The High-Level 15th High-Level EST Forum (24-26 October, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)
The United Nations Centre for Regional Development of the Division for Sustainable Development Goals, United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNCRD-DSDG/UN DESA), in collaboration with the Ministry of Transport of the Government of Malaysia, Ministry of the Environment of the Government of Japan, the Asian Development Bank co-organized the High-level 15th Regional Environmentally Sustainable Transport (EST) Forum in Asia, 24-26 October 2023, with the theme of “Investing in Sustainable Transport: Catalyzing Economic and Social Development in the SDGs Era”. The Forum was attended by approximately 354 participants comprising of national and local government representatives, the UN and international organizations, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), individual experts and resource persons, scientific and research organizations, the private sector and other individual participants from 32 countries. As an integral part of the Forum, the first “Asia-Pacific Railways Summit 2023” was co-organized by UNCRD-DSDG/UN DESA and the International Union of Railways (UIC) on 23 October 2023 as a pre-event of the Forum. Among others, the Forum was addressed by H.E. Rt. Dato’ Sri Haji Fadillah bin Haji Yusof, Deputy Prime Minister of the Government of Malaysia, Mr. Li Junhua, Under-Secretary-General for UN DESA, H.E. Mr. Loke Siew Fook, Minister of Transport, Government of Malaysia, Mr. Mitsuya Maeda, Councillor, Minister's Secretariat Deputy Director-General, Environmental Management Bureau, Ministry of the Environment, Government of Japan, Mr. Kazushige Endo, Director of UNCRD-DSDG/UN DESA and Mr. Jamie Leather, Director of Transport, Asian Development Bank (ADB). The UN Under-Secretary-General Mr. Li Junhua, through his video message underscored, among others, the fact that nearly half of the SDG targets are moderately or severely off-track. The world needs an immediate course of correction. He encouraged the Forum to embark on inspiring solutions to deal with the climate crisis given that the transport sector is a major source of GHG emissions and that the consequences of climate change are threatening lives and livelihoods. He recognized the growing support towards the Aichi 2030 Declaration (2021-2030) which was adopted in 2021 in the Aichi Prefecture of Japan. The Asian EST Forum and the Aichi 2030 Declaration have laid a strong foundation for integrated policy consultations on climate change and sustainable development change for greater synergies. He appealed to the multilateral development banks and other donors to significantly scale up their funding towards implementing next-generation transport solutions.