1 July 2005

Intergovernmental Agreement on Asian Highway Network Comes into Force on 4 July

(Reissued as received.)

BANGKOK, 30 June (UN Information Services) -- The Intergovernmental Agreement on the Asian Highway Network comes into force on 4 July 2005.  The landmark agreement aims to complete 141,000 kilometres of standardized roadways spanning 32 Asian countries with linkages to Europe.  The Asian highway network will enable direct travel from Tokyo to Istanbul, facilitating trade and tourism and opening up landlocked countries.

“The Agreement marks a major milestone in regional cooperation that will substantially improve opportunities for trade and tourism”, Executive Secretary of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) Kim Hak-Su said.

The Intergovernmental Agreement on the Asian Highway Network is the first treaty developed by ESCAP and deposited with the UN Secretary-General.  It sets technical standards for road and route signage and includes mechanisms for amendments or additional routes.  Twenty-seven out of the 32 participating member States have signed the Agreement.

“Sixteen per cent of the roads are below the minimum standards and an estimated US$18 billion is needed to upgrade and improve the Highway”, Mr, Kim said.  The ESCAP is working with the Asian Development Bank, the World Bank, the Japan Bank for International Cooperation, the Islamic Development Bank and other partners to help countries identify sources for investment.

The ESCAP has been negotiating routes and road specifications for the Asian Highway Network since 1992. 

For further information, please contact:  UN Information Services, Bangkok, tel: +(66-2) 288-1861-69, fax: +(66-2) 288-1052, e-mail:, web:,

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