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Delivered by Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana

12 December 2020

Policy of Neutrality and its Significance in Ensuring International Peace, Security and Sustainable Development

Statement delivered at Session 4: “Development of multimodal transport corridors and reliable infrastructure as a factor of sustainable development goals” 



Distinguished delegates, 

Ladies and gentlemen, 

I would like to use this opportunity to convey my sincere greetings to the President and people of Turkmenistan on the 25th anniversary of Neutrality.  

I sincerely express my appreciation to the Government of Turkmenistan for its role to strengthen neutrality policy for promoting peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region and beyond. 

As the international community celebrates the 75th anniversary of the United Nations, working together to advance peace, socio-economic development, and dignity for all is at the heart of our common agenda. 

Since the adoption of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in 2015, regional transport connectivity remains as one of the key drivers of socio-economic development. The transport and transit corridors are vital tools to facilitate transport connectivity and boost economic growth, trade and productivity at the national, subregional and regional levels.  

Ladies and gentlemen, 

Yet, COVID-19 is severely impacting socio-economic development of societies across Asia and the Pacific, causing unprecedented human suffering and economic disruption. Our member States are experiencing changes the mode and nature of regional connectivity.  


In this time of unprecedented crisis, I welcome the concerted efforts by member States to contain the severity of the crisis. The regional transport agreements on the Asian Highway Network, Trans-Asian Railway Network and Dry Ports have been instrumental to facilitate cross-border connectivity.  

We have witnessed positive outcomes that helped maintain movement of freight, including essential goods, across regions and borders since early months of 2020.  

It is clear that no country can fight this pandemic alone, and no country can be secured when other countries in its neighborhood are fighting the pandemic.  

The COVID-19 pandemic has offered conclusive evidence of the need for harnessing regional cooperation in the face of profound transboundary challenges. It has also provided an opportunity to transform how we prepare for future pandemics and crisis. 

Importantly, by enhancing efficient operation of multimodal transport and transit corridors, member States benefit from sustainable transport networks and operations to address external shocks and uncertainties.  

Ladies and gentlemen, 

As member States continue to emphasize the need to harmonize and improve transport and border-crossing infrastructure and facilities and services along the international transport and transit corridors, it is essential to further enhance regional cooperation among all modes of transport to create and maintain sustainable supply chains, especially in developing countries. 

In fact, the operationalization of international intermodal transport corridors offers an important approach to the regional transport operations that could minimize the environmental impact, enhanced efficiency and increased resilience of the transport sector. 

Shift towards multimodality is not only required for member States to close infrastructure gaps but it also provides opportunity for continuous improvement of in the legal, regulatory and governance frameworks applied to international transport.  


Through greater balance between modes and enhancing transport corridors, existing capacities and infrastructure can be used more effectively, make transport more environmentally friendly and serve more adequately the requirements of global supply chains. 

Ladies and gentlemen, 

I would like to take this opportunity to express my appreciation to the Government of Turkmenistan for its continued leadership to the development of transport connectivity at global, regional and subregional levels.  

Turkmenistan, for example, hosted the first ever Global Sustainable Transport Conference in 2016 where international stakeholders endorsed Ashgabat Statement supporting cleaner, greener transportation.  

The Government of Turkmenistan has also recently submitted to the UN General Assembly a draft resolution on ensuring secure and stable international transport operations during emergency situations.  

The upcoming Ministerial Transport Conference for Landlocked Developing Countries will be held in Turkmenistan in 2021 under the theme “Financing for Better Connectivity” is another important step forward in promoting sustainable regional connectivity in Asia and the Pacific.    

Ladies and gentlemen, 

ESCAP, along with UN system and development partners, stands ready to work closely with the Government of Turkmenistan, all member States and other stakeholders for the taking forward the recommendations and outcomes of this high-level event. 

We are committed to build back better and advance the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Goals (SDGs) in Asia and the Pacific.  

I wish you a very successful international conference.  

Thank you very much. 

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