Transport Challenges in 2009 71st annual session of the UNECE Inland Transport Committee
How will adverse credit conditions and declining growth rates impact transport services, production of vehicles and infrastructure investment?
This is just one of the questions being raised at the 71st annual session of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) Inland Transport Committee (ITC). High-level officials from the 56 UNECE member States, the European Commission, international and European transport organizations and non-governmental organizations will attend the session, assessing transport challenges and the role of UNECE in overcoming them.
According to ITC documentation, mid-term projections suggest transport infrastructure investment could be accelerated by Governments to avoid the liquidity trap. However, long-term effects of the crisis could entail a shift in public opinion on liberalized transport markets, with preferences moving towards nationalized services.
Global warming is another key topic on the ITC agenda. In a study entitled “Economic Aspects of Transport and Climate Change”, commissioned by UNECE, the author, Professor Werner Rothengatter, suggests that political pressure for more effective transport reduction policies will grow in the year ahead.
“[The transport] sector cannot be excluded from reduction policy with the arguments that mitigation measures might be more expensive compared with other sectors, or that the growth rates are so high, as observed in the road freight sector in the past,” says Mr. Rothengatter. “There are good reasons to postulate that in the industrialized countries, the transport sector can achieve similar percentages of reduction as the energy and industrial production sectors”
UNECE’s work to reduce pollution from transport is primarily focused in the World Forum for Harmonization of Vehicle Regulations which has developed the vehicle regulations that will become standard in the EU. In addition to this work, all ITC working parties address the adverse effects of transport, making it an integral part of their work programmes.
The Inland Transport Committee will also consider a new project to address both global warming and economic trends through the interaction of global supply chains and transport. Pairing supply chain management trends with transport challenges, it is hoped, will help transition economies tap into global markets more effectively, while at the same time reduce the harmful effects caused by transport.
Some of the other issues to be addressed at the 71st session of the Committee include inland transport security; developing Euro-Asian transport links; transport infrastructure agreements; border crossing facilitation; road traffic safety; vehicle regulations; transport of dangerous goods and perishable foodstuffs; promotion of sustainable transport; and operational activities/assistance to countries with economies in transition.
The Inland Transport Committee is the highest political body of the UNECE in the field of transport. Together with its subsidiary bodies, it has provided a pan-European intergovernmental forum over the last 60 years, where UNECE member countries negotiate the international legal instruments on inland transport. These legal instruments are considered indispensable for developing efficient, harmonized and integrated, safe and sustainable pan-European and Euro-Asian transport systems.
The 71st Annual Session of the ITC will take place in the Palais des Nations, conference room XII, from 24 February 2009, 10 a.m., to 26 February 2009, 6 p.m..
For additional information on the agenda of the session and background documentation, please visit: http://www.unece.org/trans/main/itc/itc.html
Mrs. Eva Molnar, Director
Mr. Michalis P. Adamantiadis, Secretary of the ITC
Transport and Infrastructure Development Section
UNECE Transport Division
Palais des Nations
CH – 1211 Geneva 10
Phone: +41(0)22 917 24 01