GSTC, in Ashgabat, the capital city of Turkmenistan.
The side events will allow space for sharing experiences and provide alternative opportunities for dialogue and will be coordinated and managed by the GSTC Secretariat.
Recognizing the fundamental role of sustainable transport in fighting climate change and achieving the sustainable future we want, Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon will convene the first ever global conference on sustainable transport, on 26 and 27 November 2016 in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan. In resolution 70/197 titled “Towards comprehensive cooperation among all modes of transport for promoting sustainable multimodal transit corridors”, the General Assembly welcomed the initiative of the Secretary-General to convene the Conference.
The Conference will build on the intergovernmental discussions on sustainable transport. The outcome document of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), held in 2012, stresses that transportation and mobility are central to sustainable development. It recognizes the need to promote an integrated approach to policymaking at the national, regional and local levels for transport services and systems to advance sustainable development.
Transport drives development – enabling trade, tourism, and economic growth and allowing people to access jobs, services, education and the interactions that help create fulfilled lives. Sustainable transport, by extension, drives sustainable development, advancing the people-centered goals at the heart of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development while protecting and preserving the planet and its resources for generations to come. For example, access to sustainable and safe transport allows young people to attend school. It facilitates women’s opportunities for employment and empowerment, and provides persons with disabilities and elderly people improved access to mobility. Sustainable transport systems enable access to markets and basic services, generate jobs and contribute to human well-being by reducing emissions and improving air quality. A move towards more sustainable transport practices will have a considerable impact on the health of our oceans, seas and terrestrial ecosystems, and will help us tackle climate change.
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted in 2015, also recognizes the global need to adopt policies which enhance sustainable transport systems. It is clear that advances in sustainable transport will contribute to the attainment of several, if not all, of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), outlined in the 2030 Agenda. Some SDGs are directly connected to sustainable transport through targets and indicators such as SDG 3 on health, which includes a target addressing deaths and injuries from road traffic accidents (3.6), and SDG 11 sustainable cities which includes a target on providing access to safe, affordable, accessible and sustainable transport systems for all and on expanding public transport (11.2).
In this spirit, the Global Sustainable Transport Conference will bring together key stakeholders from Governments, UN system and other international organizations, the private sector, and civil society to engage in a dialogue that emphasizes the integrated and cross-cutting nature of sustainable transport and its multiple roles in supporting the achievement of the SDGs. All modes of transport—road, rail, aviation, ferry and maritime—will be addressed. The concerns of developing countries, including least developed countries, landlocked developing countries and small island developing States, will receive particular focus. Developing countries and their expanding cities face urgent challenges, but they also have opportunities to bypass unsustainable transport practices and find fast tracks to a new paradigm of sustainability. The Conference will shine a spotlight on these opportunities.
The programme of the Conference reflects the diversity and complexity of the transport sector and will provide a platform for forging partnerships and initiatives to advance sustainable transport objectives.
The UN General Assembly resolution on the subject:
General Assembly Distr.: General
16 February 2016
Agenda item 20
Resolution adopted by the General Assembly on 22 December 2015
[on the report of the Second Committee (A/70/472)]
70/197. Towards comprehensive cooperation among all modes of transport for promoting sustainable multimodal transit corridors
The General Assembly,
Recalling the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, 1 Agenda 21, 2 the Programme for the Further Implementation of Agenda 21, 3 the Johannesburg Declaration on Sustainable Development, 4 the Plan of Implementation of the World Summit on Sustainable Development (Johannesburg Plan of Implementation) 5 and the outcome document of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable
Development, entitled “The future we want”, 6 Reaffirming its resolution 70/1 of 25 September 2015, entitled “Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”, in which it adopted a comprehensive, far-reaching and people-centred set of universal and transformative Sustainable Development Goals and targets, its commitment to working tirelessly for the full implementation of this Agenda by 2030, its recognition that eradicating poverty in all its forms and dimensions, including extreme poverty, is the greatest global challenge and an indispensable requirement for sustainable development, its commitment to achieving sustainable development in its three dimensions — economic, social and environmental — in a balanced and integrated manner, and to building upon the achievements of the Millennium Development Goals and seeking to address their unfinished business, Reaffirming also its resolution 69/313 of 27 July 2015 on the Addis Ababa Action Agenda of the Third International Conference on Financing for Development, which is an integral part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, supports and complements it, helps to contextualize its means of implementation targets with concrete policies and actions, and reaffirms the strong political commitment to address the challenge of financing and creating an enabling environment at all levels for sustainable development in the spirit of global partnership and solidarity,
Recalling its resolution 69/213 of 19 December 2014 on the role of transport and transit corridors in ensuring international cooperation for sustainable development,
