|EST goes EAST|
A growing concern about the unsustainable transport development trends in Central and Eastern Europe was expressed in the 1997 "Declaration Towards Sustainable Transport in the CEI Countries", which was endorsed by the ministers of 16 countries from the region. The declaration recognised that the need to develop policies for sustainable transport was urgent and that a new approach was necessary, in particular one that placed environment and health issues high on the transport agenda to ensure the full integration of these considerations into the development of transport policy.
This was the backdrop against which the 'EST goes East initiative' was launched by OECD, UNEP and the Austrian Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management within the framework of the Central European Initiative. The project used the OECD-developed EST methodology, as well as previous research undertaken in the framework of the EST project, to map out strategies for achieving EST in the CEI region. As part of this project, a pilot study was undertaken by UNEP, OECD and the Austrian government in 1999, followed by a more comprehensive study in 2002 on applying EST in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe. An additional study was undertaken to identify the external costs of transport in the region, while this Clearing House was also developed as part of the overall EST goes EAST project.
Since the launch of the project, Central and Eastern Europe has continued to experience a significant increase in freight and passenger road traffic, while the use of the transport modes that are generally considered to be more sustainable has declined. Hence, the objectives of EST are still relevant, while the 'EST goes EAST Clearing House' still has an important role to play in facilitating the exchange of information, knowledge and experience about developing and implementing EST policies and approaches.