Expert Group Meeting on Enhancing Rural Transport Connectivity to Regional and International Transport Networks

9 Jul 2019 to 10 Jul 2019
Bangkok, Thailand
By invitation only

It is widely recognized that rural transport can contribute to the reduction of poverty and improvement of living standards in rural areas, as well as the attainment of several Sustainable Development Goals. Today all governments in the Asia and Pacific region have rural transport programmes, with most emphasizing rural road network expansion and some also investing in inland water transport. However, not all rural road development programs deliver economic growth, nor reduce poverty significantly. The question is how to make investments in rural transport more beneficial for people living in rural areas.

To discuss this issue further, the secretariat organized an Expert Group Meeting on the theme of “Enhancing rural transport connectivity to regional and international transport networks” on 9 – 10 July 2019 in Bangkok. Representatives from selected ESCAP member countries, development organizations and resource persons gathered to share information about current rural transport policies and practices and to exchange ideas on ways to strengthen government capacities to plan and implement rural transport connectivity. In particular, the Meeting discussed different aspects of “vertical connectivity”, or how people and goods travel between rural areas, towns and cities. A simple conceptual framework was presented which breaks the transport system into infrastructure, services and nodes, operating at the micro, meso and macro levels (see the Background Document). By studying and strengthening the links between transport networks at different levels, responsible government agencies can design policies to help people in rural areas access socio-economic opportunities beyond their village boundaries.

The Outcome Document and the Presentations of the Meeting are given below.