UN and Governments call for strengthening transport connectivity in the SPECA region and beyond in the era of COVID-19
- Regional Dialogue “Strengthening transport connectivity in the SPECA region and beyond in the era of COVID-19” was convened today. The event facilitated an inclusive discussion aimed to coordinate the actions and plans on harmonization of international transport procedures and corridors to enhance connectivity in the SPECA region and beyond, especially at times of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The event brought together the representatives of ministries of transport, foreign affairs, economic development and railway authorities of countries that are part of the SPECA Programme, including Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan and beyond including Georgia, as well as the UN structures, including regional economic commissions, UN country offices, and International Financial Institutions. It was organized by the UNECE in collaboration with the UNESCAP, the UN Office of High Representative for least developed, landlocked and small island countries and the UN Development Coordination Office for Europe and Central Asia.
Ms. Olga Algayerova, Executive Secretary of UNECE,Ms. Fekitamoeloa ‘Utoikamanu, Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States, HE Mr. Rashid Meredov, Deputy Chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan, Ms. Gwi-Yeop Son, UN Development Coordination Office’s Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia and Mr. Pomoshchnikov, acting Head of UN ESCAP’s Sub-regional Office for North and Central spoke at the opening of the event.
Speakers of the event noted that the Covid-19 pandemic has negatively affected supply chains by increasing the cost and time of transportation of goods in all parts of the world, and in the SPECA countries, which are land locked. Participants also welcomed the active collaboration among the countries of SPECA region and swift actions they have taken to simplify border procedures and introduce digital solutions to ensure smooth transportation of essential goods, including medical items and food at times of pandemic.
“Today’s dialogue presents an excellent platform to exchange experiences on transport and supply chain disruptions at the peak of recent lockdowns and the actions the countries have been taking to overcome these challenges. It also helps coordinate our actions towards a more sustainable recovery in SPECA countries, particularly on transport connectivity agenda to ultimately better serve the people,” noted Ms. Gwi-Yeop Son, DCO Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia.
Harmonization of transport standards by joining the UN transport conventions, enhancing the use of digital solutions in transport and transit procedures, development of intermodal transport as well as continued coordination of transport development initiatives were noted as some of the key elements of post-pandemic sustainable development of transport connectivity in the SPECA region.
The Regional Dialogue resulted in the adoption of the conclusions with recommendations on follow-up actions related to improving transport connectivity in the SPECA region, which among other things called on further enhancing cooperation on transport connectivity agenda building on existing platforms such as the Ashgabat initiative on reducing barriers to trade and transport using United Nations legal instruments, norms, standards and recommendations while bolstering connectivity in the SPECA region, Vienna Programme of Action for Landlocked Developing Countries for the Decade 2014-2024 and others.
The Regional dialogue is a consistent follow-up to global and regional initiatives on transport and connectivity, including those initiated by Turkmenistan, and is expected to contribute to the preparations of the LLDC ministerial conference on transport connectivity as well as the 2nd Global Conference on transport in 2021.