United Nations Economic Commission for Europe

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In 1947, ECOSOC (The Economic and Social Council) established the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE). It is one of the five regional commissions of the United Nations, and it aims to encourage Pan-European economic integration. Even though all member states of the United Nations can take part in UNECE’S work, UNECE comprises 56 member states in Asia, North America, and Europe.

Initially, when UNECE was established, it was given the directive of providing assistance to help rebuild Europe post-war, make the economic relations between the countries of Europe and the rest of the world powerful, and make economic activity flourish. Consequently, UNECE has adapted to the changing geopolitical landscape in Europe and has gone through two important reforms (in 1997 and 2005) to help in ensuring that its present activities are in line with the current needs of its member States.

Objectives of UNECE

One of the aims of UNECE is intensifying the UN’S effectives by implementing the results of global UN Conferences and Summits regionally.

UNECE also provides a platform whereby cooperation and significant integration in economic terms are achieved by its member states. Furthermore, economic success and sustainable development are also encouraged through negotiation of international legal instruments, technical cooperation, the interchange and exercise of technical and economic expertise and best practices, growth of norms and regulations, and policy dialogues.

UNECE and Pakistan

In 1975, the Customs Convention on the International Transport of goods under Cover of TIR Carnets (TIR Convention) was drafted and in 1978, it came into force. The aim of the TIR Convention is to assist international transit via a less complicated customs transits course of action and an international guarantee system. This convention was adopted by the UNECE. 

Even though Pakistan is not a member of the UNECE, the Pakistan National Committee of the International Chamber of Commerce said that from the 18th of April 2018, Pakistan will start guaranteeing and issuing activities and therefore, the TIR System will be activated in Pakistan.

This means that there will now be 60 countries, where the TIR system will be active. Pakistan ratified the convention in 2016.

The TIR has been important to Pakistan. The TIR cut down 80% of transit time by launching the Iran-Turkey corridor. Secretary-General Umberto de Pretto called the new ITI corridor “…a clear demonstration of how TIR saves time and money, bringing greater trade and economic benefits to this region.” Now, TIR transports going from Pakistan to Istanbul can take as little as six days with speedy and very secure border crossings present, which reduces time and expense. The first-ever shipment, containing herbal medicines, from Torkham, Pakistan (under TIR) also reached Tashkent in 48 hours.

The chairman of Pakistan International Chamber of Commerce also called the starting of the TIR System in Pakistan a ‘milestone’, in terms of Pakistan’s capacity for global trade, and allowing Pakistan to have potential to become an important transit country which aids in liking China to Africa and the Middle East.

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