China, Mongolia and Russian Federation sign tripartite agreement on international road transport

A new era of trade cooperation between China, Mongolia and the Russian Federation was opened in Moscow on 8 December 2016, when the governments of the three countries signed the Intergovernmental Agreement on International Road Transport along the Asian Highway Network. By signing the Agreement, each country agreed to give the other two countries traffic rights for international road transport operation on the parts of Asian Highway routes AH3 and AH4 connecting their respective territories.

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Asia-Pacific transport ministers endorse regional roadmap for sustainable transport connectivity

A new five-year regional action programme for 2017-2021 to support member States in achieving transport infrastructure and operational connectivity was adopted at the Third Session of the Ministerial Conference on Transport held in Moscow last month. Transport ministers and senior government officials attending the Conference also exchanged views on emerging issues in developing sustainable transport connectivity, and discussed ways to make transport systems in the region integrated, safe, affordable, inclusive and environmentally sound.

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Asia-Pacific countries take collective action to advance official statistics for the 2030 Agenda

The Fifth Session of the Committee on Statistics agreed upon a comprehensive vision and multi-stakeholder action framework to strengthen the capacity of member States to effectively produce and use statistics for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Opening the Committee session on 14 December, UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of ESCAP, Dr. Shamshad Akhtar shared: “Eighty-eight of the global SDG indicators lack methodological guidelines or standards which requires the pooling together of ideas, experiences and resources within the statistical community for breakthroughs.”

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ESCAP launches new Statistical Database to support SDGs in Asia-Pacific

Quality data is critical for implementing the 2030 Agenda and ensuring that no one is left behind. Launched on 15 December, ESCAP’s new online Statistical Database presents data for 58 member States as well as a large number of country groupings relevant to support SDG analytical work and provide a regional perspective on development issues in Asia-Pacific. The Database also offers 350 statistical indicators organized into 16 key areas.

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Let youth drive development: Young advocates make ‘Case for Space’ in Asia-Pacific

Youth play an integral role in achieving the 2030 Agenda, emphasized Executive Secretary of ESCAP Dr. Shamshad Akhtar at the ‘Case4Space: Youth at the Heart of the SDGs’ forum. “We count on the bright, energetic, dynamic pool of youth across our vast and diverse region to help us in awareness-raising and advocacy of the sustainable development agenda and associated goals,” she said. The three-day forum was co-hosted by ESCAP, UNESCO, UNDP, UNFPA, Restless Development and Forum Asia.

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New ESCAP publication outlines good practices of accessibility in Asia-Pacific

Barrier-free access to information, communication, technology, transport and the broader built environment is paramount in upholding the rights of persons with disabilities, and in achieving the 2030 Agenda, highlights ESCAP’s publication Accessibility for All: Good Practices of Accessibility in Asia and the Pacific to Promote Disability-Inclusive Development. The publication seeks to support policymakers in promoting accessibility at a policy and practical level towards achieving broader development goals.

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Around the Region

Northeast Asian countries voice the need for multilateral dialogue and cooperation for power interconnection

Countries from Northeast Asia, some of the world’s largest energy consumers, confirmed the necessity for intergovernmental and multi-stakeholder platforms to support power interconnection in the sub-region at the Fourth Northeast Asia Energy Security Forum on 15 December. The Forum, co-hosted by ESCAP and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea, reviewed the existing proposals of power grid interconnections, and looked at spillover effects of power interconnection beyond the energy sector.

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Regional meeting highlights key Pacific priorities and responsibilities to address climate migration and displacement

“Climate change displacement and unplanned relocations are highly disruptive to livelihoods, culture and society and require proper, well-planned interventions to support people in their efforts to adapt to the challenges, particularly in securing access to decent livelihoods,” shared Tuvalu Prime Minister Enele Sosene Sopoanga in his keynote address at the Regional Meeting on Climate Change and Migration in the Pacific held in Fiji from 7 to 9 December.

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Policy dialogue brings South and Central Asia a step closer to seamless connectivity

Poorly developed transport links, and high transportation and transaction costs have sorely constrained intraregional trade and integration between South and Central Asia. On the sidelines of the Ministerial Conference in Moscow, senior transport officials from both subregions participated in a policy dialogue to discuss key challenges related to transport connectivity as well as assess the viability of land-based transport corridors over traditional maritime routes.

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LIFT dialogue calls for scaling-up successful technical and policy interventions for sustainable agricultural development in Myanmar’s Dry Zone

Opportunities for expanding successful technical and policy interventions towards achieving more rapid and sustainable development of the agriculture sector in Myanmar’s Dry Zone were highlighted at the two-day ‘Multi-stakeholder Dialogue on Scaling-up Interventions for Sustainable Agricultural Development in Myanmar’s Dry Zone’, organized by CAPSA, APCTT, CSAM and the Network Activities Group under a project funded by the Livelihoods and Food Security Trust Fund (LIFT). Participating stakeholders also adopted an Action Agenda to guide implementation of the successful interventions on a wider scale.

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Regional meeting of agricultural machinery experts, national policymakers establishes new standards to promote sustainable agriculture

The third session of the Asian and Pacific Network for Testing of Agricultural Machinery (ANTAM), held from 8 to 10 December in Sri Lanka, adopted the second version of ANTAM Codes and worked to identify regional needs to promote standards to support the use of safe, efficient and environmentally sound agricultural machinery. The ANTAM meeting also elected Sri Lanka as the new Chair and the Philippines as the Vice-Chair for 2017.

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Coming up at ESCAP

Fiftieth Session of the APTA Standing Committee
11 - 12 January 2017
Bangkok, Thailand
Fourth Session of the APTA Ministerial Council
13 January 2017
Bangkok, Thailand
Committee on Energy, First Session
17 - 19 January 2017
Bangkok, Thailand