Asian mayors gather to promote eco-sustainable transport
Mayors from 14 Asian nations met today in Kyoto , Japan to discuss how to
realize environmentally sustainable transport, as urbanization and motorization
are taking an increasingly faster pace in the region.
At the opening of the
Asian Mayor's Policy Dialogue for the Promotion of Environmentally Sustainable
Transport (EST) in Cities, Tomokatsu Kitagawa, parliamentary secretary of the
Japanese Environment Ministry, said "The quick economic advancement in Asia has
brought urbanization, motorization and heavier environmental burden."
been widely recognized that "cities must play an important role" in solving the
issues, Kitagawa said.
During the two-day meeting, 25 mayors from Japan,
South Korea, China, India, Thailand and other Asian nations, as well as
delegates from international and regional organizations are to hold discussions
on how to solve the environmental and social challenges in urban transportation
and share practices and information.
They are also expected to adopt a
declaration on the promotion of eco-friendly transport in Asian cities at the
close of the meeting.
Loh Ah Tuan, chairman of ASEAN Working Group on
Environmentally Sustainable Cities said in a keynote speech that though Asian
countries are on different stages of economic development, they all face
environmental problems such as air and water pollutions and solid waste
A goal of EST, Loh said, is to achieve "efficient, seamless
transport that also supports economic growth."
The International Energy
Agency estimates that by 2040, vehicles in Asia would surpass those in Europe
and North America. Therefore, efforts to enforce cleaner fuels and emission
standards would probably be offset by the rapid growth of automobiles in the
Choudhury Rudra Charan Mohanty, environment program coordinator of
the United Nations Center for Regional Development, said that Asia has sustained
losses due to poor transport management.
He noted that some 75,000 people
died each year in urban road accidents and 4.7 million were injured in ASEAN
countries, leading to losses of some US$15.1 billion, or 2.2 percent of regional
Efforts to promote EST in Asia started in recent years, with dialogues,
meetings and forums on the issue being held in past three years in the
Philippines, Vietnam, Japan, Indonesia and other places in Asia.
is co-organized by UN Center for Regional Development, ASEAN Working Group on
Environmentally Sustanable Cities, the Japanese Environment Ministry and the
Institute for Global Environmental Strategies.