In 2002, giving priority to the development of transit corridors, the five United Nations Regional Commissions, using funds made available from the UN Development Account (UNDA), launched a joint capacity-building project to develop inter-regional land and land-cum-sea transport links.
As applied to Europe-Asia links, the project has been called “Development of Euro-Asian Transport Linkages” and is implemented jointly by the UNECE and UNESCAP.
The project involves 19 nations (Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bulgaria, China, Georgia, Greece, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan), nine of which are landlocked countries.
At the four expert group meetings which took place in Almaty (March 2004), Odessa (November 2004), Istanbul (June 2005) and Thessaloniki (November 2006), government representatives of the above countries charted major Euro-Asian rail, road and inland waterway routes subject to consideration for the purposes of priority development and charted the main inter-modal junctions on those routes.
A large volume of data was collected as part of the project to create a GIS database (including data on technical specifications and capacity of major facilities forming rail, road and inland waterway infrastructure, border crossing points, ferry services, inter-modal terminals and ports along Euro-Asian routes) as well as relevant maps of key Euro-Asian routes.
The project also resulted in a common methodology to assess and prioritise projects in selected routes. This methodology was used to assess and prioritise 230 transport investment projects with an estimated worth of over US$ 43 billion. Funding has already been secured for around half of those projects which will most probably be implemented over the medium term.
The project also addressed non-physical barriers which pose a serious challenge for Euro-Asian transport. In the context of the project, national working meetings were organised in six of the participating countries, Azerbaijan (May 2006), Belarus (May 2007), Georgia (May 2006), Kyrgyzstan (December 2006), Moldova (November 2007) and Ukraine (December 2007), to address issues relating to capacity-building to facilitate international transport and trade. The participants in those working meetings included government agency officials and business representatives from beneficiary countries.
Based on the results of the project between 2003-2007, the UNECE and UNESCAP prepared a Joint Study on the Development of Euro-Asian Transport Linkages. This was published on the UNECE official website. The Euro-Asian Transport Links Ministerial Meeting which took place on 19 February 2008 in Geneva, Switzerland, within the framework of the 70th session of the UNECE Inland Transport Committee endorsed the continuation of the Joint UNECE/UNESCAP Project to Develop Euro-Asian Transport Linkages for the period up to 2011.
Identification and development of key road transport routes is one of the key components of the Joint UNECE/UNESCAP Project. The NELTI project is expected to demonstrate the actual relevance of individual Euro-Asian routes.
This map presents major Euro-Asian road transport routes identified within the framework of the Joint UNECE/UNESCAP Project.