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The connectivity between Asia and Europe is of global significance and is expected to continue.  As freight transport movement is based on trade flows, the relatedly high level of trade between Asia and Europe also implies a high level of freight transport demand between these two regions.  An efficient and sustainable connectivity that will enable an improved movement of goods and services between the EU and Asia will thus contribute to economic growth and jobs, as well as global competitiveness and trade.  

Sustainable transport connectivity between Asia and Europe is thus one of the thematic areas of work in the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific’s (ESCAP) Regional Action Programme for Sustainable Transport Connectivity in Asia and the Pacific (Phase I, 2017-2021).  Its main objective is to enhance transport connectivity between these two regions through initiatives on infrastructure development and the harmonization of technical standards, with the ultimate goal of creating an inter-regional coordination body that would synergize existing mandates, stimulate actions and benchmark progress to foster seamless, sustainable and resilient transport connectivity for passenger and freight. 

This report was prepared by the UNESCAP Transport Division as part of the project entitled “Connecting transport infrastructure networks in Asia and Europe in support of interregional sustainable transport connectivity”  and benefitted extensively from detailed substantive inputs courteously provided by the UNECE Sustainable Transport Division.

The report provides an overview of transport connectivity trends, existing challenge, as well as current initiatives, planning and institutional arrangements, regulations, and standards.  It also includes a section on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on transport connectivity between Asia and Europe, as well as relevant policy responses and recovery measures.  Lastly, suggested ways in for further enhancing transport connectivity between Asia and Europe through coordinated efforts, are also provided.

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