Statement by Jacinta Barrins at the Secretary-General’s Global Sustainable Transport Conference in Ashgabat 26 – 27 November 2016

Nov 28, 2016

Ms. Jacinta Barrins delivering the statement on behalf of Helen Clark, UNDP Administrator

Statement by Jacinta Barrins, UN Resident Coordinator/UNDP Resident Representative in Turkmenistan

on behalf of Helen Clark, UNDP Administrator

at the Secretary-General’s Global Sustainable Transport Conference

hosted by the Government of Turkmenistan

Ashgabat, Turkmenistan

26 – 27 November 2016

Mr. Chairman, Excellences, Ladies and Gentlemen,

•    It is a great honour for me to participate in this historic event and speak on behalf of the United Nations Development Programme at the first Global Sustainable Transport Conference. I am proud that this conference is held in Turkmenistan, where, this year, I am completing my four and half years’ tenure as UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative. Today, I will be speaking on behalf of the entire organization that has presences in nearly 170 countries around the world.

•    Last year was marked by the adoption of several historical universal policy frameworks that will inform global development for the years to come – the Sustainable Development Goals, The Paris Climate Agreement, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction. This year will be remembered as the first year of implementation of the new global development agenda. The member-states and the global development community have been working to set up implementation frameworks, roadmaps and sector strategies towards the achievement of the ambitious targets.

•    The transport sector has a key role in securing effective implementation of all sustainable development goals and climate action targets. Effective, accessible, environmentally friendly and resilient transport services are key requirements in ending poverty and protecting the planet.

•    UNDP has been supporting the implementation of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda through a common approach adopted by the UN Development Group known as the MAPS approach - for SDG Mainstreaming, Acceleration and Policy Support. With this approach, and through our broad development mandate, we have been working with national governments to support policy development, road maps, and programming, for sustainable, resilient and low carbon development.

•    Particularly in Turkmenistan, together with other UN agencies working in the country, we have been supporting the Government in an SDG rollout process providing national ownership over the SDG agenda. We are extremely proud and happy that on the 20th of September the Government of Turkmenistan has formally adopted a list of 17 Sustainable Development Goals, 148 targets and 198 indicators to be implemented over the next 15 years. Only a few days ago, the Government of Turkmenistan formed an institutional structure at ministerial senior level responsible for monitoring the progress against these.

•    UNDP in Turkmenistan also affiliated with the Government, in particular with the Ministry of Economy and Development and the National State Statistics Committee, to reflect the SDGs into the new Programme of Socio-Economic Development of the President of Turkmenistan for 2017-2021. This process is underway, and we hope, that the new Program with SDG’s integrated into it, will be soon adopted. UNDP, along with other UN agencies, has committed to support line ministries and institutions of central public administration to integrate SDGs into their respective sector plans. The country is also progressing well in building an SDG measuring system.

•    Ladies and gentlemen, over the past 20 years, UNDP has supported over 120 developing and middle-income countries with comprehensive sustainable development programs focusing on energy access, renewable energy, and energy efficiency. UNDP has been advocating for sustainable energy in the context of broader development and poverty eradication efforts and has been a partner of the Sustainable Energy for All initiative.

•    The agenda for sustainable development and the targets for global climate action and sustainable energy have been set against a very difficult economic and investment background in many parts of the world. Population growth, rapid urbanization, and climate change are creating unprecedented pressure on our production systems, financial systems, governance systems. It is important that national commitments to the SDGs are a driving change in sectoral policies and investment frameworks and helping engage private sector action. There is no better time than today, to initiate transformative investments into new green technologies and sectors, and into the efficiency of traditional sectors.

•    Sustainable transport has a critical role in tackling the bottlenecks to sustainable development such as inequality, poverty, unsustainable consumption and production, inadequate infrastructure, unsustainable urban development and services, climate change and environmental degradation. It is the transport sector, that clearly demonstrates that the sustainable development, climate change, and resilience agendas are intrinsically interlinked and reinforcing.

•    Furthermore, over the past years, the transport sector has been coming up with the most exciting technological innovations promising big gains in fuel efficiency and green development.

•    However, despite the positive trends, the transport sector remains the fastest growing consumer of fossil fuels and the fastest growing source of CO2 emissions. Transportation produces roughly 23 percent of the global CO2 emissions from fuel combustion. Within the transport sector, road transport has the largest consumption of energy and the largest economically viable potential for improvement.

•    There is no question that all sources of finance, public and private, domestic and international, will be required to achieve a true transformation of the transport sector towards the resilient and low-carbon path. UNDP’s portfolio addressing sustainability in the transport sector and integrated urban sustainability has been growing over the past years with funding from the Global Environment Facility.

•    We are currently supporting 18 countries with 21 active sustainable transport projects worth over US$ 90 million in grant financing and almost US$ 1.4 billion in co-financing. In Egypt, for example, UNDP is supporting the city of Cairo in the development of new, integrated transport services. And in India, through a joint programme with the World Bank, we are helping the Government to reduce the growth trajectory of GHG emissions from the transport sector through policy work, capacity building and piloting low-carbon urban transport solutions.

•    In the Europe and Central Asia region, we have been implementing urban transport initiatives in Almaty, Belgrade, Bratislava, Batumi, Dushanbe, and in Russia’s Kazan and Kaliningrad. These projects include a range of measures from sustainable urban planning, encouraging greater use of public transport, demonstrating green low carbon vehicles, to specific measures like car-pooling, cycling strategies and parking solutions. The ‘City of Almaty Sustainable Transport’ project, for example, has supported the introduction of a light rail tram line, the development of rapid transit bus lines and a city master plan. As a result of this project, air pollution, and greenhouse gas emissions in Almaty will be reduced by 32 percent by 2023.

•    Here in Turkmenistan, we are working with the Government to design a new innovative sustainable cities’ project that will encompass sustainable urban transportation as one of its core elements. It is expected that the project will help the Government and city administrations in taking a comprehensive approach regarding the transport sector planning through enhancement of fuel efficiency standards and targeting the root causes of the lack of exposure of citizens to sustainability issues and practices. This will be only of our actions in support of the low emission and climate resilient development that Turkmenistan has embarked on with our support after signing and ratifying the Paris Climate Agreement.

•    Honourable guests, based on our experience we trust that transport sector reforms aimed at improved fuel efficiency, increased use of public transport, integrating transport and urban development planning should be an integral part of national SDG plans and emission reduction strategies. In addition to the global climate change benefits, effective road transport and fuel efficiency measures deliver numerous development benefits such as improved air quality, reduced health risks, comfortable and resilient urban spaces for the citizen, improved business, and trade environment.

•    In conclusion of my intervention today I would like to refer again to the global development and environment challenges faced by humanity today. The governments, the private sector, and society need to work as one to secure sustainable future for our next generations. The global policy frameworks need to be transferred into implementation. Transport sector plays the key role in delivering the required innovation, investments, and services for resilient and low carbon future. 

•    Thank you for your attention

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