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Case Study B.1: International Transport Forum 2009 - Leipzig, Germany, 26-29 May 2009

From 26-29 May 2009, Australia took part in the International Transport Forum in Leipzig, Germany. The forum brought together transport ministers, industry stakeholders and research representatives from more than 50 countries to discuss key issues relating to the discussion topic, 'Transport for a Global Economy: Challenges and Opportunities in the Downturn.' Australia and the United Kingdom co-chaired the task force which developed the program for the forum.

The Hon Anthony Albanese MP, the Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government, led the Australian delegation, meeting with various international counterparts during the three-day event.

The issues arising from the ministerial discussion underlined the value of:

  • Efficient global transport systems and sound investments - In maintaining a successful economy and social well being, and the way that investment in transport, if properly prioritised and designed, can contribute to sustainability objectives.
  • Maintaining progress towards open markets - It was noted that where markets have been opened to international patronage, there have been numerous gains to both the economies and the citizens of those markets. Delegates considered that this process should be continued, while ensuring equity for all parties involved and increasing quality, safety and environmental standards.
  • Addressing unintended environmental and social consequences of globalisation - Delegates concurred that agreement at the United Nations Climate Change Conference to be held in Copenhagen in December 2009 and within organisations such as the International Civil Aviation Organization had the potential to promote economically viable, sustainable, low-carbon transport.
  • Finding adequate funds for transport and prioritising scarce resources - While appreciating governments' responsibility in planning and financing aspects of transport infrastructure, the delegates also acknowledged the importance of private investment and public-private partnerships.
  • Reliable and secure supply chains - Delegates agreed that it was necessary to uphold coordinated and risk-based regulation so as to ensure that both economic and security benefits are accomplished in an equitable and fiscally viable way. An improvement in regulation of the crossing of borders has significant potential to increase efficiency and facilitate trade.

The ministers considered that the International Transport Forum provided an important forum to encourage more international cooperation, and that the current economic climate provided a unique opportunity to re assess existing strategies in order to stimulate development with the aim of creating a sustainable and more effective global transport system. It was also agreed that innovation was a key to success in this area and that as such it should be the central topic for the 2010 forum.

Minister Albanese at the Ministerial Session of the International Transport Forum 2009.

Minister Albanese at the Ministerial Session of the International Transport Forum 2009.

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