The importance of Sustainable Development has been highlighted by Non-Aligned Movement in its various communiqués as well as declarations. NAM Member States have reiterated their commitment to achieving sustainable development in an integrated and balanced manner of its three pillars: economic development, including sustained and inclusive growth, social development and protection of the environment.

An important aspect associated with sustainable development is the use of sustainable transport. According to the United Nations High Level Advisory Group, sustainable transport is defined as “the provision of services and infrastructure for the mobility of people and goods—advancing economic and social development to benefit today’s and future generations—in a manner that is safe, affordable, accessible, efficient, and resilient, while minimizing carbon and other emissions and environmental impacts.”

Association of South East Nations (ASEAN) has stepped up advancing sustainable transport in recognition of the fact that transport is a key enabler of social and economic development. The Kuala Lumpur Transport Strategic Plan (2016-2025) (KLTSP), has established a strategic goal that emphasizes the importance of instituting a harmonized approach for sustainable transport indicators. The Plan aims at ensuring a sustainable transport network, by formulating a regional policy framework to support sustainable transport, including low carbon modes of transport, integration of transport, and land use planning.

ASEAN has launched three important initiatives in this regard – The ASEAN Regional Strategy on Sustainable Land Transport, the ASEAN Fuel Economy Roadmap for the Transport Sector and Guidelines for Sustainable Land Transport Indicators. The ASEAN Transport Ministers adopted these regional guidance documents at their 24th Meeting in November 2018 in Bangkok, Thailand. These documents are the landmarks of ASEAN’s efforts in advancing sustainable transport in the region to improve energy efficiency and enhance climate change mitigation.

ASEAN Regional Strategy on Sustainable Land Transport provides ASEAN Member States with guidance to develop their national-level action plans and recommended actions to further intensify regional cooperation towards sustainable land transport. The recommendations and guidance are designed to help achieve the vision for ASEAN to advance towards a transport system that is equitable, efficient, safe and clean, which is in line with global sustainable development and climate change objectives and provides access to opportunities as well as fosters regional inclusive growth and development.

The ASEAN Fuel Economy Roadmap for Transport Sector 2018 – 2025 has the vision of transforming the ASEAN Light Duty Vehicles (LDVs) market to be more fuel-efficient. This Roadmap sets six aspirational goals and twelve recommended actions to help ASEAN in moving towards this vision, with the particular aim to reduce the average fuel consumption of new light-duty vehicles sold in ASEAN by 26% between 2015 and 2025.

The Guidelines for Sustainable Land Transport Indicators on Energy Efficiency and Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions in ASEAN present a set of 33 indicators that reflect the sustainability aspects of land transport. Such indicators are critical in measuring the impacts of sustainable land transport initiatives and in providing a better understanding of the underlying factors of sustainable land transport performance in ASEAN.

Thus, ASEAN envisages a long-term vision that links transport policy to the global and regional agendas on sustainable development and climate change. ASEAN calls for incorporating sustainable transport for national action plans with the following main guiding principles: 1) Sustainability as an organizing principle for transport policy and planning decisions; 2) Acknowledgement that transformational change is needed to reach long-term climate and sustainable development objectives; and 3) People-oriented transport planning, including offering a choice of modes.

Currently, ASEAN countries are using a variety of mid-term targets related to public transport, energy efficiency, energy security, etc. Many countries and cities are adopting targets for electric vehicles, with some phasing out conventional vehicle sales by 2030-2040. As part of efficient fuel economy policy, Viet Nam, Thailand and Singapore have introduced mandatory vehicle labelling. Singapore has restricted vehicle fleet growth to 0% per year.