Policy Brief: Model Subregional Agreement on Transport Facilitation

May 16, 2022 | Policy Brief, Publications, UNESCAP Featured Publications POM

The Model Subregional Agreement on Transport Facilitation has been elaborated on the basis of findings of comparative studies between major subregional agreements on transport facilitation to which various ESCAP member States are parties, conducted in 2014-2015. It has been subsequently reviewed by two regional expert meetings held in 2015 and finalized with incorporation of ESCAP member States’ comments.

The Model Subregional Agreement is intended to serve as a common framework for subregional agreements on transport facilitation. The Model can be used for drafting and negotiating new subregional agreements and for bringing amendments to existing agreements. This will help to expedite the negotiation process of a subregional agreement and to facilitate its subsequent practical implementation. The Model Subregional Agreement provides a checklist of issues that are typically contained in subregional agreements on transport facilitation. The focus has been on international road transport; hence the checklist of issues to be covered is related to a larger extent to road transport than to other modes.

The Model proposes a structure and a brief description of the main elements and specific substantive issues that would be covered by a subregional agreement. It does not contain uniform wording to be used for all the issues that are supposed to be covered by the agreement.

The Model also includes a list of issues recommended to be settled through additional subregional agreements, due to their complexity or specific nature. The Model Subregional Agreement on Transport Facilitation has been adopted by the Third Ministerial Conference on Transport in December 2016 as an annex to the Ministerial Declaration on Sustainable Transport Connectivity in Asia and the Pacific.

In 2020-2021, as part of the United Nations’ rapid response to the COVID-19 pandemic crisis and the UNDA project “Transport and trade connectivity in the age of pandemics: Contactless, seamless and collaborative UN solutions”, the secretariat conducted a study on proposals for crisis-response provisions in regional, subregional and bilateral transport agreements that could be incorporated in the existing and future transport agreements of ESCAP member States. The full text of the study report can be found here.

The description of such proposed clauses and approaches to their formulation are included in the current updated version of the Model Subregional Agreement on Transport Facilitation, including an additional description of Force-majeure issue in section V (C) of the Model Subregional Agreement and a more detailed proposed Model Annex on Force-majeure.

To access the publication on the UN ESCAP website, please click here.