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Sub-Regional EST Training Workshop-cum-Policy Dialogue in South Asia
26 Aug 2011 - 28 Aug 2011From the Third Forum in 2008, eight South Asian countries (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka) actively participated in the Forum and through their intergovernmental body, South Asia Co-operative Environment Programme (SACEP), they expressed strong interest to organize an EST training workshop at sub-regional level as well as country levels in order to build capacity to deal with environment and transport issues from a South Asian perspective, which was approved by the eleventh and twelfth Governing Council of SACEP. As the first phase of collaboration, UNCRD organized the first Sub-Regional Training Workshop-cum-Policy Dialogue in recognition of the importance of a sub-regional approach to address the increasing problems in the transport sector in South Asia, in collaboration with South Asia Co-operative Environment Programme (SACEP), Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC), and Ministry of the Environment of the Government of Japan (MOEJ) in Ahmedabad, India.
The city of Ahmedabad was chosen because it was the winner of the Sustainable Transport Award in 2010 due to its renowned successful BRTS (Bus Rapid Transit System), "JANMARG (The Peoplefs Way)". Therefore, in addition to two-day lecture and policy discussions, an excellent hands-on opportunity was provided for the participants from neighboring countries to have a half-day field trip to closely see how it looks and how the system is being operated.
- To foster a common understanding across South Asia on essential elements of EST as well as the need for an integrated approach
- To build capacity of key ministries and agencies in South Asian countries in promoting an integrated EST strategy to deal with a ranger of social, economic, and environmental issues in the transport sector
- To strengthen inter-ministerial coordination to effectively address multisectoral and crosscutting EST issues
- To mainstream the agreed upon Bangkok 2020 Declaration into overall transport policy, planning, and development as a recommended guideline
- To provide a knowledge platform among South Asian countries for sharing experiences and discussing various EST policy options and measures
The training workshop was attended by 54 participants including central governmental officials from the Ministries of Environment and Transport of the eight South Asian countries, representatives from international organizations, international experts in sustainable transport, officials from different municipalities in India, and professors and researchers from local universities in Ahmedabad.
The high level representatives from the central governments of the eight South Asian countries as well as municipal officials from different Indian cities not only strengthened their knowledge on major components of the integrated EST strategy such as land use and public transport planning, road safety, vehicular air pollution, non-motorized transport, intermediate public transport, social equity and gender issues in the transport sector, and transport demand management, but also improved their understanding on multisectoral and cross-cutting nature of the transport problems and solutions. Especially, in addition to the lecture and field trip of Ahmedabad BRT, two other BRT development cases in Hubli-Dharwad and Bangalore were presented and discussed among participants to understand a number of practical issues in promoting BRT as an increasingly popular mode of public transport in Asia.
The understanding on the linkage from the Bangkok 2020 Declaration to the EST training workshop in Ahmedabad and finally to the forthcoming Sixth EST Forum in Delhi was shared and participant were encouraged to contribute to the process through national and local efforts to promote environmentally sustainable transport.