Intergovernmental Commission of TRACECA
(Europe-Caucasus-Asia International Transport Corridor)
TRACECA (Europe-Caucasus-Asia International Transport Corridor) is an international transport programme, which includes the EU and 13 member-states in the regions of Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and central Asia. The objective of the Programme is to strengthen the economic and transport communication between the regions of the Black Sea Basin, the Caucasus and Central Asia. The Permanent Secretariat (PS) of the Intergovernmental Commission is based in Baku (Azerbaijan); due to the reduction of financial support from the EU the PS budget is currently formed out of the annual input of the member-states.
TRACECA was launched in May, 1993, as a result of the Conference held in Brussels, which was attended by transport and trade ministers from five Central Asia and three in Southern Caucasus states.
At the Conference the EU confirmed its commitment to provide technical assistance for the development of the transport axis running from the Black Sea through the Caucasus and the Caspian Sea to Central Asia.
13 countries are members of the TRACECA Programme: Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Moldova, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Romania, Turkey, Mongolia, and Kyrgyzstan.
In order to implement the provisions of the Basic Agreement the TRACECA Intergovernmental Commission (IGC) was established in 2000, and in 2001 the Permanent Secretariat (PS) of the TRACECA Intergovernmental Commission was set up in Baku, which operates in accordance with the approved statute.
The Republic of Armenia has been a member of TRACECA since 1993.
On 9 August 1998, Armenia signed and on 3 November 2000 ratified the Basic Multilateral Agreement on International Transport for Development of the Europe-Caucasus-Asia Corridor MLA), that had been in force since 23 May, 1999. The main objective of the Agreement is to ensure economic cooperation, trade and transport development between all the TRACECA member countries, as well as in the regions of Europe, the Black Sea, the Caucasus, the Caspian Sea and Asia. In the framework of the Agreement all the member-states, including the Republic of Armenia, have received unique TRACECA permits in order to support and facilitate transportation of goods and passengers between the TRACECA countries.
On 4 April, 2010, Armenia signed and ratified the Protocol on amendments to the above mentioned MLA, introduced following Bulgaria and Romania joining the EU. The mentioned amendments had no effect on general provisions of the Agreement for Armenia. On 10 September 2003, Armenia signed the Protocol on introducing amendments to the MLA, which entered into force on 23 November 2011. The Protocol aims at facilitating of railway transportation of goods through reducing or eliminating some customs and taxes and other payments.
Armenia has also signed the Protocol on amendments to the MLA still to be validated, which has been added to the Agreement as a Technical Annex on Fundamental Principles of Railway-Ferry Terminals Operation on the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea. The document is set to regulate issues pertaining to the transportation of goods by railway-ferry involving port authorities and operators, as well as national railway carriers, which ensures the required conditions for goods transportation both via the international direct railway-ferry connections and through transit towards the third countries.
As of today Armenia hasn’t yet signed the Protocol on Amendments to the Technical Annex on Customs and Documentation Procedures to the MLA not yet in force, which implies changes to the implementation process of the transportation between the TRACECA member-states, such as speeding up the procedures, reducing the time allocated to the transit, simplifying the documentation, etc.. The proposed changes are based on the provisions of a number of EU and regional agreements and regulations on facilitating transportation between countries.
On 8 November 2006, Armenia ratified the Agreement between the Governments of the Parties to the MLA on Joint Financing of the TRACECA IGC PS. The Agreement commits the TRACECA member-states to ensure the funding of the PS in the through annual contributions, as well as check the budget costs by means of regular audits.
On 4 April the 2018, Armenia ratified the Agreement on the Development of Multimodal Transport TRACECA, which entered into force on 9 July 2011. The main objective of the Document is to encourage, regulate and ensure the development of multimodal transportation for goods between all TRACECA member-states. On the basis of the Document the TRACECA Multilateral Permits User Guide and Annexes were elaborated and signed, including by Armenia in Istanbul in 2015. Based on the Document Armenia receives 100 permits each year, which though have not been used since bilateral permits currently applied did not exhausted yet.
On 9-10 October, 2003, the annual TRACECA Intergovernmental Commission meeting under Armenian chairmanship was held in Yerevan, attended by all the member-states except Moldova, as well as the representatives of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, who expressed their willingness to join the TRACEA and access to the Basic Multilateral Agreement.
At the meeting a number of important issues were considered and adopted including the Memorandum on Joint Financing of the TRACECA IGC, amendments to the TRACECA MLA, as well as the TRACECA Corridor Development Plan for 2004-2008 was developed.
The Meeting finalized its activities through adoption of the 2003Yerevan TRACECA Declaration.
The 13th meeting of the TRACECA Intergovernmental Commission was held again in Yerevan on March the 5-6, 2018, with Armenian IGC chairmanship for one year. The participants discussed the 2016-2026 Corridor Development Strategy and Road Map, the implementation progress and outcomes of the activities for the development of the Corridor, TRACECA Multilateral Permits System, the priority activities implemented by the States based on the TRACECA Regional Action Strategy on Maritime Safety and Security and Environmental Protection for the period up to 2021, as well as the outcomes of the implementation of the Concept of Development of International Road Traffic along the TRACECA Corridor. The efforts were made at the meeting to increase the competitiveness and attractiveness of the TRACECA road routes. The Hellenic Republic was granted the status of observer.
The member-states were reminded to submit projects for the upcoming 3rd TRACECA Investment Forum to held in 2019. Armenia intends to present at the Forum its North-South International Road Corridor Construction Project with the focus on Tranche 4.
The participants of the meeting decided to prolong the in-office period of the acting General Secretary until the next meeting of the IGC to be held in Baku in 2019.
Armenia participates in all major events in the framework of the TRACECA Programme, supports regional projects in order to ensure further cooperation and economic growth through road and railway communication development in the region.
Armenia is involved in over 18 technical assistance projects, with the following three are still ongoing: “TRACECA Coordination group”, “Harmonization of Border Crossing Procedures”, “Establishment of Common Legal Basis for Transit Transportation”.