Taking note of the Ashgabat Declaration, adopted at the High-level International Conference on the Role of Transit Transport Corridors in Ensuring International Cooperation, Stability and Sustainable Development held in Ashgabat on 3 and 4 September 2014, 7 in cooperation with the Economic Commission for Europe, the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific and the International Road Transport Union,
Recalling its resolutions 55/215 of 21 December 2000, 56/76 of 11 December 2001, 58/129 of 19 December 2003, 60/215 of 22 December 2005, 62/211 of 19 December 2007, 64/223 of 21 December 2009, 66/223 of 22 December 2011 and 68/234 of 20 December 2013 on enhanced cooperation between the United Nations and all relevant partners, in particular the private sector,
Recalling also its resolutions 57/309 of 22 May 2003, 58/9 of 5 November 2003, 58/289 of 14 April 2004, 60/5 of 26 October 2005, 62/244 of 31 March 2008, 64/255 of 2 March 2010, 66/260 of 19 April 2012 and 68/269 of 10 April 2014 on improving global road safety and the need to develop plans to improve road safety along international road transit corridors in line with the Global Plan for the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011–2020,
Welcoming the Second Global High-level Conference on Road Safety, held in Brasilia on 18 and 19 November 2015, to review progress in implementing the Global Plan for the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011–2020 and meeting the goal of the Decade of Action,
Welcoming also, in this regard, the appointment of the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Road Safety,
Welcoming further the work of the Secretary-General’s High-level Advisory Group on Sustainable Transport, and looking forward to the launch of a global transport outlook report,
Recognizing the important role of environmentally sound, safe, efficient, reliable and affordable multimodal transport and transit corridors for the efficient movement of goods and people in supporting sustainable economic growth, improving the social welfare of people and enhancing international cooperation and trade among countries,
Emphasizing the need to harmonize and improve transport and border-crossing infrastructure and facilities and services along the international transport and transit corridors,
Noting the importance of the United Nations Development Account projects focused on developing broader transport corridors that are being implemented by the five United Nations regional commissions, and of identifying the physical and institutional infrastructure requirements that would be needed to make them operational,
Recognizing the importance of addressing the special needs of landlocked developing countries, inter alia, by establishing and promoting efficient transit transport systems that link them to international markets, and in this regard reaffirming that the Almaty Declaration, 8 the Vienna Declaration and the Vienna Programme of Action for Landlocked Developing Countries for the Decade 2014–2024 9 constitute a fundamental framework for genuine partnerships between landlocked and transit developing countries and their development partners at the national, bilateral, subregional, regional and global levels,
Recognizing also the need to connect the economies of small island developing States to the network of global supply chains by integrating them into existing and emerging multimodal transport and transit corridors, and in this regard reaffirming that the SIDS Accelerated Modalities for Action (SAMOA) Pathway 10 outlines the sustainable development priorities for small island developing States, Stressing the importance of actively supporting private sector investment, including through public-private partnerships and grant/loans blending, for infrastructure development and maintenance in communications and in multimodal transport such as railways, roads, waterways, warehouses and port facilities in the least developed countries, and in this regard recalling that the Istanbul Declaration and Programme of Action for the Least Developed Countries for the Decade 2011– 2020 11 highlights the need to build the infrastructure of least developed countries as a priority area for action,
Noting the launch on 26 September 2015 of the Global Partnership for Sustainable Transport, developed by the International Road Transport Union and the United Nations Global Compact, and recognizing in this regard the mission and objectives that the Global Partnership pursues as a business- and industry-led, action-oriented, multi-stakeholder initiative involving all modes of transport,
Recognizing the need for continued cooperation and coordination between the United Nations and existing partnerships on sustainable transport issues, such as the Global Partnership for Sustainable Transport, the Partnership on Sustainable Low Carbon Transport and the Group of Friends on Sustainable Transport,
Highlighting the role of international roads and railways, intermodal logistics centres and dry ports, global logistics and supply chains, integrated transport modes, appropriate technologies and the maintenance and upgrading of infrastructure in promoting seamless international transit transport,
Underlining the importance of cooperation among all modes of transport to create and maintain sustainable supply chains, especially in developing countries, in order to improve access to markets and the reliability of supply, enhance diversification and value addition, improve the competitiveness of commodities, strengthen the market chain, improve market structures, broaden the export base and ensure the effective participation of all stakeholders,
Recognizing the importance of transport and transit corridors in facilitating transport linkages on domestic routes and promoting urban-rural connectivity in order to boost economic growth at the local and regional levels, promote interconnections between cities, peoples and resources and facilitate intraregional and interregional trade,
- Recognizes the need for continued international cooperation to address the issues relating to transport and transit corridors as an important element of sustainable development;
- Takes note of the report of the Secretary-General on the role of transport and transit corridors in ensuring international cooperation for sustainable development;
