President of Russia Vladimir Putin: President Xi Jinping, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, ladies and gentlemen,
First of all, I would like to thank the PRC President and our Chinese partners for organising the Second UN Global Sustainable Transport Conference. This is the culmination of Secretary-General Guterres’ idea of regularly discussing the development of international transport under UN auspices.
It comes at a critical moment given the importance of effectively adapting the transport sector to handling the constantly growing global demand for goods and services, environmental requirements linked with the transition to clean fuel, and the challenges of combating acts of terrorism, smuggling and transport-related crime in general.
As of late, this work is being complicated by the COVID-19 pandemic and the introduction of tougher safety and health standards. I believe that everyone agrees that the matters regarding international freight and passenger traffic that have been discussed can and should be addressed and resolved only on the basis of cooperation and interaction between all concerned states.
I would like to use this opportunity to inform you that Russia is doing a lot to upgrade and expand its transport infrastructure and to ensure its stability and development. Considering the vast territory of Russia and its challenging climatic conditions, this work calls for a systemic approach and substantial investment. With this in mind, we have adopted an entire series of national programmes for all transport sectors.
For example, we are implementing a major national project to develop and expand motorways. At the same time, we prioritise the overhauling and building of new thoroughfares linking Russia’s major industrial centres and economic agglomerations, including those making it possible to directly link Asian markets with European consumers.
We are upgrading railway infrastructure, including the trans-Siberian and Baikal-Amur mainlines, so as to expand opportunities for container traffic and to increase the overall capacity of Russia’s trans-continental railways.
Russia traditionally devotes special attention to aviation that is often the only link guaranteeing access to remote regions. Therefore, we are doing much to support regional and local air service, primarily for the benefit of the residents of the polar regions and the Far East.
In 2021, we will invest $255 million in aviation and subsidise 417 regional domestic routes. Russia is also upgrading the airfield infrastructure of over 60 airports, including aviation facilities of the Far Eastern Federal District.
I would like to recall that Russia is successfully transporting cargoes along a unique route – the Northern Sea Route. Its role is continuously growing amid the changing climate, the rapid industrial growth of the Asia-Pacific Region and the need to ship goods from East to West and vice versa along the shortest, most cost-effective routes.
We intend to increase freight traffic along the entire 10,500 km Northern Sea Route multiple times over, build infrastructure, including for reliable communications and navigation, and promote port development. We are also working hard to develop the nuclear-powered icebreaking fleet of Russia.
In the process, we are inviting all interested partners, including our Chinese friends, to use more actively the opportunities of the Northern Sea Route for expanding trade transactions with Europe.
I would like to note that Russia is focused on introducing modern digital technology in transport, expanded use of e-services and artificial intelligence, as well as drones and highly automated transport systems. Starting on January 1, 2022, we will introduce a system of electronic shipping documents in automobile transport, which will allow us to save considerable money, reduce costs and ultimately lower the final price of goods.
I consider it our common task to do all we can to make the best use of these new technological opportunities, to benefit people and promote economic growth, international ties and cooperation.
One more acute problem that directly concerns the agenda of this conference has to do with the need to ensure transport safety. Over a million people are killed and tens of millions are injured in traffic accidents alone throughout the world every year.
I would like to recall that Russia initiated the inclusion of this serious topic in the UN agenda. We urge all interested countries to actively participate in the Russia-proposed high-level General Assembly session on road traffic safety in 2022.
In conclusion, I would like to express my confidence that this conference will become an example of true partnership, of open and constructive dialogue, and will make a tangible contribution to ensuring sustainable global development.
I wish the participants success and all the best.
Thank you for your attention.