President of Turkmenistan attends UN Global Sustainable Transport Conference

President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov delivered a speech at the UN Global Sustainable Transport Conference in Ashgabat.

In his speech, the President of Turkmenistan stressed that the current global conference on sustainable development of the transport system reflected a shared understanding of the need and inevitability of cooperation in this sphere. According to the President of Turkmenistan, transport is undoubtedly one of the key elements defining the trends of the world development in the long term. It has become the most important factor in the global geo-economy, destined to give it new meaning and a powerful constructive impulse.

Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov expressed confidence that creation of modern, integrated, balanced and high-tech transportation infrastructure is an objective necessity of our time, one of the priorities of the Sustainable Development Goals. Creation of such infrastructure meets the strategic interests of the entire international community and can make tangible contribution to strengthening the international economic relations, encourage investment activities, effectively promote the enhancement of economic and social indicators at international, regional and national levels.

According to Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, one can say with confidence that a dialogue on the issues related to development of global transport has not only started, but has become increasingly meaningful and coherent, even at the highest level, and attracts new participants such as states, companies, international institutions and organizations.

The Turkmen leader emphasized that establishment of relevant transport and transit and logistics systems in Central Asia and the Caspian Basin is one of the most important parts of this process. It is about building an extensive, complex, multi-purpose transport infrastructure that will embrace the continental Eurasia space with access to the sea terminals of the Black Sea and Baltic regions, South and Southeast Asia, the Middle East and the Asia-Pacific region.

The President of Turkmenistan said that at the national level Turkmenistan has already started to implement an ambitious program on creation, development and modernization of transport infrastructure. Construction of highways, interchanges and bridges is carried out at a rapid pace in the country. The Ashgabat International Airport has been opened recently. The international Turkmenbashi sea port is also being built at an accelerated pace. Early next year, there will be commissioned the region's largest road and rail bridges over Amu Darya River that will connect the roads of Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan.

The head of state also said that the opening of the first stage of Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Tajikistan railway will take place on November 28 this year. It will be part of the Asian international transport corridor, passing through the territories of the participating countries as well as Kyrgyzstan, with access to the extensive rail network of China and further to the Asia-Pacific markets.

We do not intend to slow down the dynamics of our proactive participation in the global transport dialogue. Moreover, our country is ready to speed up and expand this dialogue, filling it with new specific projects and plans. While drafting them, Turkmenistan is primarily guided by its vision of Central Asia as an integral and essential part of modern global development processes, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov said.

According to the head of state, in this sphere Turkmenistan sees real opportunities for cooperation with well-known regional organizations such as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the Eurasian Economic Union, the CIS, the Organization of Economic Cooperation.

I am convinced that our strategic interests coincide, and we are able to ensure pairing of the models and configurations of traffic flows in the continent on the basis of clear principles and mutually beneficial partnership, the Turkmen leader said.

Then, the floor was given to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

Speaking about the great importance of transport, he noted that global trade depends on the world's transport as a source of jobs and economic growth.

"All people, however remote their places of living, should be able to safely move from one place to another. Sustainable transport has to answer to the needs of those who have the least. When it does, we can bridge more than physical distances, we can come closer as one human family, the UN Secretary-General noted.

According to him, the Conference should confront the many challenges to sustainability when it comes to transport, including environmental tasks that relate to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and limiting global warming. According to the UN Secretary-General, transport also has significant public health impacts. This is about road accidents that lead to numerous deaths and injuries, as well as air pollution.

As Ban Ki-moon stressed, the answer to these problems is not simply solving relevant issues, we need more systems that are environmentally friendly and accessible.

In this context, the UN Secretary-General offered a number of ideas for the broad view that resolves interlocking problems of transport with an integrated policy framework, aligned with the Sustainable Development goals, which takes into account interactions between different modes of transport and addresses social, environmental and other pressing problems in this area.

A High-Level Advisory Group was established two years ago, Ban Ki-moon continued. Last month, they presented a final report with recommendations for sustainable transport. It has one central message: that greater investment in greener, environmentally friendly transport systems is essential to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

In conclusion of his speech, Ban Ki-moon stressed that this was the final international conference that he convened as Secretary-General of the United Nations, and he was pleased to end his term by focusing on sustainable transport, which is important for improving lives around the world and advancing progress for generations to come.

Later, the President of Turkmenistan and the UN Secretary-General left the Congress Hall to attend the opening ceremony of the new building of the UN Country Office in Turkmenistan.

In the afternoon, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov held a number of bilateral meetings, including with President of Georgia Giorgi Margvelashvili; President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Mohammad Ashraf Ghani; Second President of the National Council of the Republic of Austria Karlheinz Kopf; Chairman of the Council of the National Assembly of the Republic of Belarus Mikhail Myasnikovich and SCO Secretary-General Rashid Alimov.