The President of the UN General Assembly, at the initiative of Turkmenistan, held a High-Level Meeting on Sustainable Transport

On April 17, 2024, a High-Level Meeting of the United Nations General Assembly on Sustainable Transport, initiated by Turkmenistan, was held in New York.

The meeting, convened by the President of the UN General Assembly, Mr. Dennis Francis, within the framework of the Sustainable Development Week, was attended by the heads of specialized international organizations, national transport ministries, heads and representatives of diplomatic missions.

President of the General Assembly, expressing gratitude to Turkmenistan for its leadership in promoting the global transport agenda, drew attention to the complexity of the challenges facing the world community in transport development, as well as the negative consequences of inefficiently built transportation systems for economic stability, the environment and human health.

In this regard, Mr. Dennis Francis noted the need for joint coordinated actions to ensure accessible, affordable and sustainable transport for all, which should be the main goal of the action plan currently being developed for the implementation of the UN Decade on Sustainable Transport for 2026-2035. At the same time, it was noted that there is a close relationship between the process of developing this plan and the joint work on the preparation for the Third UN Conference for landlocked developing countries and the Forth International Conference on Small Island Developing States.

The United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA), Mr. Li Junhua, in his speech stressed that the transport sector still dominates in terms of fossil fuel use, with the lowest share of renewable energy sources. More than 95% of transport energy is still generated from petroleum products, and a quarter of global greenhouse gas emissions come from transport.

It was noted that these issues are closely related to the effective development of soft and hard transport infrastructure, building optimal transport corridors.

As a foundation for the implementation of joint practical steps by the world community, building international cooperation in the field of transport, the resolutions of the UN General Assembly, adopted at the initiative of Turkmenistan, on the proclamation of the UN Decade on Sustainable Transport for 2026-2035, the World Sustainable Transport Day on November 26, as well as the documents adopted at the end of the UN Global Conferences on Sustainable Transport in Ashgabat in 2016 and in Beijing in 2021 were outlined.

It was emphasized that at present, the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, together with the five UN Regional Economic Commissions, is preparing for the joint development of a plan for the implementation of the Decade of Sustainable Transport, relevant consultations are being held at the expert level both within the UN system and beyond.

In this context, further plans were reported on the launch of the UN Decade on Sustainable Transport in 2026 and the holding of the next Global Conference on Sustainable Transport in this regard, in accordance with the adopted UNGA resolutions.

Within the framework of the opening segment, the Chairman of the Turkmendenizderyayollary Agency  Mr. Batyr Annayev delivered a statement. Emphasizing the importance of holding a high-level meeting on one of the key areas of the implementation of the Agenda 2030, Mr. Annayev noted the need to use this opportunity to build a multilateral high-level transport dialogue in order to jointly develop strategies for achieving transport sustainability around the world, developing reliable infrastructure, and exchanging experience in advanced technologies.

In this regard, special attention was paid to practical steps to implement the Program for the Development of Transport Diplomacy of the President of Turkmenistan for 2022-2025, in accordance with which, among other things, the international legal framework for global transport cooperation is laid, in the form of adopted resolutions of the UN General Assembly, initiated by Turkmenistan, as well as final documents of various international conferences and forums.

Turkmenistan's commitment to further promote the global dialogue on sustainable transport on the basis of such multilateral mechanisms as the Group of Friends on Sustainable Transport, the Transport Advisory Council, and the World Academy of Transport Diplomacy was expressed.

During the meeting, the national delegations of the UN Member States also touched upon the following issues of multilateral cooperation in the field of transport:

  • Increasing the volume of investments in the development of transport infrastructure, communication technologies, building expert capacity and developing the regulatory framework for cooperation in the field of transport;
  • Development and improvement of multimodal transport systems, transit and transport corridors, international logistics hubs;
  • Integration of sustainable transport policies into climate change mitigation and adaptation measures, promotion of environmentally friendly modes of transport;
  • Increasing access to modern forms of public transport;
  • The need to provide accessible, affordable and environmentally friendly transport services at the national level, taking into account the social aspects of transport development.

Then the meeting continued in the form of an interactive panel discussion.

At the end of the event, Mr. Annayev, on behalf of the delegation of Turkmenistan, expressed gratitude to the President of the UN General Assembly, Mr. Dennis Francis, for organizing and holding the high-level meeting on sustainable transport.

The meeting demonstrated the strong commitment of member states, UN agencies, international and regional organizations to address the global challenges of sustainable transport development and develop a joint plan for the implementation of the UN Decade on Sustainable Transport for 2026-2035.

Following the meeting, the Office of the President of the UN General Assembly will prepare a comprehensive report and recommendations.

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