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Commission staff working document - Follow-up to the 14th OSCE Economic Forum (Vienna, 23-24 January 2006 and Prague, 22-24 May 2006) on “Transportation in the OSCE area : Secure transportation networks and transport developments to enhance regional economic cooperation and stability” /* SEC/2006/1031 */


Brussels, 18.7.2006

SEC(2006) 1031


Follow-up to the 14th OSCE Economic Forum (Vienna, 23-24 January 2006 and Prague, 22-24 May 2006) on “Transportation in the OSCE area: Secure transportation networks and transport developments to enhance regional economic cooperation and stability”



1 A specific OSCE Ministerial Decision on long-term cooperation between the UNECE and the OSCE in the field of transport. 4

2. Pilot project on the International Convention on the Harmonization of Frontier Controls of Goods of 21 October 1982. 4

3. Eurasian links and Trans-European Motorways (TEM) and Trans-European Railways (TER) 5

4. Long-term OSCE dialogue on transport issues 5

5. Landlocked developing countries in the OSCE area 6

6. Good Governance in transport 6

7. Transport security 7

8. Transport and Environment 8


Follow-up to the 14 th OSCE Economic Forum (Vienna, 23-24 January 2006 and Prague, 22-24 May 2006) on “Transportation in the OSCE area: Secure transportation networks and transport developments to enhance regional economic cooperation and stability”


The main subject of the 14th Economic forum of the OSCE was “Transportation in the OSCE area: Secure transportation networks and transport developments to enhance regional economic co-operation and stability”. This subject was discussed at the first part of the Economic Forum in Vienna (23-24 January 2006) and at its second part in Prague (22-24 May 2006). Each part was preceded by a preparatory conference (respectively in Dushanbe, 7-8 November 2005, and Baku, 16-17 March 2006). Extensive summaries have been provided by the OSCE secretariat of the Dushanbe, Vienna and Baku meetings (cf. documents SEC.GAL/233/05, EF.GAL/6/06, SEC.GAL/59/06/Corr.3), while a summary of the proceedings of the Prague meeting is being prepared. Because the Prague meeting brought presentations and discussions which were to a large extent similar to the ones held during the earlier meetings, there seems no need to summarise in this paper the presentations during the Prague meeting.

The 14h Economic Forum was held against the background of the decision of the OSCE Ministerial Council in Ljubljana of December 2005 to enhance the effectiveness and role of the OSCE and to rebalance the three dimensions of the organisation. Consequently the 2006 Belgian Chairmanship of the OSCE has engaged itself with much enthusiasm, ambition and energy to accomplish this task of enhancement and rebalancing. As far as the Economic and Environmental Dimension (EED) is concerned, there has been a general recognition and appreciation of all participating States for the efforts so far of the Belgian Chairmanship to enhance this dimension.

During the closing session of the 14th Economic Forum, the Belgian senator Pierre Chevalier, special envoy of the OSCE 2006 Chairman in Office, the Belgian Minister of Foreign Affairs Karel de Gucht, presented summary conclusions and policy recommendations in the field of transportation (cf. document EF.DEL/66/06). The Belgian Chairmanship has indicated, inter alia during the 59th meeting on 9 June 2006 of the Economic and Environmental Sub-Committee (EESC) of the Permanent Council of the OSCE, that it will present more concrete proposals on future OSCE transportation activities to the Permanent Committee (composed of the Ambassadors of the OSCE participating States) with a view to final decision by the Permanent Committee and/or the Ministerial Council in Brussels in December 2006. The OSCE Sub-Committee on Economic and Environmental matters (EESC) will be involved in the discussion of such proposals.

The purpose of this working paper of the Commission services is to assist in defining EU positions on further OSCE activities in the transportation field envisaged by the Belgian OSCE Chairmanship.


The purpose of such a decision would be to give the OSCE a permanent role in respect of UNECE’s transport and trade facilitation activities. The OSCE role should consist in giving political support and using its field presences to provide training and monitoring capacities.

There exists already a Memorandum of Understanding between the UNECE and OSCE which defines the cooperation between the two organisations. It is not yet clear what a specific OSCE Ministerial Decision on UNECE and OSCE cooperation in the field of transport would add usefully to this memorandum.

The OSCE Office of the Coordinator for Economic and Environmental Activities (OCEEA) should provide specific information on the expertise on transport and trade facilitation matters that is available in the Office and the Field Presences.

Recommended EU position:

For determining the possible role of OSCE field presences to be(come) active in the monitoring of and assistance to the implementation of UNECE conventions in the field of transport and trade facilitation, it is necessary to wait for the results of the UNECE/OSCE pilot project (see below).

A fortiori, it is too early for taking general decisions on UNECE/OSCE cooperation in the field of transport and trade facilitation.


