7 November 2013

Secretary-General's message to the Forum of Asian Ministers of Transport [delivered by Noeleen Heyzer, Executive Secretary of United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP)]

I am pleased to send greetings to all participants in the second session of the Forum of Asian Ministers of Transport.

I welcome your close collaboration to promote efficient and reliable transport infrastructure in the region. You have helped to forge the Asian Highway and Trans-Asian Railway networks. You have put in place a number of agreements to further facilitate regional connectivity. And you have facilitated public-private partnerships for infrastructure development.

These are valuable accomplishments, but too many people in Asia still lack access to reliable transport, and parts of the region suffer from alarming levels of carbon dioxide emissions.

I encourage you to think collectively about how to improve access to goods and services while minimizing the negative impact of the rapidly growing transport sector.

Mobility is not a question of building wider or longer roads. It is about providing appropriate and efficient systems that serve the most people in the best, most equitable and environmentally sensitive manner.  This includes encouraging a transition from car use to trains, buses and bicycles, and bringing more pedestrians onto well-lit sidewalks. 

People need to be able to get to work, school, hospitals and places of recreation safely and quickly.  Getting mobility right can regenerate population centres, boost productivity and attract more investors, visitors and residents. 

With your engagement, Asia can help lead the world in achieving sustainable and inclusive transport.  I wish you great success.