- Invites the Secretary-General to continue to promote and facilitate effective international cooperation on sustainable transport issues, and in this regard encourages further efforts, as appropriate, to strengthen the coordination of the work of the United Nations system in the area of transportation;
- Welcomes the initiative of the Secretary-General to convene, towards the end of 2016, a global sustainable transport conference, and notes that the conference will be funded through extrabudgetary resources;
- Underlines that international transport corridors should be identified, designed and developed, keeping in mind the safety and protection of transport users and the competitive advantages of each mode of transport and addressing infrastructure needs and the regulatory and institutional framework for the services that those corridors provide, including the promotion of social dialogue, safety and health in the workplace and gender balance in the workforce;
- Encourages States to consider adopting energy efficiency and low carbon technologies when making improvements to transport and transit corridors and related infrastructure, and underlines the importance of such technologies in international cooperation on transport issues;
- Welcomes the efforts of the relevant organizations of the United Nations system, other international, regional and subregional organizations, in particular the World Bank, the regional development banks, the World Customs Organization, the World Trade Organization, the International Road Transport Union, the International Union of Railways and the International Transport Forum, within their respective mandates, to develop and operationalize international and regional transport and transit corridors;
- Calls for efforts to promote regional and interregional economic integration and cooperation, including by improving transportation infrastructure, enhancing connectivity and facilitating trade and investment;
- Welcomes new and existing initiatives to enhance regional and interregional connectivity and transport infrastructure in order to unleash the potential of cooperation among all modes of transport and achieve economic dynamism for integrated sustainable development;
- Calls upon Member States and international and regional organizations to further encourage enhanced networking and periodic consultation among related stakeholders involved in the development and operation of international transport and transit corridors;
- Invites all States that have not yet done so to consider signing, ratifying or acceding to the United Nations conventions and agreements on transport and transit facilitation, including the International Convention on the Harmonization of Frontier Control of Goods and the Customs Convention on the International Transport of Goods under Cover of TIR Carnets (TIR Convention);
- Underscores the need to mobilize, as appropriate, additional financial resources for the development of transport infrastructure and services, including through the promotion of public-private partnerships, so as to achieve inclusive and sustainable development;
- Encourages the organizations of the United Nations system and other international organizations, relevant international financing institutions, multilateral and bilateral donors and the private sector to further coordinate their efforts and to collaborate in mobilizing financial and technical assistance to countries for comprehensive cooperation among all modes of transport so as to promote sustainable multimodal transit corridors.
81st plenary meeting 22 December 2015
The UNGA resolution on the subject can be found here:
Events calendar of the conference
26 November 2016
11:00 – 13:00 Plenary session with statements of commitment and ambition.
Statements by ministerial-level participants
15:00 – 16:30 Parallel thematic discussions:
Transport and SDGs
Sustainable transport at the heart of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
Sustainable transport drives poverty eradication and sustainable development. There are a number of SDG targets directly linked to transport, including SDG 3 on health (increased road safety), SDG 7 on energy, SDG 8 on decent work and economic growth, SDG 9 on resilient infrastructure, SDG 11 on sustainable cities (access to transport and expanded public transport), SDG 12 on sustainable consumption and production (ending fossil fuel subsidies) and SDG 14 on oceans, seas and marine resources. In addition, sustainable transport will enable the implementation of nearly all the SDGs through inter-linkage impacts. Access to sustainable transport for all should be at the forefront, including for vulnerable groups such as women, children, persons with disabilities and the elderly.
Reaching the most remote: rural transport challenges and opportunities
Transport is a key enabler of rural development, allowing farmers, including women and small-holder farmers, to access markets, employment, health services, social interaction and the world beyond their village or local community. However, sustainable transport priorities for rural areas must go beyond simply building more all- weather roads. Achieving the 2030 Agenda in the rural context will require a holistic approach to transport: infrastructure improvements, technology transfer and innovation, emphasis on health and safety, focus on active mobility, and local economic and social development. Opportunities for a green path to development must be maximized.
16:30 – 18:00 Parallel thematic discussions:
Transport and climate
Sustainable transport solutions to the climate crisis
While transport plays a critical role in economic and social development, the transport sector, as one of the top consumers of fossil fuels, is a major contributor to air pollution and generates a variety of emissions that impact the climate. Climate change has in turn impacts on critical transport infrastructure worldwide. Given the potential for climate related damage, disruption and delay to transport across closely interconnected global supply chains, enhancing the climate resilience of critical transport infrastructure is of strategic importance. Finding sustainable transport solutions, including adequate climate change mitigation and adaptation measures, will therefore be central to meeting the ambitious goals outlined in the Paris Agreement. Technology and innovation, inter-modal links and systems, and a robust commitment to public transport will all be vital components of a low-carbon transport future.