In accordance with the agreement reached in the Executive Committee of the UNECE on 6 April 2006, the Transport Division of UNECE has sent out a questionnaire regarding the International Convention on the Harmonization of Frontier Control of Goods (1982), with a view to identifying the actual implementation of the measures foreseen in the Convention, problems encountered in the implementation as well as required capacity building measures (letter of 21 April 2006, ref.: ECE/TRAN/085/2006/L). Cooperation with this survey will be on a voluntary basis. The answers to the questionnaire may enable the launching of a programme of technical assistance, in which the OSCE possibly could play a role.

The Transport Division of the UNECE requested replies before 20 May 2006. During the 2nd part of the OSCE Economic Forum (21-23 May) the head of the division, Mr. Capel Ferrer, stated that only a limited number of replies had been received before that date, and that none of the replies had mentioned the need for technical assistance.

The Convention selected by the UNECE Transport Division may not necessarily be the most important one for all OSCE participating States. There may be other UNECE conventions that also pose difficulties with ratification and/or implementation, and to which a higher priority is being given by some of these states. As an example, the EU has decided to provide technical assistance, on their request, to a number of Central Asian partners to enable them to comply with UNECE conventions regarding the transport of perishable goods.

Recommended EU position

The EU is interested in the ratification and implementation of the said 1982 convention and can support in principle efforts to increase the number of ratifications as well as assistance for its proper implementation .

In case specific requests will be put forward to the UNECE for technical assistance in the implementation of the Convention on the Harmonization of Frontier Control of Goods, the EU should give a favourable consideration to such requests.

Where the OSCE can make a good case that its involvement in such technical assistance may add value or decrease costs (for instance through use of existing infrastructure of OSCE field presences), the EU should agree to such OSCE involvement. Alternatively the EU may deal with such requests under its own bilateral assistance programmes or through the UNECE technical assistance fund.


The Belgian OSCE Chairmanship sees a possible role for the OSCE in generating political consensus among the OSCE participating States for these networks.

Recommended EU position

The EU could support an eventual OSCE Ministerial Declaration or Decision to support the said networks.

There is however no need for financial involvement of the OSCE.


The OSCE Strategy Document for the Economic and Environmental Dimension adopted in Maastricht in 2003 states:

“We encourage the development of transport networks in the OSCE region which are efficient and integrated, free of avoidable safety and security risks and sensitive to the environment.

In this regard, we will give high priority to the uninterrupted operation of the existing transport corridors and to construction of new ones, where this can be economically justified.”

The Belgian OSCE Chairmanship has expressed its opinion that these paragraphs of the OSCE Strategy Document could form the basis for a continuous dialogue on transport issues within the OSCE, that is, beyond the 14th Economic Forum. It suggests a progress review in the framework of a future Economic forum or organizing review conferences.

A review of all commitments of the OSCE participating States, as laid down inter alia in the said Strategy Document, is a standard practice of the yearly Economic Forum. As such the commitment in the field of transport can and will be reviewed on a yearly basis. Of course, any future Chairmanship may propose and the OSCE may agree, to dedicate another Economic Forum to transport issues in the (near) future.

Recommended EU position :

There seems no need to create a special OSCE review mechanism of transport issues, but where circumstances would so warrant, special attention could be given to the transport sector within the framework of the annual review of OSCE commitments.


The Belgian OSCE Chairmanship proposes that the OSCE should lend political and practical support to the implementation of the United Nations Almaty Programme of Action It should also develop means of cooperation with the competent UN High Representative in the framework of the mid-term review of the Programme, due possibly in 2008. The OSCE should also organise the transit conference which Tajikistan is willing to host in 2007.

Whereas all EU MS and the EC itself have already subscribed to the Almaty Programme of Action, not much added value (neither much harm) seems to lie in political support by the OSCE as such.

Unclear is what is meant by practical support. From the side of the Chairmanship it has been suggested that this could mean that the OSCE secretariat should involve itself in developing indicators to monitor the progress in the implementation of the Almaty Programme of Action.

As to the offer of Tajikistan to host in 2007 a conference under the auspices of the OSCE on “the prospects for development of trans-Asian and Eurasian transit transportation through Central Asia till the year 2015” it is too early to judge if such a conference should take place. And even if so, an involvement of the OSCE in organising such a conference seems not opportune at first sight.

Recommended EU position:

In view of the lack of OSCE expertise regarding the development of indicators to measure the implementation of the Almaty Programme of Action, this role should be left to organisations with clear expertise, such as the UNECE and ESCAP, which anyhow as UN regional commissions have to play their role in the implementation of this UN action programme.

The issue of transit transportation, and therefore the organisation of a conference thereon, should be left to the most competent, interested and involved international organisations and states.


Under this heading the Belgian OSCE Chairmanship proposes that the OSCE should get involved in capacity-building activities in its participating States to support the implementation of the Framework of Standards to Secure and Facilitate Global Trade as agreed upon within the World Customs Organisation..

It also thinks that the OSCE’s Border Security and Management Concept can be applied to improve governance at the borders in respect of transport of goods and persons and trade facilitation. The OSCE’s Border Security and Management concept (as laid down in document OSCE MC.DOC/2/05 of 6 December 2005) provides a general framework for OSCE’s activities in border management, including in the field of international transport. Said document also clearly states that complementarity, comparative advantage and added value should guide the external cooperation of the OSCE with international organisations and partners.

