UN gathered ideas on financing highway infrastructure
and road safety
A meeting on how to finance highway infrastructure and improve road safety was held by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) on 8-10 May 2006 in Bangkok.
The Asian Highway network comprises of more than 141,000 kilometres of standardized roadways spanning 32 Asian countries with linkages to Europe.
Currently about 22,000 kilometres or 16 per cent of the network do not meet the minimum desirable standards. It is estimated that around US$25 billion of investment is already committed for its development and upgrading. However, there is still a shortfall of US$18 billion required to improve the priority sections to the agreed standards, UNESCAP Executive Secretary Mr. Kim Hak-Su said.
The transport officials participating this expert group meeting discussed on both public and private sector participation in the financing for the road sector including institutional arrangements. They also reviewed national status, existing policy and analyze the trend in road accidents, with Asian Highway routes in particular, in this region.
In 2005, at least 440,000 persons were killed and more than two millions were injured in road accidents in this region. The economic cost is estimated to be in the range of one to three percent relative to the GDP of UNESCAP countries. The UNESCAP Secretariat estimates that, by 2020, about two thirds of the world’s road deaths (or 610,000) might be in the Asia-Pacific region.
The result of the meeting will feed into a ministerial declaration on improving road safety in the Asia Pacific region to be considered by the Ministerial Conference on Transport slated for November in Busan, Republic of Korea. The proposed ministerial declaration might contain specific regional and national goals and targets.
The participants shared regional experiences and lessons among member countries and other relevant organizations in financing development, maintenance and upgrading of highway infrastructure and improving road safety.
The Intergovernmental Agreement on the Asian Highway Network, which entered into force on 4 July 2005, stipulates that parties shall meet the classification and design standards described by the agreement and give full consideration to issues of road safety.
As of now the Agreement is signed by 28 member states of which 19 are Parties.
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