The Executive Secretary of UNESCAP, Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana, and the Secretary General of OTIF, Bas Leermakers, signed a memorandum of understanding to develop rail transport in Asia, particularly south-east Asia. In this sub-region, most states are neither a party to COTIF nor the OSJD Convention.
Under the MoU, the parties intend to bring the Trans-Asian Railway Network into operation, to develop and apply the uniform law of COTIF, particularly railway contract law, carriage of dangerous goods law and the law on technical interoperability and safety, to improve the competitiveness of railways in the transport market, to promote use of digital technologies in all aspects of railway operations.
The two organisations will support the accession of interested ESCAP member countries to COTIF and will assist the member countries of the Parties in their efforts to develop railway transport through the implementation of joint projects or as requested by them on an ad hoc basis and depending on resources available.
ESCAP and OTIF have agreed to cooperate in the areas of mutual concern taking into account the recent surge in international intermodal transport between Asia and Europe as well as the role that efficient international railway transport can play in promoting sustainable transport development as part of the efforts of the international community to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.