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Integrated transport systems in Latin America and the Caribbean: converging initiatives

June 1998|Bulletins » FAL Bulletin
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9 p. Editorial: ECLAC June 1998


The year 1998 is shaping up to be a year of grand regional initiatives focusing on the setting up of regional integrated transport systems. The past six months have seen intense activity in Latin America and the Caribbean. It would seem that the public and private sectors have agreed to launch converging initiatives, each from its own perspectives. In Central America, a multimodal transport project is already under way, while a new transport master plan put forward by the Permanent Secretariat of the General Treaty on Central American Economic Integration (SIECA) is being prepared; in South America, the Latin American Integration Association (LAIA) and Latin American Railways Association (ALAF) have launched a prefeasability study concerning a plan for the sustainable development of transport; the second Summit of the Americas adopted a plan of action that now takes in the work of the Executive Committee of the Western Hemisphere Transport Initiative; and the private sector also held its regional meeting in São Paulo, Brazil, with Intermodal 98, the fourth in a series. These initiatives are taking shape around similar lines of thought and action; their backgrounds are similar, and they tend towards the same goal: taking action in the immediate environment with a view to expanding linkages with the global economy. The background is the observation that after several years of growth, transport infrastructure, equipment and services appear unable to satisfy the growing demand of international trade in the region. The goal is to implement the requisite reforms in the transport sector so as to meet the challenges posed by global competition. This issue of the Bulletin is devoted to news about recent initiatives and possible future developments.