Efficient, safe transport system key to development: Experts

ISLAMABAD: Experts at a national conference have unanimously agreed that the provision of a decent, efficient, safe and affordable public transport system is a key to development and can have a positive effect on the peoples life and the emissions particularly GHG can be cut down significantly if vehicle technology is upgraded according to the set policy.

The two-day conference titled “Paving the Way for Sustainable Transport in Pakistan” has recently been held in Islamabad.

National and international experts gathered at the event to discuss and share best practices and experiences in sustainable transport, as well as to draw attention to increasing emissions.

This conference was organized by IUCN under the UNDP-GEF funded Pakistan Sustainable Transport (PAKSTRAN) Project being implemented by the Ministry of Water and Power.

On the occasion, the experts and stakeholders discussed and debated on various aspects of sustainable transport including climate change and emissions control, options for eco-friendly freight transport; and institutional mechanisms required to regulate the required actions.

The recommendations firmed up during the conference will be presented to the relevant authorities and policy makers for incorporating in the Pakistans Sustainable Transport Policy.

In his keynote address, former state minister for environment Malik Amin Aslam and global IUCN vice president said, “There is a need to focus on the link between the sustainable development goals (SDGs) and the transport sector, which contributed more to climate change and environment both at regional and global levels than any other sector.”

He disclosed that Pakistan loses one percent of its GDP owing to pollution and the major portion of it comes from the transport sector.

He assured the participants that the recommendations of the conference would be incorporated into Pakistans Climate Change policy.

UNDP Assistant Country Director Ammanullah said that PAKSTRAN is a commendable initiative of the UNDP – Global Environmental Facility (GEF), which provides technical support to the government of Pakistan.

“It has helped in bringing the important topic of mass transit and sustainable transport to the forefront of todays challenges,” he added.

Dr. Saleem Janjua, National Project Manager PAKSTRAN, explained that the project was providing technical support to government by focusing on the critical challenges being encountered by the transport sector.

“Pakistan is an extremely low contributor to climate change, emitting even less than one percent of global greenhouse emissions, but remains one of the worst victims of climate impacts,” he added.

He maintained that the PAKSTRAN can contribute through activities like todays conference, and targeted research that will expand the existing knowledge base, and look into the transport fuel efficiency issues by assisting in preparing GHG emissions baselines.

Hassan Nasir Jamy, Additional Secretary Water and Power/National Project Director of PAKSTRAN Project, who was the chief guest of the occasion, said that the government is well aware of its international commitments for the sustainable development at national level and implementation of Bus Rapid System in four cities along with other energy efficient projects.

In his remarks, Mahmood Hasan, Chief Operating Superintendent, Pakistan Railways, said that Pakistan Railways is the most suitable for bulk and long haulage. He said that it is continuously improving its revenue generation by 40 per cent for the last three years.

The experts included Prof. ChaeIlkwon, Mahboob Elahi, Mahmood Hasan, Dr. Badar Ghauri, Dr. Noman Ahmed, Faela Sufa, Sameer Hoodbhoy, Syed Shabih-ul-Hassan Zaidi, Qazi Mohammad Omer, Dr. Muhammad Imran, Shahbaz Latif Mirza, Prof. Dr. Tanvir Iqbal Qayyum, Dr. Irfan, Khizer F. Omer, Arif Pervaiz, Ashar Hashmat Lodi, ShahidLutfi, Dr. Adnan, Dr. Farrukh Arif, Dr. Uneb Gazdar and Dr. Zeeshan Ali Khan.

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