UNECE United Nations Economic Commission for Europe
The Geneva-based UNECE is a subsidiary body of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). It is responsible for questions of economic cooperation in Europe and North America, and its members are all the European states, including those of the CIS, plus the USA and Canada.
The focus of the Commission's work is on transport, the environment, statistics and trade liberalisation and economic research. In all areas of its work the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) is keen to support the fledgling market economies of the central and eastern European countries.
The central UNECE body with responsibility for transport issues is the Inland Transport Committee (ITC). Within the ITC there are a number of subsidiary working parties which address issues of relevance to the individual transport modes – roads, railways and inland waterways – as well as issues affecting several or all of those modes – for example combined transport, transport of dangerous goods, transport of perishable foodstuffs, transport statistics, customs matters.
The ITC's work has led to the conclusion of numerous agreements of relevance to international transport. Agreements of wide-ranging importance are primarily those which lay down technical standards, e.g. for vehicles or the transport of dangerous goods. Often these standards are also adopted subsequently by the European Union.