United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development


Statement by Mr. Dhana Bahadur Tamang, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Physical
Infrastructure and Transport of the Government of Nepal
at the Plenary Session of the Global Sustainable Transport Conference
(Ashkhabad, Turkmenistan, 27 November 2016)
Mr. Chairman,
It is an honour for me to lead the Nepali delegation at this high-level conference on Global Sustainable
Transport, being held in this historic and beautiful city of Ashgabat. I would like to express gratitude to the
Government and people of Turkmenistan for the warm hospitality extended to me and my delegation and
for the excellent arrangements made for the conference. I sincerely appreciate the United Nations for
organizing this important event on sustainable transport, which my delegation believes will have significant
impact on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development.
Sustainable transport forms the bedrock of sustainable economic development and social progress, over
and above its direct contribution immensely to poverty reduction and delivery of vital services. A number
of Sustainable Development Goals are directly or indirectly linked to sustainable transport. The issues of
road safety, importance of resilient infrastructure, access to transport have been well incorporated under
respective SDGs. Also, numerous cross-cutting sectors of the SDGs have a direct bearing on the
development of sustainable transport.
It is my pleasure to share that Nepal has commenced the integration of SDGs into the national
development plan. In that backdrop and as a least developed, land-locked and a high-cost mountainous
economy, due mainly to the transport challenges it has to overcome, Nepal attached particular importance
to this Conference. We also appreciate the work of the United Nations towards making it a genuine success
for countries like Nepal as well.
Mr. Chairman,
As landlocked and mountainous country, Nepal attaches great importance to sustainable means of
transport. The difficult geographical terrain and landlockedness have rendered Nepal disadvantaged and
less competitive in terms of physical infrastructure. Consequently, the cost of development as well as
international trade has been much higher than the fellow countries with direct access to sea or favourable
geographical landscapes.
Notwithstanding these challenges, the country is striving for development and prosperity by overcoming in
the first place the most serious challenges of poverty, inaccessibility, hunger, disease and illiteracy that
have afflicted 27 million Nepali population.
Sustainable development without peace and stability is beyond imagination. A country that underwent a
decade-long conflict has now embarked upon the path to peace and development. Last year, a democratic
and people-centric Constitution was promulgated through the democratic and participatory process,
concluding the nationally-owned peace process. The next step is to institutionalise the hard-earned peace,
which is only possible through the rapid socioeconomic development.
Sustainable transport network is critical in Nepal's context. The interlinked nature of transport can make
positive impacts on every sphere of development, such as trade and transit, investment, tourism, as well as
on education, health, gender, and other social dimensions. The challenges facing Nepal at present relate to
quality construction of infrastructure, regular and quality maintenance, roads safety, and expansion of
multi-modal network of transport including in the remote areas.
The total length of the roads of strategic importance in Nepal has reached 15,000 kms, which provides
more than 90 percent of total transport services. The number of vehicles has increased to 2.3 million, which
is extremely high given the carrying capacity. At the same time, since the two-wheelers dominates the the
means of road transport the number of road accidents has escalated.
Air transport accounts for about 8 percent of the transportation services, while railway development has
not yet gained momentum. Despite some good potentials, water transport is still at the exploratory phase.
Nepal has encouraged private investments, nationally as well as internationally, for transport related
infrastructure building.
Mr. Chairman,
There exists a huge gap between development needs and resources available. The countries in special
situation are in need of an enhanced level of support and facilitation from the international community. My
delegation calls for the fulfillment of commitments made under global development agendas. Cross-border
transit facility for the landlocked countries has to be made more efficient and effective under bilateral,
regional and multilateral frameworks. There is equally important need for multilateral trading systems and
international financial institutions to accord higher priorities to the vulnerable countries. Nepal, as LDC,
LLDC, post-conflict and post-disaster country, deserves renewed focus in these contexts.
For the SDGs to be met within the timeline, we must draw on the experience of the Millennium
Development Goals. Despite mixed results, many countries lagged behind in absence of timely execution,
resources, and capacity building. As complementary sector and a target in itself, sustainable and quality
transport must receive the priority consideration from all stakeholders, including development partners
and the United Nations, for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Nepal is committed to work closely with the Member States for achieving the universal and comprehensive
Sustainable Development Goals, and will lend its full support to the initiatives under the aegis of the United
I thank you.