Skip to main content

UN-ESCWA Meeting on Maritime Transport in the Arab Mashreq


Under the auspices of Egyptian Minister of Transport Mohamed Mansour, UN-ESCWA convened an Expert Group Meeting (EGM) entitled "Towards the Implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Maritime Transport Cooperation in the Arab Mashreq: The Role of Governments and Private Sector in Activating Shipping Traffic and Application of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in the Seaports of UN-ESCWA Member Countries" in Cairo from 12 to 14 February 2007.
The EGM came within the context of UN-ESCWA's efforts to further develop cooperation and integration between the countries of Western Asia and Arab countries as a whole; and to enhance the role of maritime transport that plays an important role in the facilitation and enhancement of foreign and interregional trade. It also came as part of the efforts of UN-ESCWA to achieve the objectives of the MoU on Maritime Transport Cooperation in the Arab Mashreq, which entered into force ninety days after five member countries signed it on 4 September 2006. The EGM took place as a result of the decision of the Council of Arab Ministers of Transport in its 18th Session (Damascus, 22 - 23 November 2005), which called for broadening the scope of the MoU prepared by UN-ESCWA to include all Arab countries. It called upon the countries that have not signed the MoU to study it with the objective of acceding and signing it.  This is in addition to the recommendation issued by the UN-ESCWA 24th Ministerial Session (Beirut, 8 - 11 May 2006) that called upon member countries who did not put their definitive signature or deposited an instrument of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession, to take action as soon as possible in order for the MoU to enter into force, and to implement the articles of the MoU as soon as it enters into force at the national and regional levels.
The purpose of the EGM was to come up with recommendations and an action plan to implement the MoU; present international and regional experiences on the application of ICT in ports; and introduce the maritime transport community in the Arab region, including the private and public sectors, to the means of investment and cooperation in maritime transport between member countries within the framework of the MoU.
The EGM was attended by officials from the maritime transport community and seaports in the public and private sectors in UN-ESCWA member countries and other Arab countries, as well as representatives from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in Cairo, specialized unions, ICT companies, and international experts from outside the Arab region.