UNESCAP's Transport Committee Drafts Regional Cooperation Framework for Facilitation of International Railway Transport
13 October 2014
A draft Regional Cooperation Framework for Facilitation of International Railway Transport was discussed at a regional meeting organized by the Transport Division of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) on 13-15 October 2014 in Bangkok, Thailand.
The framework—developed under the project 'Enhancing the Operationalization of the Trans-Asian Railway- Costing, Marketing, and Facilitation of Railway Services', with funding support by the Government of the Russian Federation—identifies key issues for cooperation in promoting international railway transport among the 16 member countries of the Trans-Asian Railway Network.
Representatives from the member countries, as well as officials from international, regional, and subregional organizations involved in promoting railway transport, participated in the meeting. Endorsement of the Framework for the Commission session in 2015 was recommended, through its submission in the Fourth Session of the Transport Committee held in 15-17 October 2014.
Developing railway connectivity is a key priority under the South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) transport sector. SASEC railway projects support the promotion of regional prosperity by improving the performance of the railway sector according to requirements of the Trans-Asian Railway network. To date, the Asian Development Bank, under the SASEC program, has financed 4 railway projects in Bangladesh and India with a total cost of US$ 1.18 billion. This includes investments for infrastructure upgrade and rehabilitation, sector policy reforms, and organizational and capacity building initiatives to develop energy-efficient, safe, reliable, affordable, and environment-friendly railway systems that will boost cross-border connectivity, widen access to regional markets, and strengthen regional cooperation.