26 November 2016

Welcome Remarks at Opening Session of the Global Sustainable Transport Conference (as delivered)

            I am pleased to welcome all of you to this important Conference.
            I thank President Berdimuhamedov as well as the Government and people of Turkmenistan for their warm hospitality and excellent organization of this important meeting.
            We meet at a dynamic time for the international community.
            On the development front, there have been major promising breakthroughs.
            The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is our plan for people, prosperity, planet and peace through partnerships.
            And the Paris Agreement on climate change has entered into force years before anyone would have thought possible.
            Now our challenge is implementation.
            Sustainable transport can help get us there.
            On the road to progress, we need to flash a red light to stop business as usual.
            Otherwise we will continue to pay the high price in economic and human costs of road accidents, pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.
            And we need to flash a green light to wise investments in innovative technologies that reduce fossil fuel consumption and boost energy efficiency.
            In the search for solutions, I established a High-level Advisory Group of experts in 2014.
            I did this because I understood that sustainable transport can drive inclusive growth, create jobs, reduce poverty, open markets, empower women and help secure the well-being of other vulnerable groups.
            The Group’s report has many important recommendations.
            And it includes vivid examples of how countries around the world are improving transport.
            Chile is improving access to transport in rural areas and providing free bus transport for children with disabilities.
            Kenya is developing a new Shipping Information Pipeline so partners and authorities can easily share information and cut down on paperwork.
            Cities in the United Kingdom are consolidating deliveries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve traffic conditions.
            There are many other exciting projects being carried out on our roads, in our tunnels and across our skies. We see this in Turkmenistan and around the world.
            Policy-makers and businesses are seizing the opportunities to profit in financial and human terms by replacing outdated systems with sustainable solutions.
            This Conference is about more than sustainable transport. Ultimately, we are here for people – including our children and grandchildren.
            Achieving sustainable transport is necessary to realize our vision of a world that is safer and healthier for all people – and to protect our only home, planet Earth.
           Thank you.