The future of transport cooperation in the Caspian Region"

Statement by Elena Panova, UN Resident Coordinator in Turkmenistan at the Caspian Economic Forum's session

Dear Chairman Orazdurdy Sukhanov,

Dear UN Under Secretary-General Algaerova,

Ambassador Gurbanov,

Dear Panel Members, Ladies and Gentlemen,


First of all, I would like to thank the organizers for giving me an opportunity to speak at this very important session of the Caspian Forum and start by highlighting that the Caspian Basin is an important strategic region, which has huge economic, energy and transport potential.

Transport plays important role in ensuring global and regional economic growth and strengthening the cooperation among the states,  and at the same time developed transport systems contribute to addressing multiple issues such as efficient and timely movement of goods and people within and across countries. Transport enables individuals and communities to rise out of poverty and overcome social exclusion, connecting goods to markets and linking rural areas and market towns to large cities and the global marketplace. 

However, we need to be mindful that transport is responsible for 23% of global energy-related greenhouse gas emissions. Therefore, it is imperative to promote sustainable transport systems allowing for people and commodities reaching their destinations with minimal environmental impact.

Transport is not an end in itself, but rather a means allowing people to access what they need: jobs, markets, social interaction, education, and a full range of other services and amenities contributing to healthy and fulfilled lives.

The 2030 Agenda states that sustainable transport systems, along with universal access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy services, quality and resilient infrastructure, would build strong economic foundations for all countries. Through sustainable transport, we can make significant progress on the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Climate Agreement, improving the lives of billions of people around the world. Let me remind the distinguished audience that transport contributes directly to five SDG targets on road safety (Target 3.6); energy efficiency (Target 7.3); sustainable infrastructure (Target 9.1), urban access (Target 11.2), and fossil fuel subsidies (Target 12.c). And indirectly to seven targets on: agricultural productivity (Target 2.3), air pollution (Target 3.9), access to safe drinking water (Target 6.1), sustainable cities (Target 11.6), reduction of food loss (Target 12.3), climate change adaptation (Target 13.1), and climate change mitigation (Target 13.2).

Turkmenistan has been extremely active in supporting the UN agenda on sustainable transport. By promoting its transport diplomacy globally, the country aims at developing all modes of transport and transnational transportation links connecting the country and the entire region of Central Asia to the global transport routes in the North, West, South and East.

The United Nations supported many of the initiatives of Turkmenistan on sustainable transport by co-convening a number of important discussions on multimodal transport at the regional and global levels.

To this end, the UN General Assembly adopted three resolutions in 2014, 2015 and 2017 co-authored by Turkmenistan:

  1. On the role of transport and transit corridors in ensuring international cooperation for sustainable development;
  2. Towards comprehensive cooperation among all modes of transport for promoting sustainable multimodal transit corridors; and   
  3. On strengthening the links between all modes of transport to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.           

These resolutions encourage the states to consider adopting energy efficiency and low carbon technologies when making improvements to transport and transit corridors. Thus, the sustainable, low-carbon and energy-efficient modes of transport will contribute to climate change mitigation and adaptation.

Held in Ashgabat in November 2016, the first UN Global Sustainable Transport Conference has become another significant milestone in intensifying international dialog on promoting sustainable transport and tackling climate change.

The global leaders, including heads of state and government, multilateral banks, private sector and civil society reaffirmed the fundamental role of sustainable transport in fostering social, economic and environmental development, its enabling power in supporting the achievement of the SDGs, and the necessity to focus on low-carbon-based-energy modes of transport.  

The Ashgabat Statement of Commitment provided a clear roadmap for the countries of the Caspian Region and beyond for the development of further cooperation in the transport sphere. The first step was made last year when the Caspian States signed an Agreement on cooperation in transport in the Caspian Sea, which aims at developing the Caspian Sea region as a large international transport hub with good infrastructure. In this regard, we commend the efforts of Turkmenistan in the implementation of the Ashgabat Statement and the decisions of the UN General Assembly on sustainable transport.

In the last three years since its adoption, Turkmenistan has commissioned the new international seaport able to process annually 17 million tons of cargo. We have also witnessed putting into operation of the multiple north-to-south and east-to-west railways running through Turkmenistan and bridges across the Amudarya River, high-speed motorways and modern airports. These projects have allowed Turkmenistan to expand the transit capacities of the country.

In terms of specific projects UN and the Turkmen partners jointly realize, I would like to mention the UNDP project on development of sustainable cities, which envisages realization of a set of activities to support sustainable transport in Ashgabat and in Avaza Resort. 

It includes development of e-maps and mobile applications for passengers; providing assistance in development of the national roadmap on the use of electric vehicles and hybrid cars, and construction of charging ports; installation of solar stations for electric vehicles in Avaza; introduction of “green” transport; and large-scale awareness raising campaigns. 

Let me conclude by inviting all partners to cooperate and share best practices for development of sustainable modes of transport and reduction of climate change impact.

Thank you for your attention.

UN entities involved in this initiative
United Nations Development Programme
United Nations Economic Commission for Europe
United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific
Other entities involved in this initiative
World Bank
World Bank