Introduction to the 5th Meeting of Working Group on Trans-Asian Railway Network
||United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP)
||June 13 – June 14, 2017
||BEXCO Convention hall, Busan, Korea
The adoption of the “2030 Development Agenda” and the Sustainable Development Goals by the international community calls for the transport sector to be more environmentally friendly.
At this early stage in the realization of the 2030 Agenda, there appears to be a broad consensus that the provision of rail-based international intermodal corridors providing seamless and sustainable connectivity in support of Asia’s economic dynamism may offer a way forward to align the pursuit of economic growth with a wider distribution of prosperity and greater environmental protection.
Since the 2006 signing of the Intergovernmental Agreement on the Trans-Asian Railway Network in Busan, Republic of Korea, the Trans-Asian Railway network has already played a pivotal role in assisting member countries in improving intercountry and interregional transport links, in particular in addressing the specific transport challenges facing landlocked and transit developing countries. In addition, its potential and operational capabilities have been tested and recognized internationally through the successful launch of intercontinental block-train services along some of its routes.
This context opens up a new and exciting era of cooperation for the railways of the Asia-Pacific region to which the Trans-Asian Railway offers a platform to coordinate national projects within a wider framework of railway lines and services serving international trade across the ESCAP region as well as between Asia and Europe.
The network now comprises 117,500 km of railway lines serving 28 ESCAP member countries and provides a solid basis for a regional approach to the development of rail connectivity and logistics.
The Working Group on the Trans-Asian Railway, a sole intergovernmental body for the network, has met biennially since its establishment by ESCAP to consider proposals for amendments to the Intergovernmental Agreement and discuss policies and challenges in the development and operationalization of the Trans-Asian Railway. At its 5th meeting to be held in Busan on 13 and 14 June in conjunction with the 8th Korea Railways and Logistics Fair (Raillog Korea 2017) co-organized by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, the Busan Metropolitan City Government and the Korea Railroad Corporation from 14 to 17 June, the Working Group will benchmark current trends and innovations affecting the railway and logistics sectors worldwide, highlight ongoing initiatives and map out future development of the network.
As a major gateway to the Trans-Asian Railway network, Busan is an ideal place to stage the meeting of the Working Group and the Raillog Korea 2017 provides a perfect backdrop for its conduct.