United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP)
The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) was established in 1947 to promote the economic and social development of Asia and the Asia-Pacific region (APR).
UNESCAP’s headquarters are located in Bangkok, Thailand.
Pakistan’s Shamshad Akhtar has served as Executive Secretary of UNESCAP since February 2014.
UNESCAP has 53 members, each of which has the right to a casting vote. The Russian Federation and seven CIS countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan) are members. Nine territories in the Asia-Pacific Region enjoy associate Member status in the Commission and have a consultative vote.
UNESCAP’s highest body is the Session, which convenes annually usually in May. The annual sessions focus on the most important social and economic development problem , including the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals, the development of transport infrastructure, strengthening cooperation in trade and investment, the environment, energy, water resources, statistics, the exchange information and communication technologies and reducing the risk of disasters.
The Commission has eight dedicated committees:
- Committee on Macroeconomic Policy, Poverty Reduction and Financing for Development.
- Committee on Trade and Investment.
- Committee on Transport.
- Committee on Environment and Development.
- Committee on Information and Communications Technology;
- Committee on Disaster Risk Reduction.
- Committee on Social Development.
- Committee on Statistics.
Intergovernmental Agreement on the Trans-Asian Railway Network (TAR)
Over the past several years, Russian Railways has been involved in the development of the Intergovernmental Agreement on the Trans-Asian Railway Network (TAR) as part of UNESCAP. The Agreement reflects common interests in the creation of a land bridge connecting the Asia-Pacific with Europe and enables the use of the existing rail transport capacity to handle not only current, but also future traffic volumes as international trade expands.
Russia is actively involved in regional railway cooperation. The Trans-Siberian Railway is the backbone of the TAR network and serves as the main transit bridge connecting Europe and Asia. The railways of Russia that are part of the TAR network already meet the technical requirements. It is now the task of other internationally important to meet these requirements. Loading dimensions permissible axle load, brake systems etc. all meet the necessary requirements for the carriage of international freight. In many cases, there is a significant margin with regard to the standards set by the International Union of Railways (UIC). Russian Railways is carrying out a considerable amount of work to modernize and develop fixed infrastructure assets, primarily on the main lines in the network that coincide with the TAR network.
Intergovernmental Agreement on "dry ports"
In 2010 Russia initiated the development of an intergovernmental agreement on "dry ports." The draft agreement was developed by UNESCAP member states during a series of meetings funded by Russia and adopted at the Commission's 69th Sessionin Bangkok in May 2013. The agreement includes a list of logistics centres that operate on the TAR network, the range of services provided, through capacity etc.
Facilitating international transport procedures
The UNESCAP transport Division is working closely with its member countries, to simplify transport procedures. As part of this work, the UNESCAP Secretariat secretariat has established two integrated systems:
a) a system for simplifying transport operations;
b) a logistics system.
As part of the project, Russia initiated and funded the development of the Regional Framework Programme for the facilitation of international rail transport procedures. The resolution on the adoption of the strategy prepared by the Russian Federation was approved by the 71st session of UNESCAP in May 2015.
Russian Railways is also considering cooperation with the Commission as an important component in its activities line in the Asia-Pacific Region. The emphasis is on strengthening the Company’s positions in the Asia-Pacific Region, increasing its involvement in economic cooperation processes and using the opportunities afforded by UNESCAP to integrate Russia's railways into the global transport system.
Inland Transport Committee of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE ITC)
The Inland Transport Committee of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE ITC) regulates international cooperation in land transport between ECE member countries.
As part of its activities, the ITC is updating the UNECE’s conventions and agreements in the field of transport and is developing technical regulations and rules governing international freight and passenger transport by road, inland waterways and rail, as well as simplifying shipment conditions.
The work of the UNECE ITC is led by the UNECE Transport Division, which is headed by Ms. Eva Molnar.
Directive No. 908-r of the Government of the Russian Federation dated 26 May 2011 approved the interdepartmental division of responsibilities to ensure the participation of the Russian Federation in the activities of the UNECE and its subsidiary bodies. Under the Directive, Russian Railways has the authority to represent the government’s interests in this intergovernmental organization.
Russian Railways is thus the only company that, along with government representatives, is involvedin the development of a systemic transport policy in the European region within the framework of the UN. Not only does this increase the Company’s international standing, but it also strengthens the position of the Russian Federation at the UN’s largest regional platform.
Russian Railways experts take part in the following working bodies of the Inland Transport Committee (UNECE ITC) on a permanent basis:
- Working Group on Transport Trends and Economics (WP.5);
- Working Group on Rail Transport (SC.2);
- Working Group on Intermodal Transport and Logistics (WP.24);
- Working Groupon on the Transport of Dangerous Goods (WP.15);
- Working Group on Customs Questions affecting Transport (WP.30);
- Working Group on the Transport of Perishable Foodstuffs (WP.11);
- Expert Group on Eurasian transport links (WP.5/GE.2/EATL);
- Group of Experts towards Unified Railway Law (GEURL).