UN working group agrees on coordinated development of railway transport in Asia-Pacific

Bangkok (ESCAP news) – The Sixth Meeting of the Working Group on Trans-Asian Railway Network concluded today with transport officials and experts adopting several amendments to the intergovernmental agreement in line with the changing patterns and growing needs of intra and interregional trade and transport networks.

Since its entry into force in 2009, the Trans-Asian Railway Network is playing a pivotal role in the Asia-Pacific’s railway development by efficiently connecting national railway networks into a regional network, creating catalytic and synergetic effects for economic and social development among member countries and providing a foundational pillar for regional economic cooperation and integration.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development has provided a new window of opportunities to boost railway transport in Asia and the Pacific. Promoting railway transport has also become crucial to deal with several negative impacts of the transport sector in recent years such as high emissions, accidents, local pollution and road congestion.

“2019 marks the ten-year anniversary of the entry into force of the Intergovernmental Agreement Trans-Asian Railway Network and the year when the number of Contracting Parties reached twenty, with Turkey joining the Agreement. The Working Group on the Trans-Asian Railway Network remains a unique regional platform to identify opportunities for strengthening international railway transport in the region and build synergies with the Asian Highway network and the network of dry ports of international importance,” said Mr. Weimin Ren, Director, Transport Division, United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP).

At the two-day meeting, the Working Group also advanced discussions on electronic information exchange among railways and other stakeholders in the region. Harmonizing these initiatives has become imperative to avoid multiplicity and divergence in exchanging electronic information as it could undermine the seamless flow of information along international railway corridors, thus adversely affecting the competitiveness of railway transport.

Linkages of the Trans-Asian Railway Network with dry ports, seaports and operationalization of international rail-based transport corridors also received increasing attention from the railways of the region.

Key officials at the working group meeting included Mr Wolfgang Kupper, Secretary General, Intergovernmental Organization of International Carriage by Rail; Mr. Vasim Sorya, Under Secretary of State, Ministry of Public Works and Transport, Phnom Penh; Mr. Mikhail Vsevololozhskiy, Deputy Chairman, Committee for Organisation for Cooperation Between Railways; and Mr. Suhrob Sohibnazarov, Head of Railway Department, Ministry of Transport, Tajikistan.

For more information on the Trans-Asian Railway Network: https://www.unescap.org/our-work/transport/trans-asian-railway

For further information, please contact:
Ms. Kavita Sukanandan, Public Information Officer, Strategic Communications and Advocacy Section, ESCAP, T: (66) 2 288 1869 / E: [email protected]