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    Essential to transition from fossil fuel-based transport to energy-based transport systems

    October 2, 2023 - Sri Lanka Sunday Observer


      Sri Lanka, Oct. 1 -- Dr. Gunawardena was Sri Lanka's chief representative at the 2023 Global Sustainable Transport Forum. During the conference, Dr. Gunawardena delivered a keynote address in the session that focused on the theme "Promoting high-quality international infrastructure connectivity and promoting the development of regional economic connectivity"

      During the 2023 Global Sustainable Transport Forum held in China, Dr. Bandula Gunawardena, Minister of Transport, Highways, and Mass Media, raised critical issues that garnered special attention from international representatives.

      The 2023 Global Sustainable Transport Forum concluded successfully in Beijing, China. The conference featured more than 60 special guests, including representatives from the United Nations, various international organisations, and transportation ministers from multiple foreign countries.

      This year's conference, themed "Sustainable Transport - Working Together to Promote Global Development," encompassed a range of special programs.

      These programs comprised the opening ceremony, general assembly, representative meeting, and an exhibition featuring China's prominent construction companies. Additionally, a round table discussion involving transport ministers was a notable part of the event.

      Concurrently, the 15th China International Transport Technology and Equipment Exhibition (China TRANSPO) was also held as part of the event.

      Dr. Gunawardena was Sri Lanka's chief representative at the 2023 Global Sustainable Transport Forum. During the conference, Dr. Gunawardena delivered a keynote address in the session that focused on the theme "Promoting high-quality international infrastructure connectivity and promoting the development of regional economic connectivity."

      Special attention

      This session held particular significance within the conference agenda. The Minister's speech garnered special attention from representatives of international organisations and transport ministers from participating countries.

      It featured several distinctive and noteworthy points: The importance of coordination, cooperation, and active participation in regional development by enhancing the quality of the transportation sector; the significance of fostering positive international relations with organisations such as the UNDP, UNEP, and UNESCAP, as well as other relevant institutions;

      The need to transition from fossil fuel-dependent transportation to energy-based modes of transport, aligning with sustainable and environmentally friendly practices; the importance of developing policies and strategies in collaboration with international experts and the specialised organisations to address the evolving challenges in the transport sector effectively.

      The importance of digitising all services associated with the transport sector, emphasising the role of technology in enhancing efficiency and accessibility was also stressed by the Minister.

      The need to increase financing and investment opportunities, particularly for developing countries, to create a conducive environment for the modernisation of the transport sector was also highlighted.

      Dr. Gunawardena highlighted significant concerns related to the global energy crisis. He said that this crisis is not only affecting Sri Lanka but is also a pressing issue on a global scale. The challenges include limitations in crude oil availability, coal extraction and mining constraints, and the impact of Climate Change on hydropower generation, all of which contribute to the growing energy crisis worldwide.

      Minister Gunawardena said it was essential to address the energy crisis by transitioning from fossil fuel-based transportation to energy-based transport systems.

      It was necessary to harness renewable energy sources such as solar energy, wind energy, and wave energy, as well as promote the adoption of electric vehicles within the transport sector.

      This approach aligns with the imperative need to reduce reliance on fossil fuels and embrace sustainable and eco-friendly alternatives.

      Minister Gunawardena stressed the significance of prioritising various sectors, including new technology, research and development, advanced infrastructure, policy and legislation, as well as education and training.

      These priorities are essential for effectively implementing the principles of a "Green Economy" and "Green Transportation" he said.

      Dr. Gunawardena also addressed the issue of securing the required investments in Sri Lanka's road infrastructure and vehicle fleet sectors. He highlighted the challenges and needs associated with the transformation of Sri Lanka's conventional transportation systems into modern and sustainable transport systems.

      Dr. Gunawardena said it was important to pursue infrastructure projects such as the Light Rail Project (LRT) and expressway projects via public-private partnerships (PPP) and investment models such as Build-Own-Operate (BOO) and Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT).

      Financial support

      "It is important to get financial support from economically strong nations and donor . Such support is crucial for Sri Lanka to successfully implement these projects and address infrastructure development needs," Dr. Gunawardena said.

      Dr. Gunawardena participated in a special observation event hosted by China Communication Construction Company (CCCC) and China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC), two of Sri Lanka's prominent construction firms.

      The introduction of innovative technical construction design methods aimed at advancing the transport sector was presented by the heads of those institutions during the event.

      During the visit, the Minister engaged in several discussions with representatives of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce, as well as the directors of Yutong Bus Company, which exports luxury buses to Sri Lanka. These discussions centred around exploring potential investments in Sri Lanka's transportation and highway sectors. Published by HT Digital Content Services with permission from Sunday Observer (Sri Lanka). For any query with respect to this article or any other content requirement, please contact Editor at


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