Railways Officials of  Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Iran agreed on the Commercialization of the ECO Corridor

                       

The meeting of the Kazakhstan-Turkmenistan-Iran Railway Corridor (KTI) was held on 6th February, 2017 at the ECO Secretariat where senior officials of the concerned authorities of the enroute Member States and the representatives of the Islamic Development Bank (IDB), United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) and the ECO Secretariat discussed the issue of Commercialization of KTI corridor. Ambassador Halil Ibrahim Akca, ECO Secretary General, addressed the meeting with an inaugural statement. The Meeting was preceded by a two day inter-agency meeting of ECO, IDB and ESCAP Secretariats which developed a draft proposed roadmap on commercialization of the Corridor and submitted it for consideration of the enroute Member States.

The KTI Meeting achieved a consensual outcome document, fully supported by the enroute Member States as an inevitable imperative for the future success of the Corridor, triggered an inter-agency initiation of a project with full involvement of the enroute Member States paving the way for implementation of a well-phased process of commercialization of the KTI Corridor. The Meeting also took note of the latest status of the Route’s operation, existing challenges and practical proposals for joint efforts of the KTI railway administration.

After detailed deliberations and based on recommendations of the inter-agency meeting, the Meeting agreed that:

a)      ECO Secretariat will initiate a process towards commercialization of the KTI Corridor with full cooperation of the Member States and in collaboration with IDB and UNESCAP;

b)     The Member States will work on a multilateral agreement among the three countries for commercialization of the corridor. The intergovernmental agreement, based on the results of the approved study, may include, among others, establishment of a regional corridor management mechanism in the form of a Corridor Management Entity (CME), along with necessary measures for addressing, inter-alia, institutional, financial, technical, operational and legal aspects of commercialization of the corridor.

 In order to adhere a well-phased, time-bound process, it was agreed to prepare a time bound Action Plan for implementation of intergovernmental agreement, including activities related to commercialization of KTI Corridor that may include capacity building at national and regional levels, identification of non-physical and physical barriers as well as a resource mobilization mechanism to plug the investment gaps on the corridor. A Project Steering Committee composed of senior officials of the enroute Member States was agreed to be established for overall supervision of the Project.

The Meeting expressed hope that the project will serve as a model for commercialization of other ECO Corridors.