Excellencies, Mr. Gennady Bessonov, Secretary General of the International Coordinating Council on Trans-Eurasian Transportation,
Distinguished Participants, Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is my great honour to offer my congratulations on the successful organization of this 30th anniversary plenary meeting of the International Coordinating Council on Trans-Eurasian Transportation.
ESCAP is actively promoting the development of sustainable transport and working with member States on a wide range of related matters. Supporting sustainable transport connectivity between Asia and Europe is an important thematic area of work of ESCAP, and it remains highly relevant in the coming years.
The COVID-19 pandemic has heavily affected transport worldwide. At the same time, it has demonstrated that Asia and Europe remain key trade partners and underscored a high demand for interregional trade and, therefore, transportation of goods between the regions.
During the pandemic, transportation of containers by railway between Asia and Europe has been relatively stable and even shown some signs of growth. This fact showcases that further enhancing sustainable transport connectivity between Asia and Europe in the wake of the pandemic will be an important element in rebuilding a better designed and crisis-resilient international trade and transport system covering the Eurasian continent.
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
We highly value our partnership with the International Coordinating Council on Trans-Eurasian Transportation. In recent years, ESCAP has been cooperating very actively with the Coordinating Council on inter-regional sustainable transport connectivity and responding to the challenges imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic on the transport and logistics industry.
There is, I believe, a great potential for our two organizations to further develop our cooperation and reinforce each other. It is very important to ensure inclusive participation of different groups of stakeholders, including Government officials, transport and logistics industry representatives and academia. Our two organizations will discuss matters of common interest pertaining to the development of sustainable, efficient and crisis-resilient transport systems in the Asia-Pacific region.
This ongoing, fruitful cooperation is illustrated as a good practical example. We will be jointly organizing a special session on strengthening the sustainability of transport links in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, where approaches to respond to this tremendous external shock and related good practices from different prospectives will be shared.
I am also delighted that our forthcoming Forum on sustainable transport connectivity between Asia and Europe, which will be held in early October this year, is being organized in cooperation with your organization.
This approach is in line with the recommendation of the ESCAP Committee on Transport at its latest session held in November last year, when member States requested the secretariat to explore, in a cost-effective manner, the possibility of including additional stakeholders from government, the private sector and academia in the discussions on Euro-Asian connectivity.
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
The Fourth Asia-Pacific Ministerial Conference on Transport will be held in December of this year. The Conference will decide on priority areas for the next five years.
I am convinced that in the context of moving towards sustainable, environmentally friendly and socially inclusive transport systems, there will be growing opportunities to continue and enhance our close cooperation with the Coordinating Council and its members.
Finally, I wish you every success in your deliberations at the meeting.
Thank you very much.