Concept of the Regional Center for the Development of Transport and Communication Links under the auspices of the UN

For the countries of Central Asia, the transport and logistics sector is a strategic direction of development from a political, economic and geographical point of view. Therefore, the countries of the region are actively involved in the implementation of various projects, seeking to diversify their transport routes.

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the vulnerability of the regional transportation system to quick and efficient solutions to ensure the smooth movement of goods. Global and regional quarantine restrictions have led to the temporary closure of key transport corridors used to transport goods.

A number of countries, in most cases, adopted unilateral and protectionist measures, which led to a complete stop of cargo flows and slowdowns in some directions of their routes, in connection with which foreign traders had to look for new solutions and use alternative transport corridors, which led to an increase in costs for transportation.

In this regard, at present, the governments of the countries of the region are paying great attention to the development of effective strategies and solutions that will optimize transport costs in the implementation of international cargo transportation by improving the quality, safety and speed of freight and passenger traffic, developing infrastructure and implementing modern technologies.

One of the promising solutions is the initiative voiced by the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan during his speech at the 75th session of the UN General Assembly to create a Regional Center for the Development of Transport and Communication Relations within the framework of the UN Special Program for the Economies of Central Asia (SPECA) and the Program of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific Ocean (ESCAP), according to the press service of the MIFT.

This Center will be designed to facilitate the coordinated implementation of promising projects aimed at increasing the efficiency of using the transport and logistics potential and solving systemic problems that impede the further expansion of regional and international cargo transportation, which, in turn, will allow achieving accelerated economic growth and improving the welfare of the region.

Among the main tasks of the Center is the adoption of regional programs, projects and documents that are of strategic importance for the implementation of joint transport and logistics projects, which will allow integrating the region's transport network into a single transport system, joint development of projects and attraction of financing for their implementation, development of measures and proposals for the formation of new transport corridors and air routes, improvement of tariff policy mechanisms and simplification of customs regulation, digitalization of traffic management, harmonization of the regulatory framework in the field of transport and transit, cooperation in the field ecology, road safety, as well as training and retraining of specialists in the field of transport on the basis of uniform requirements.

The practical development of the concept of the Center is currently being carried out by experts and heads of specialized divisions of the Ministry of Investment and Foreign Trade of the Republic of Uzbekistan. It is planned that funds from international and regional financial institutions will be attracted to finance the activities of the Center, and its leadership will include the ministers of transport of the participating countries.

According to experts, the full use of the trade, economic, investment, transport and logistics potential of the countries of Central Asia and Afghanistan will make it possible to at least double the GDP of the countries of the region within 10 years, which justifies the urgency of creating the Center as an effective mechanism for sustainable development.

Among the prerequisites for the establishment of the Center, one can note the increasing number of ongoing and planned investment projects in the transport and logistics sector, as well as the fact that the governments of Central Asia and Afghanistan pay great attention to the adoption of systemic measures for the sustainable development of the transport industry through the modernization of infrastructure. construction of logistics centers and strengthening of intercountry communication links.