An important approach to promoting sustainable and inclusive development for the Asia-Pacific region is to link transport infrastructure – thereby allowing countries to easily move goods by rail or road – and create much-needed social and economic opportunities. The United Nation’s Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) convened the second session of the Committee on Transport from 1 to 3 November at the United Nations Conference Centre in Bangkok to focus on this issue.
The committee reviewed the progress of the Asian Highway and the Trans-Asian Railway Network projects and addressed the issues about integrating the networks, enhancing capacity, improving efficiency and supporting regional integration. On the occasion the committee also considered the possibility of the Intergovernmental Agreement on Dry Ports along the Asian Highway and Trans-Asian Railway Network, as proposed by the Regional Expert Group.
The Regional Expert Group Meeting on Dry Ports along the Asian Highway and Trans-Asian Railway Networks was also convened in parallel to the session. Experts from the region discussed the institutional and regulatory, as well as the technical and operational issues related to the development of dry ports. The committee will particularly focus on the development of an intergovernmental agreement on dry ports, the consideration of transport issues including those of concern to archipelagic and island developing countries, as well as the strengthening of inter-subregional cooperation.
Over 100 participants representing 32 governments and 11 organisations participated in the session. UIC was represented by Mukul Saran Mathur, Head of UIC Asia Regional Office. The Committee on Transport session was inaugurated by Mr. Supoth Sublom, Permanent Secretary of Transport, representing H.E. Mr. Sophon Zaram, Thailand’s Minister of Transport. UIC stressed the importance of integrating the regional rail network and the need to develop inland container terminals. Contributions were also made for the development of the intergovernmental agreement on dry ports.