Creating the Silk Super-Highway in Central Asia

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Noeleen Heyzer

Closer cooperation, economic integration and accelerated connectivity, are amongst the most important regional tools available to address persistent and emerging cross-border development challenges, the United Nations said in Bangkok, Friday at a meeting of the Council of Heads of Government of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).

A key focus of the meeting is to discuss the finalization and implementation of the Inter-Governmental Agreement on the Facilitation of International Road Transport.

The Agreement, once signed, is expected to open more than 15,000 km of Asian Highway routes for transport operation and services, with the longest route stretching more than 9,000 km from Saint Petersburg, Russian Federation to Lianyungang, China, and will also develop landlocked Central Asia's access to sea by road through China and the Russian Federation.

UN Under-Secretary-General and ESCAP Executive Secretary, Dr. Noeleen Heyzer said the Central Asian countries hold a key geographical location, acting as a land bridge between Europe and Asia, with their development critical to the future success of all of Asia.

She said "Together we can do more than revive the Silk Road," adding, "We can build a Silk Super-Highway; a corridor of economic prosperity and development progress, which can serve as a model of cooperation, and benefit some of our most remote and rural communities in Central Asia."

Dr. Heyzer explained that "Apart from opening thousands of kilometres of Asian Highway routes for transport operation and services, and developing road access for Central Asia to the coast, it will effectively jump-start the lifeblood of traffic along these critical arterial routes and feeder roads of the Silk Super-Highway through the heart of our region."

By providing essential links, transport can transform landlocked countries into 'land-linked' countries – helping to integrate them with regional and global production and supply chains.

Donn Bobb, United Nations.

Duration: 1’47″

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November 2017
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