Mehmood Ul Hassan Khan
On the initiative of the Republic of Turkmenistan and direction of visionary leader the President of Turkmenistan H.E. Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov first ever “Global Sustainable Transports System” conference was held on November 26-27 in Ashgabat. More than 50 countries actively participated in the conference. More than 40 deputy prime ministers and ministers of transport attended the conference and shared their valuable experiences in the field of transport.
It was giant step towards realization and achieving of sustainable transports system in the world. Turkmen government played very crucial part in the success of said conferenced held in Ashgabat.
Turkmenistan has a comparative advantage in geography which connects Asia with Europe. It values prime importance to the creation of modern transport systems and closely cooperates with neighbouring countries in the development of regional transport corridors through North-South and East-West. Globally Turkmenistan is a pioneer in so many valuable initiatives in terms of climate change, development, human rights, empowerment of women and the last but not the least, sustainable transport system. It has already initiated broad dialogue on the development of international transport corridors and has sponsored two UN General Assembly Resolutions on these themes, which were adopted in December 2014 and December 2015 with the support of many countries.
The conference brought together key stakeholders from governments, UN system and other international organizations, the private sector, and civil society to engage in a dialogue that emphasized 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 were addressed. The conference also recognized the fundamental role of sustainable transport in fighting climate change and achieving the sustainable future.
During first Global Sustainable Transport Conference the “Transport Business Summit” was also held on 27 November 2016 in which a wide range of issues related to all modes of transport (air, motor, railroad and marine were addressed and thoroughly discussed. The subjects of investments in basic and auxiliary infrastructure to environment and safety issues were also tabled.
The first-ever UN conference dedicated to sustainable transport reflected the growing awareness of the crucial role that sustainable transport plays in advancing sustainable development and climate action. It sought to show the importance of sustainable transport in promoting economic and social development while protecting the environment. By initiating and holding of a successful first global sustainable transports system conference, Turkmenistan has become hub of regional as well as global of connectivity and attraction.
It described the numerous challenges caused by unsustainable transport with around one quarter of greenhouse gas emissions being generated by the transport sector and with more than 1.25 million people killed annually in road traffic accidents. Sustainable transport helps to build a sustainable future. It provides access to trade, jobs, markets, education, health care and other services that contribute to better lives. It empowers women, persons with disabilities and other vulnerable groups.
It was decided that greater investment in greener, more sustainable transport systems was essential for propelling the economic and social development that is essential for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. It outlined that global, national and local transport systems were hobbled by inefficiencies and a lack of sustainable investments. It provided 10 recommendations on how governments, businesses and civil society should re-direct resources in the transport sector to advance sustainable development.
President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov delivered a speech at the UN Global Sustainable Transport Conference in Ashgabat. President Gurbanguly outlined the importance of sustainable transport system in the national, regional and international economies. He also projected his own country contribution in the further enhancing of regional connectivity through the development of sustainable transport system and different economic corridors.
The President stressed that the current global conference on sustainable development of the transport system reflected a shared understanding of the need and inevitability of cooperation in this field. According to the President of Turkmenistan, transport is undoubtedly one of the key elements defining the trends of the world development in the long term. It has become the most important factor in the global geo-economy, destined to give it new meaning and a powerful constructive impulse.
President Gurbanguly showed satisfaction that creation of modern, integrated, balanced and high tech transportation infrastructure is an objective necessity of our time, one of the priorities of the Sustainable Development Goals. Creation of such infrastructure meets the strategic interests of the entire international community and can make tangible contribution to strengthening the international economic relations, encourage investment activities, effectively promote the enhancement of economic and social indicators at international, regional and national levels.
To be continued
President Gurbanguly valued the development of global transport which has not only started, but has become increasingly meaningful and coherent, even at the highest level, and attracts new participants such as states, companies, international institutions and organizations.
He stressed that establishment of relevant sustainable transport and transit and logistics systems is the need of the hour in all the Central Asia Countries and the Caspian Basin which would be achieved through the development of sustainable transports system. It will be achieved through building an extensive, complex, multi-purpose transport infrastructure across the continental Eurasia to the sea terminals of the Black Sea and Baltic regions, South and Southeast Asia, the Middle East and the Asia-Pacific region.
He said that at the national level Turkmenistan has already started to implement an ambitious program on creation, development and modernization of transport infrastructure. Construction of highways, interchanges and bridges is carried out at a rapid pace in the country. The Ashgabat International Airport has been opened and functional recently. The international Turkmenbashi sea port is also being built at an accelerated pace. Early next year, there will be commissioned the region’s largest road and rail bridges over Amu Darya River that will connect the roads of Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan.
He also said that the opening of the first stage of Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Tajikistan railway will take place on November 28, 2016 which will be part of the Asian international transport corridor, passing through the territories of the participating countries as well as Kyrgyzstan, with access to the extensive rail network of China and further to the Asia-Pacific markets.
He showed great commitments to actively participate in the global transport dialogue. Moreover, Turkmenistan is ready to speed up and expand this dialogue, filling it with new specific projects and plans, he added. While drafting them, Turkmenistan is primarily guided by its vision of Central Asia as an integral and essential part of modern global development processes,” Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov said.
President Gurbanguly showed his wiliness to closely work with the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the Eurasian Economic Union, the CIS and the Organization of Economic Cooperation for tapping the opportunities in the fields of transports for the further strengthening of regional connectivity. Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov once again reaffirmed that Turkmenistan will ensure pairing of the models and configurations of traffic flows in the continent on the basis of clear principles and mutually beneficial partnership.
During his speech UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon spoke about the great importance of transport. He noted that global trade depends on the world’s transport as a source of jobs and economic growth.
“All people, wherever they may live, should be able to safely move from one place to another. Sustainable transport has to answer to the needs of those who have the least. When it does, we can bridge more than physical distances, we can come closer as one human family,” the UN Secretary-General noted.
He also pinpointed many challenges associated to achieve sustainability namely, environmental tasks that relate to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and limiting global warming. According to the UN Secretary-General, transport also has significant public health impacts. It is about road accidents that lead to numerous deaths and injuries, as well as air pollution. He stressed the need to have more environmentally friendly and accessible transports system.
He floated a number of ideas for the broad view that resolves interlocking problems of transport with an integrated policy framework, aligned with the Sustainable Development goals, which takes into account interactions between different modes of transport and addresses social, environmental and other pressing problems in this area.
He concluded that greater investment in greener, environmentally friendly transport systems is essential to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.