The CAREC region is at the heart of the rapidly growing and integrating Eurasian continent. CAREC countries are working together to improve the region’s transport infrastructure and reduce the cost of trade across regions.
The CAREC Transport and Trade Facilitation Strategy presents a shared vision of transport and trade facilitation development across the region to 2017, identifying three transport goals:
- establish competitive transport corridors across the CAREC region;
- facilitate efficient movement of people and goods across borders; and
- develop safe, people-friendly transport systems.
The strategy’s implementation action plan details both physical and nonphysical investments designed to improve the region’s competitiveness, and expand trade—both among CAREC economies, regionally, and globally.
A midterm review of the strategy and action plan has been completed, financed by an ADB technical assistance. The review was conducted in two phases. In phase 1, a comprehensive stock-take assessed progress of the strategy and action plan (2008-2017). Based on the outcome of phase 1, the strategy was updated in phase 2 by the end of 2013, re-titled as Transport and Trade Facilitation Strategy (TTFS) 2020.
In the TTFS 2020, the original six corridors were extended, more finely defined with respect to the various routes composing the corridors. Resulting from these changes, the CAREC road corridor network is now estimated to reach 29,350 kilometers (km) by 2020 from 24,000 km by 2017.
The 11 CAREC member countries endorsed two key transport-related strategies during the 15th Ministerial Conference on 26 October 2016 in Islamabad, Pakistan.
CAREC Road Safety Strategy
Safely Connected: A Regional Road Safety Strategy for CAREC Countries (2017-2030) provides the framework to make CAREC corridors safe, efficient, and attractive for all road users. The strategy resulted from intensive consultation between country representatives, road safety experts, private sector stakeholders, and development partners.
Vision: To make CAREC international road corridors safe, efficient and attractive for all road users.
Target: To reduce the number of fatalities on the CAREC road corridors by 50% by 2030 (compared to 2010), or saving an estimated 23,000 lives and 250,000 serious injuries less per year. The estimated economic savings amounts to approximately $16 billion a year.
Implementation: (i) embed road safety features to planned investments for road projects amounting to about $6.9 billion from 2017 to 2020; (ii) provide technical support for national road safety policy initiatives, and (iii) technical support for institutional strengthening and capacity development.
CAREC Railway Strategy
Unlocking the Potential for Railways: A Railway Strategy for CAREC (2017-2030) serves as a guiding document for the long-term development of CAREC railways. The strategy was jointly developed by CAREC country representatives in cooperation with development partners, railway operators, stakeholders and experts. The strategy equips the region’s railways to better capture evolving trade flows and contribute to regional economic development.
Vision: Rail transport will become a mode of choice for trade: quick, efficient, accessible for customers, and easy to use throughout the region.
Strategic Priorities: (i) develop effective rail infrastructure ; (ii) develop robust commercial capabilities; and (iii) improve legal and regulatory frameworks.
Implementation: Full implementation of the railway strategy requires a set of robust arrangements addressing money (financing), people (capacity), and technology with distinct roles identified for (i) railways, (ii) governments and (iii) development partners. An action plan and corresponding results-based framework is being developed and will be subject to periodic monitoring, review, and adjustments
As of September 2019, around $26.1 billion has been invested in 131 projects along the six CAREC transport corridor routes, where the potential for economic development and returns is greatest. Priority infrastructure work along the six corridors is now focused on the construction and upgrade of roads and rail lines. The aim is to create a seamless transport network by 2020.
Creating CAREC Corridors
CAREC focuses investment and other activities on the development of six competitive transport corridors that link north, south, east, and west through the pivot of Central Asia. The corridors reflect trade flow patterns and will speed the movement of people and goods across the region. Critically, they also connect the mainly landlocked CAREC countries to wider regional and global networks.
CAREC Priority Investment Projects by Corridor
Transport Sector Coordinating Committee
The Transport Sector Coordinating Committee (TSCC) guides strategic decision making and planning for all transport-related investments. It also coordinates other sector-wide issues and activities, including
- events and capacity-building activities,
- identifying transport sector pilot projects and development issues with sector-wide implications, and
- coordinating the work of transport project working groups.
The TSCC regularly reports and makes recommendations to the CAREC Senior Officials’ Meeting, which in turn informs the CAREC Ministerial Conference. It meets at least once a year and the host country for each committee meeting acts as the official chair of that meeting.
(Refer to the CAREC institutional framework for more information on sector coordinating committees.)