JAKARTA, 18 February 2021 – ASEAN Member States will have new tools to help them address issues related to road freight transport caused by the COVID-19 pandemic as part of the initiatives under the ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework. ASEAN has approved guidelines to support the response and recovery of road freight transport among its Member States in the context of the pandemic.
The guidelines will support Member States to develop national and regional plans that focus on resilient and sustainable road freight connectivity. They will provide recommendations for responses to the pandemic crisis in the three priority areas, namely:
(i) transport workers’ safety and training;
(ii) preserving connectivity for efficient and resilient supply chains; and
(iii) building back better through digital, resilient and decarbonised transport connectivity in immediate, medium and long-term framework to support the development of cross-border road freight transport in the region.
Specifically, the guidelines:
categorise policy responses to Covid-19 related to transport connectivity and resilience;
propose principles for the implementation of policies and measures;
suggest a communication mechanism for the timely exchange of relevant information, and
provide insights for the creation of a real-time monitoring tool to gauge the impact of policy interventions on transport connectivity, capacity and resilience.
Developed with the assistance of the International Transport Forum (ITF) and the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), the COVID-19 Recovery Guidelines for Resilient and Sustainable International Road Freight Transport Connectivity in ASEAN were approved ad-referendum by the ASEAN Senior Transport Officials Meeting (STOM) on 11 January 2021.
In response to the Guidelines, Secretary-General of ASEAN Dato Lim Jock Hoi said “the Guidelines support ASEAN’s efforts in improving the stability of road freight flows in the region toward longer-term resilience, preparedness, and competitiveness of ASEAN. They are also in line with the implementation of the ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework, which serves as the region’s coordinated exit strategy from the Covid-19 pandemic, particularly in restoring transport connectivity in the region. Cooperation with ITF and ESCAP in developing the Guidelines signifies the importance of collaboration to support the region’s recovery.”
On his part, the Chairman of STOM and Director-General, General Department of Logistics, Ministry of Public Works and Transport of Cambodia Chhieng Pich stated that, “the completion of the Guidelines is timely to support ASEAN Member States in establishing their regional and national road transport connectivity recovery plans from the Covid-19 pandemic’s disruption.
ASEAN’s cooperation in building back better the road freight transport in the region is important and ASEAN transport sector has taken a quick decision in responding to the crisis by developing the Guidelines. ASEAN transport sector welcomes collaboration from the relevant stakeholders to accelerate implementation of the Guidelines.”
Meanwhile, ITF Secretary-General Young Tae Kim said “I am proud of this important contribution the ITF is making to ensure the seamless flow of road freight in South-East Asia and helping ASEAN Member States build a more resilient and at the same time more sustainable transport future. The collaboration with the ASEAN Secretariat and UNESCAP on this project has been outstanding, and a shining example of how international cooperation can translate into positive impact on the lives of our citizens.”
In conclusion, ESCAP Executive Secretary Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana noted that “transport connectivity is now as vital as ever. While we commend the great efforts made by our region to keep freight flowing across borders during the pandemic, we remain acutely aware that more must be done for Asia and the Pacific to stay competitive and fully recover from the crisis. The ASEAN Guidelines pave the way to a more connected, resilient and sustainable future and ESCAP sees this ambitious initiative as one of the milestones in the region’s pandemic response.”
The Guidelines are part of the initiatives under the Implementation Plan of the ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework, which was adopted at the 37th ASEAN Summit in November 2020. The Guidelines are available online at: https://asean.org/storage/asean-covid-19-guidelines.pdf
Supporting disadvantaged women key to achieving SDGs in ASEAN
The study, which holds a gender lens up to each of the SDGs of the 2030 Agenda, confirms that when two or more forms of discrimination overlap, barriers increase
JAKARTA, 1 March 2021 – Women and girls across South-East Asia who are members of an ethnic minority, live in a rural location, or suffer from poverty are at greatest risk of being left behind despite the region’s recent progress in gender equality, according to a new report by ASEAN and UN Women.
Has Covid-19 prompted the Belt and Road Initiative to go green?
– Chinese overseas investment dropped off in 2020
– Government remains committed to the wide-ranging infrastructure programme
– Sustainability, health and digital to be the new cornerstones of the initiative
Following a year of coronavirus-related disruptions, China appears to be placing a greater focus on sustainable, digital and health-related projects in its flagship Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
As OBG outlined in April last year, the onset of Covid-19 prompted questions about the future direction of the BRI.
Launched in 2013, the BRI is an ambitious international initiative that aims to revive ancient Silk Road trade routes through large-scale infrastructure development.
By the start of 2020 some 2951 BRI-linked projects – valued at a total of $3.9trn – were planned or under way across the world.
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In June China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that 30-40% of BRI projects had been affected by the virus, while a further 20% had been “seriously affected”. Restrictions on the flow of Chinese workers and construction supplies were cited as factors behind project suspensions or slowdowns in Pakistan, Cambodia and Indonesia, among other countries.
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