In order to benefit the Central Asia region by providing vital connections to foreign markets and by upgrading the existing infrastructures, the European Commission recognizes transport as a key sector for cooperation and supports the creation of a region-wide integrated system for transport in Central Asia.
Transport Corridor Europe – Caucasus – Asia (TRACECA)
The EC funds the Transport Corridor Europe – Caucasus – Asia Programme (TRACECA) to foster regional integration. EC assistance focuses on the progressive integration of the transport markets of Central Asian countries, as well as the gradual approximation with the EU’s legal framework and standards. In addition to an effective implementation of international agreements in the transport sector, regional projects and programmes include the improvement of rail and road safety as well as of air communications, aviation safety and air traffic management, maritime and aviation security to international standards and the improvement of inland waterway transport.
The Baku initiative, which started in 2004 following the Energy and Transport Ministerial Conferences organised in the presence of EU Member States, representatives of the European Commission and of the governments of the Caucasus and Central Asia States, provides a supportive framework to TRACECA programme and to the cooperation in the energy sector.
TRACECA is an ambitious interstate programme aimed at supporting the political and economic development in Black Sea Region, Caucasus and Central Asia by means of improvement of the international transport.
More information on TRACECA.
What is TRACECA?
The technical assistance programme for the development of the transport corridor between Europe and Asia across the Black Sea, the countries of the South Caucasus, the Caspian Sea and the Central Asian countries – the TRACECA programme – was launched in May 1993. Since then the EU has supported this programme with technical assistance with a total of almost €170 million for 80 projects, which since 2004 have mostly focused on transport safety and security, legal harmonisation initiatives, trade facilitation and institutional support.
TRACECA aims at supporting political and economic independence of the countries where it operates by enhancing their capacity to access European and World markets through alternative transport routes, encouraging further regional co-operation among the partner countries and increasingly being a catalyst to attract the support of International Financial Institutions (IFIs) and private investors.
On 16 June 2009 the Seventh Annual Meeting of the Intergovernmental Commission (IGC) TRACECA was held in the Kyrgyz Republic. Main issues of discussions were the state of play in 2008 of the Action Plan on Implementation of the IGC TRACECA Strategy on the Development of the Europe – the Caucasus – Asia Transport Corridor for the period up to 2015, the increase of the TRACECA corridor competitiveness and attraction of additional traffic flows, further prospects of the TRACECA development, and reforming the TRACECA structures in the context of the South-Eastern Axis development for the extension of the Trans-European Transport Networks to the neighbouring EU countries and the Central Asian countries.
In 2010 the First TRACECA Investment Forum was held in Brussels to discuss the establishment new synergies between European and international donors to finance transport infrastructure projects in the TRACECA corridors. It initiated a permanent dialogue between TRACECA countries, international donors and transport operators. High-level participants from the 12 TRACECA countries and beyond, the European Commission, banks and private investors moved forward transport projects. International financial institutions as World Bank, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, European Investment Bank and International Financial Corporation underlined their readiness to co-finance investment projects, which are mature and feasible and are the backbone of the TRACECA routes.
In 2012 the Second Transport Corridor Europe-Caucasus-Asia (TRACECA) Investment Forum brought together representatives of the international donor community and the countries in TRACECA to discuss potential funding for priority projects and to help attract investments into transport infrastructure between the EU and Central Asia. Twelve projects were presented at the Forum to potential donors and investors interested in logistics centres and road, rail, maritime and aviation transport. Improving the current border crossing procedures, which can hamper the smooth flow of goods and people, were also discussed.
How does it work?
The strategic framework of the Intergovernmental Commission (IGC) TRACECA comprises a number of pillars in order to achieve by 2015 the desired objective of delivering a sustainable, efficient and integrated multimodal transport system at both the EU and TRACECA levels:
- Assisting in the development of economic relations, trade and transport communications in Europe, Black Sea region and Asia
- Ensuring access to the world market of road, rail transport and commercial navigation
- Ensuring traffic security, cargo safety and environment protection
- Harmonization of transport policy and legal structure in the field of transport
- Creation of equal conditions of competition for transport operations
Following the conclusions reached at the EU-Caspian region Transport Ministerial Conference on 14 November 2004 in Baku, 4 expert working groups have been created
- Security in all modes of transport,
- Road and rail transport,
- Transport infrastructure.
At the occasion of the Second Ministerial Conference on transport Cooperation in May 2006, a fifth Working group on maritime transport has been created.
Who are the TRACECA partners?
In September 1998 at the historic Summit in Baku 12 TRACECA countries signed the “Basic Multilateral Agreement on International Transport for Development of the Europe-the Caucasus-Asia Corridor” (MLA) with the aim of implementing in full of their geopolitical and economic potentials. In 2009, the Islamic Republic of Iran joined to TRACECA.
Today the TRACECA route comprises the transport system of the 13 member-states of the “Basic Multilateral Agreement on International Transport for Development of the Europe-the Caucasus-Asia Corridor” (MLA TRACECA): Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Romania, Tajikistan, Turkey, Ukraine and Uzbekistan.
Where can I get further information?
Additional information may be found on the TRACECA website: http://www.traceca-org.org/en/home/.