27 November 2010
Godavari, Kathmandu, Nepal
We, more than 50 representatives from universities, NGOs, national and international rural transport networks, transport specialists, from Nepal, Bhutan, Bolivia, Indonesia, Ethiopia, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, UK, USA and the Netherlands came together in Godavari to share, reflect and debate controversial issues that affect transport in mountain environments. We are deeply committed to the role that the sector plays in the fight against poverty.
We recognize that the transport systems, infrastructure, services and means required by and available to poor people in mountainous ecosystems may challenge our traditional perception of what are suitable and appropriate solutions. We have witnessed and commend the level of expertise that Nepal has on complementary technological solutions such as trail bridges, ropeways -including gravity ones-and trails which are essential in areas where access by roads is not economically and environmentally viable. Given the impact that such options can have on the lives and livelihoods of the poor, we encourage the Government of Nepal should support them on their own merit. Any technological options promoted should consider the necessary safety safeguards and maintenance required.
Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies dealing with infrastructure, in general, and (rural) roads in particular must synchronize their efforts. Any Sector Wide Approach (SWAp) of a Ministry must clearly define how it interacts with other government bodies also dealing with infrastructure. The current "isle approach" where each Institution operates as if the other does not exist affect negatively the effective use of limited public resources and must be avoided.
Based on the experiences from our countries we believe that the following Good Governance principles should be introduced:
a) With respect to sustainable road construction:
b) With respect to labour in transport infrastructure:
c) With respect to capacity building for people working and/or participating in transport infrastructure:
d) With respect to transport asset management:
We acknowledge the tensions between road infrastructure works and environmental protection. Thus it is very important to ensure that Environmental Impact Assessments and mitigation plans for environmental damage and biodiversity loss are comprehensive, well conceived and properly implemented. In view of increasing vehicle imports and the consequent air pollution, a favourable duty system for carbon emissions-free vehicles should be considered.
Nepal's environmental diversity is matched by an incredible rich cultural heritage. We would encourage the creation of an Agency -properly resourced and mandated-to monitor the proliferation of roads and prevent encroachment onto heritage trails, historic buildings and protected areas, especially considering that 2011 is Visit Nepal Year. If possible building roads through protected environmental and historical areas should be avoided.
We note that there are multifunctional uses of agricultural equipment including for transport purposes in rural mechanization. This highlights the need for rural transport policy to be seen in an integrated framework and not be separated from energy, roads, mechanization and other key national policies.
We are conscious that the isolation of people living in mountains exacerbates their poverty and the conditions of inequality they face in our societies. Thus, we endeavour to continue exchanging ideas, identify areas of potential collaboration and promote this important debate at national and international levels.
Therefore we commit ourselves to ensure the implementation of two comparative studies on labour conditions in transport infrastructure works and on community engagement in planning, implementing and monitoring different types of rural transport infrastructure in at least 10 countries worldwide. We will actively seek the collaboration of ILO for this purpose. We also commit ourselves to promote Nepal as a centre of excellence on mountain transport know-how.
Finally we want to express our sincere recognition for the warm welcome and keen interest that the Rt. Honourable Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal showed on this workshop. We also appreciate the special interest that the Ministry of Physical Planning and Works has shown and the presence of the Hon. Minister for Local Development at the outset of this event. We hope that the recommendations we have made will be useful and taken into account to ensure that transport interventions in mountain areas have the maximum benefit for poor and isolated communities.
Godavari, 27 November 2010
Transport in Mountains
An International Workshop
21-27 November 2010
49-51 East Road
Tel: +44(0) 207 7250 8323,
Fax: +44 (0) 207 7250 8322,
International Workshop on Transport in Mountains,
c/o Trail Bridge Support Unit/ Helvetas Nepal
Pulchowk, Lalitpur, Kathmandu.
Tel: +977-1-2111 225
Fax: +977-1-5526 829