Ministers from 20 nations ink Abu Dhabi Declaration

ABU DHABI — Ministers in charge of environment, health and transport in 20 developing countries pledged here yesterday political commitment of their countries to a set of measures aimed at ensuring economically viable transportation policies that take into consideration safety, health and environmental issues.

By Muawia E. Ibrahim

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Published: Thu 3 Feb 2005, 9:36 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 7:28 PM

Wrapping up their meeting on the sidelines of the International Conference on Sustainable Transportation in Developing Countries, which concluded yesterday, the ministers adopted the Abu Dhabi Declaration, which called for cleaner transport in their countries.

The declaration, prepared by UAE authorities in cooperation with a number of experts in the fields of environment, health and transport, was adopted with great difficulty following differences over oil-related issues, a close source who attended the closed-door closing session told Khaleej Times.

The scientific conference ran in parallel with the Environment-2005 Exhibition, which saw participation of 338 exhibitors from 41 countries. Both the events were co-organised by the General Exhibitions Corporation (GEC) and Environmental Research and Wildlife Development Agency (Erwda).

The declaration said in recent decades a number of important positive steps had been taken to develop and implement measures designed to address transportation issue at global, regional and national levels.

However, these steps require in-depth assessment and follow-up such as policy initiatives, programmes and projects, conference recommendations and declarations.

“We recognise that the integration of transportation sector-related safety, health and social and environmental issues into economically viable transportation policy is a requisite for sustainable development,” the declaration said.

The ministers pledged to work hard to implement all commitments adopted and endorsed by their leaders at the Rio Earth Summit 1992, the Millennium deceleration 2000, and the World Summit on Sustainable Development 2002, which have agreed through inter-governmental process related to sustainable development in general, and transportation in particular.

They re-emphasised the role of the United Nations and its organs as set out in the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation (JPOI), particularly implementation of recommendations related to transportation through the established priorities in the multi-year programme of work under the Commission for Sustainable Development.

The ministers promised their resolve to continue the high level political dialogue on transportation that began here in Abu Dhabi.

Earlier in the meeting, Hamad Abdul Rahman Al Midfa, Minister of Health and Chairman of the Federal Environmental Agency (FEA), stressed the need to develop sustainable transportation strategies and policies in the developing countries which he said suffered lack of financial and human resources which enabled them to implement these strategies without international support.

He said the Abu Dhabi Declaration was another positive step taken in recent decades at the international, regional and national levels.

He singled out the political commitment as one of the most important steps towards implementation of the declaration.

Of transport and terrorism

ABU DHABI — One of the interesting speeches was delivered by Lebanese Environment Minister Wiam Wahab who linked transport to terrorism.

“Sustainable transportation from the very outset has been subjected to hijacking which turned in a later stage to terrorism, using various means of transport. We all bitterly recall the worst human rights violations that were committed onboard — air, maritime and overland means of transport. Let’s go back to 9/11, Madrid trains and other events. History has also recorded even worst incidents but we forget very fast,” the minister said.

Speaking of terror, he said: “Let us also recall other forms of terrorism especially state terrorism committed by powerful countries against weaker ones. We should also remember extremism and ignorance of all forms.” The meeting was also addressed by Majid George Elias, Egyptian Minister of State for the Environment, and Muhammad Noman Saigal, advisor to chief minister of Sindh, Pakistan, on Environment and Alternative Energy.

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