How to enhance economic connectivity in order to make Euro-Asian inland transport links (EATL) operational and commercially more attractive? These were the key questions discussed in the virtual consultations held by UNECE and the OSCE on 26 November.
The event brought together over 140 delegates from more than 30 countries across the Euro-Asian region engaged in transport corridor management. Representatives of Ministries of transport, trade, customs and border management authorities, infrastructure managers, operators and private sector practitioners managing freight flows, independent corridor management experts, researchers, and academia also attended.
Based on the findings of the Euro-Asian Transport Links project Phase III Report, participants shared information on existing inter-governmental and public-private sector stakeholder co-ordination mechanisms in the region and discussed options for expanding and strengthening them.
Vuk Žugić, Co-ordinator of OSCE Economic and Environmental Activities, emphasized the significance of the “Euro-Asian Transport Links project” for the economic connectivity and social stability of the region. “For its operationalization, not only technical know-how but also political will and co-operation is required,” said Žugić.
Žugić said that the OSCE remains committed to facilitate meaningful and inclusive dialogue, especially in improving the co-ordination and effectiveness of national and international efforts in addressing the remaining challenges for more effective Euro-Asian inland transport connectivity. “The Euro-Asian Transport Links corridors can play an instrumental role in improving the conditions for trade, leading ultimately to socioeconomic development and strengthening peace, security and stability in the region,” he said.
Yuwei Li, Director of UNECE’s Sustainable Transport Division stressed that: “UNECE`s EATL Project, launched in 2002, has contributed significantly towards making Euro-Asian inland transport a reality.”
Among others, the project has led to the identification of nine rail and nine road links, 17 water transport links, 52 inland river ports and 70 maritime ports. Over 300 infrastructure investment projects with a total cost of US$215 billion have been identified for prioritization. “While significant progress has been made in recent years, more action is needed to make the Euro-Asian inland transport networks truly operational and economically thriving,” said Li.
This event is part of a series of events co-organized by UNECE in the framework of EATL, and the Office of the Co-ordinator of OSCE Economic and Environmental Activities. The OSCE has been providing political and practical support to UNECE’s Euro-Asian Transport Links project since 2006.