Now more than ever, the region’s development is reliant on its transport systems. Whether to deliver manufactured and agricultural products to international markets, food to communities, workers to their jobs, the young to schools or the sick to hospitals, transport is essential. While development patterns across the region vary, evidence shows that the countries that have been able to improve transport capacities and efficiency have been the most successful in achieving sustainable development.

The integration of the economic, social and environmental pillars of sustainable development into the transport connectivity agenda in a balanced manner is testament to the extensive enabling role of transport in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

To achieve the transport-related SDGs, ESCAP supports its member States to develop transport networks and services in various areas. The new Regional Action Programme on Sustainable Transport Development in Asia and the Pacific (2022-2026), which was adopted by the Ministerial Conference on Transport held from 14 to 17 December 2021, is centered around seven priority areas of work under three overarching objectives.

The three overarching objectives are geared towards:

  1. Efficient and resilient transport and logistics network and mobility for economic growth.
  2. Environmentally sustainable transport systems and services.
  3. Safe and inclusive transport and mobility.

The seven priority areas of work are:

  1. Regional land transport connectivity and logistics.
  2. Maritime and interregional transport connectivity.
  3. Digitalization of transport.
  4. Low-carbon mobility and logistics.
  5. Urban transport.
  6. Road safety.
  7. Inclusive transport and mobility.

ESCAP supports member States in strengthening regional cooperation and advancing transport connectivity through a broad range of partnerships, research and analytical work, norm-setting and training. In this context, the Transport Research and Education Network (TREN) has been launched during the Fourth Ministerial Conference on Transport held in December 2021. This network provides the opportunity to policy makers of ESCAP member States, transport research, education and training institutes and other agencies to exchange on the research and training needs of the region on sustainable transport. In addition, the TREN enables ESCAP member States to fulfill their commitments to the Sustainable Development Goals through the education and training of human resources, as well as enhancing the access to cutting edge analytical studies and research findings on relevant issues. The TREN also serves as a mechanism for coordination and knowledge exchange in order to further develop relevant and critical sustainable transport research and training.