The eleventh session of the Committee on Transport represents a continuation of efforts made by the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) to complete the development of the Integrated Transport System in the Arab Mashreq (ITSAM) and follow up the implementation of its components in accordance with ESCWA resolution 279 (XXIV) of 11 May 2006, with a view to facilitating trade and transport between the countries of the region and achieving regional integration. At this session, progress made in that regard since the tenth session of the Committee, which was held in Beirut from 31 March to 2 April 2009, was reviewed.
The principal components of ITSAM comprise the following: (a) Agreement on International Roads in the Arab Mashreq; (b) priority routes M40 and M45; (c) Agreement on International Railways in the Arab Mashreq; (d) Memorandum of Understanding on Maritime Transport Cooperation in the Arab Mashreq;
(e) national committees for the facilitation of transport and trade; (f) road safety; (g) ITSAM methodological framework; (h) the related geographical information system; (i) multimodal transport; and (j) institutional frameworks and legislation.
The Agreement on International Roads in the Arab Mashreq was one of the first components of ITSAM. It was adopted on 10 May 2001 and entered into effect on 19 October 2003. Twelve ESCWA member countries have ratified it to date, namely Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the Sudan, the Syrian Arab Republic and Yemen. Implementation of the Agreement has begun in most of the ratifying countries. Other countries, which have not yet ratified it, are currently undertaking projects of rehabilitating inroads and linkages with neighboring countries in accordance with the roads and technical specifications used in the Agreement. Representatives of member countries participating in the session submited a written intervention on the progress achieved by their countries in implementing the Agreement, in accordance with the plan of action that was adopted for its implementation, especially with regard to the priority roads M40 and M45.
The implementation of the Agreement on International Railways in the Arab Mashreq is considered one of the major actions towards the implementation of ITSAM. It was adopted on 14 April 2003 and entered into force on 23 May 2005. Nine ESCWA member countries have ratified it to date, namely Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, the Sudan, the Syrian Arab Republic and Yemen. Implementation of the Agreement has begun in a number of countries, in accordance with the plan of action devised by ESCWA and adopted by the Committee on Transport. Representatives of member countries attending the session shall submit a written intervention on the progress achieved by their countries in implementing the Agreement, in accordance with the plan of action that was adopted by the Committee on Transport at its seventh session (Beirut, 17-19 April 2006).
The main topic of discussion, which was addressed in the first meeting of the session, was the second draft proposal for the establishment of a working group on the harmonization of institutional frameworks and legislation in the transport sector in the ESCWA region. The draft proposal was prepared by ESCWA pursuant to a recommendation made by the Committee on Transport at its tenth session. The first draft was discussed at the Expert Group Meeting on Transport and Trade Facilitation in the ESCWA region (Beirut, 7-8 December 2009). Member countries were invited to prepare their comments on the draft proposal in order to introduce the suggested amendments during the meetings of the session and subsequently adopt it in the recommendations. In that context, ESCWA presented two studies on the subject prepared by its consultants.
As at previous sessions of the Committee on Transport, participants reviewed the progress achieved in the field of transport since the tenth session of the Committee, including a follow-up on the implementation of recommendations made by the Committee at its tenth session and a follow-up on the implementation of transport-related activities under ESCWA programme of work, in addition to presenting the proposed strategic framework for the biennium 2012-2013 in the field of transport for discussion and comments.
Further information and details are available in the documents of the 11th session of transport committee here attached.