The Belgian OSCE Chairmanship also supports the organisation by the OSCE of round tables, notably in Central Asia, where the business community can discuss with the proper authorities the need for transparency and elimination of corruption in the field of transport.

Recommended EU position:

With respect to the OSCE involvement in capacity-building in respect of the said WCO Framework, the same approach as with respect to the UNECE’s pilot project could be taken: a clear need to be indicated by a participating State, the availability of expertise within the OSCE Secretariat or Field Presences, and added value as to what the WCO or multilateral or bilateral donors can provide in terms of technical assistance.

Any proposals as to concrete OSCE activities in transport matters should therefore be judged, inter alia, on the ir complementarity, comparative advantage and added value.

These criteria should also apply with respect to the organisation of said round-tables. Before deciding on a range of round-tables, it may be wise to start with a pilot-project, and base decisions on other round tables on the experiences gained with the pilot-project.


According to the Belgian OSCE Chairmanship the Economic Forum showed that there is a need for more coordination and exchange of best practices regarding transport security issues. The recently held OSCE workshop on urban transport security was a perfect illustration of this need.

Therefore the OSCE should organise a yearly stocktaking meeting on transport security to identify evolving challenges and opportunities in all or in selective transportation modes. Alternatively a (permanent) working group could be established.

The proposal for a yearly stocktaking met with explicit support from the USA and the Russian Federation. However, it was not clear of this support was based on clear instructions from the respective capitals. The EU as such did not comment on this idea in its closing statement.

Although security issues are clearly falling within the mandate of the OSCE, it is also clear that in the field of maritime and air transport notably the IMO and ICAO are dealing adequately with the maritime and air transport security issues. For land transport security issues however there are no such specialised and competent international organisations, although much is being done already within the UNECE. Neither is there a specific international organisation that deals with the security of transport by pipelines .

A yearly stocktaking to identify evolving security challenges and opportunities for all transport modes could possibly be integrated in the yearly review exercise of commitments of participating States, and be based largely on written assessments by competent international organisations and participating States. A permanent working group may be another solution to deal with the subject of transport security which clearly falls within the mandate of the OSCE. However, the idea that bringing experts in maritime, air and land transport security together may lead to synergies, avoid duplications and fill certain gaps seems so far not to be supported by the discussions on these security issues during the Economic Forum.

The Belgian OSCE Chairmanship would like the OSCE also to cooperate in organising training activities, offered by the Antwerp Flanders Port Training Centre. Cooperation should also be sought from IMO and ILO.

Finally, the Belgian OSCE Chairmanship sees merits in the French proposal for an OSCE Ministerial Decision regarding the role of air transport in the illegal trafficking of small arms and light weapons (SALW) and their ammunition. The EU, in its closing statement in Prague, indicated its support for the objective of the French proposal and its willingness to further discuss it with a view to a possible Ministerial Decision in December 2006. There is still a need for further discussions of the French initiative, inter alia concerning the quantification of the illicit trade of SALW by air from, to and within the OSCE area.

Recommended EU position :

In view of its lack of expertise, the OSCE cannot fulfil the role of a specialised and competent international organisation dealing with the security aspects of all transport modes, nor fulfil possible gaps concerning security issue of inland transport and transport by pipelines. The EU should support OSCE involvement in transport security issues, where the OSCE clearly provides added value.

As to training activities offered by the Antwerp Flanders Port Training Centre, one may see advantages in involvement of the IMO and ILO. Involvement of the OSCE seems so far less indicated.

As to the illegal transport by air of SALW, Community competences will have to be respected. Therefore the Commission will continue its contacts with the French authorities, the EU Presidency and other interested MS in order to arrive at a successful outcome of the French initiative in the most appropriate forum.


The Belgian OSCE Chairmanship proposes that the OSCE should ensure the involvement of Aarhus centres in the environmental aspects of transport. Fortunately, Aarhus centres can already now get involved in the environmental impact of transport related decisions by governments. Specific support for such involvement may distract scarce capacity of an Aarhus centre for dealing with other governmental decisions with a possible higher impact on the environment.

The Belgian OSCE Chairmanship also thinks feasible an involvement of the OSCE in the Basel Convention on transport of hazardous goods as well as in the development of legislation on the protection of the environment.

Furthermore it favours to integrate environmental risks related to transport in to the standard assessments by ENVSEC (environment and security) of cross-border risks to the environment. Such integration may stretch the ENVSEC mandate a little bit too far. Concrete examples of the utility of such inclusion may help to clarify the need thereof.

Recommended EU position.

The OSCE should continue its support for Aarhus centres but leave the decisions on which subjects they should pay attention to, to the Aarhus centres themselves.

There seems to be no real added value created by OSCE involvement in the implementation of the Basel Convention or the development of legislation on the protection of the environment.

Where ENVSEC can play a useful role in the transportation field, the EU should support it.