Sustainable urban transport solutions
Urban transport systems cannot be planned in isolation from other aspects of city governance—city planners, health departments, social services, civil society, private business and other stakeholders must participate in decision making. The goal is a city that promotes well-being, allows for the safe movement of people and goods, preferably relying on mass public transport, while minimizing air pollution and congestion and maximizing economic, social and environmental development. Accordingly, the draft New Urban Agenda, to be adopted at the Habitat III Conference in Quito, Ecuador in October 2016, envisages “cities and human settlements that” “promote…investment for sustainable, safe and accessible urban mobility and resource efficient transport systems for passengers and freight effectively linking people, places, goods, services, and economic opportunities”.
27 November 2016
Plenary session with statements of commitment and ambition
Statements by ministerial-level participants
11:30 – 13:00 Parallel thematic discussions:
Public transport in the 21st century: moving passengers and freight in a sustainable manner.
Safe, accessible, convenient and green transport systems will be crucial to achieving sustainable development. The improvement and expansion of sustainable public transport systems, including bus rapid transit, metro, light rail systems and ferries, should be at the forefront. Short and long-range mobility solutions that harness the potential of information and communication technology, and incorporate active mobility as well as the new options stemming from the “share economy” will allow for passengers to fulfill their need for movement and for goods to be transported in a more sustainable way while minimizing the role of private vehicles and reducing energy consumption and climate impact.
Sustainable transport and transit solutions in countries in special situations
Sustainable transport is a challenge for all countries, but countries in special situations, including least developed countries, landlocked developing countries, and small island developing states, face particular obstacles. High transport cost, restricted access to the sea, limited air service for passengers and cargo, and difficulties securing investments and partnerships are among the challenges that must be addressed in order to achieve sustainable development in these countries. Evidence suggests that a significant share of the high trade transaction costs faced by many countries is attributable to transit-related challenges. Addressing these challenges, including through simplified, harmonized and standardized transport and transit procedures, intermodal connectivity, will go a long way in boosting economic development, sustainable tourism, and trade, while building regional and global value chains and promoting sustainable development.
15:00 – 16:00 Parallel thematic discussions:
Energy and transport
Transport decisions—at the national and municipal levels, but also globally—must go hand in hand with energy decisions if sustainable development is to be achieved and should include a shift towards high-efficiency and low-carbon modes of transport. Sustainable energy will, by definition, serve as a precondition for and ultimately further sustainable transport. However, in the short-term developed and developing countries alike will be looking to strike the right balance between assuring access to energy and transport for this generation and preserving the planet for the next.
Multi-modal sustainable transport and transit solutions: connecting rail, maritime, road and air
Integrated multi-modal transport and transit systems that optimize the comparative advantages of each mode of transport are crucial in order to achieve sustainable transport of passengers and freight within and between countries. Road, rail, maritime, ferry and air transport, as well as non-motorized transport such as walking and cycling, need to be taken into account and emphasis should be placed on low-carbon-based energy modes of transport and an increased reliance on public transport systems. Sustainable multimodal transport and transit systems can provide an array of options for passenger and freight transport and successfully connect citizens and countries while supporting economic growth, social development and global trade. Transporting goods across national borders and over “the last mile” to their final destination in a safe, efficient and effective way is an ongoing challenge. Solutions will require collaboration between governments and across modes, and regional initiatives will be important to harmonize legal and policy frameworks.
16:00 – 17:30 Parallel thematic discussions:
Financing sustainable transport
Financing sustainable transport: domestic resource mobilization, international cooperation and public-private partnerships
The foreseen population growth and related rising demand for transport will necessitate massive investment in new transport and infrastructure projects and the adequate maintenance of those already in place. Already today, transport investment needs are estimated to be between one and two trillion dollars per year. Of the current total annual investments worldwide, less than 40% is received by developing countries, where the needs, but also opportunities are the greatest. The Addis Ababa Action Agenda on Financing for Development, adopted in 2015, elaborates on the many approaches that will be needed to implement the 2030 Agenda, including traditional official development assistance, domestic resource mobilization, and a wide array of partnership models. The same diversity of approaches will be needed to finance sustainable transport in the 21st century.
Global Vision Zero: reaching a new era in road safety
With 1.3 million people killed and up to 50 million people injured every year in road accidents, road safety has to be a top priority for the global community. The establishment of adequate legal frameworks, the expansion of safe public transport systems, the transport of freight by modes that are less harmful to humans, and the creation of national road safety strategies and plans will be of critical importance in the coming decades.
17:30 – 18:00 Closing ceremony
- Business forum (in parallel to the official programme on 27 November)
- Transport Treaty Event
- International Transport Exhibition
- Bilateral and group meetings
- UN-DESA Energy Grant Award Ceremony: Powering the Future We Want – Energy for Sustainable Transport
The event site established and run by Turkmenistan
Link to several important documents: