3rd road congress wraps up in Sarajevo, agrees ways to develop road infrastructure in South East Europe

21 September 2012

Participants of the 3rd Road Congress in South East Europe, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, 20-21 September 2012. (Photo: Alen Mehic)

Participants of the 3rd Road Congress in South East Europe, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, 20-21 September 2012. (Photo: Alen Mehic)

SARAJEVO – A two-day Road Congress in South East Europe ended in Sarajevo today, with over 400 participants from ten countries agreeing to establish a professional regional forum for the development of the road sector.

The 3rd Bosnia and Herzegovina road congress discussed strategies of road transport system development, design of relevant studies, road construction and maintenance, safety, financing, environmental protection and road management.

The participants agreed that the countries in the region need to establish a favourable investment climate to encourage private sector participation in financing road transport and to use expert knowledge to become more efficient in planning and implementing future projects. They concluded that more efforts in upgrading the current road routes need to be invested while putting special focus on the poor connections at cross-border points.

The event was co-organized by the Association of Consulting Engineers of Bosnia and Herzegovina (ACE BiH) and the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC) Secretariat, with support of the Ministry of Communications and Transport of Bosnia and Herzegovina and relevant international professional associations.

In his opening address, Damir Hadzic, Minister of Communication and Transport of Bosnia and Herzegovina, underlined that the congress is an opportunity to exchange experience, gain new knowledge and learn best practices in order to improve road infrastructure.

“The road infrastructure is the most important integrating factor. The general goal of the road infrastructure policy in the region, and the entire continent as well, always was, and always will be, to fulfil the transport needs of its citizens and economy, in the most optimal way.”

“We are all aware of the poor condition of transport infrastructure in South East Europe”, said Hido Biscevic, RCC Secretary General, while addressing the congress. “All regional countries have ambitious plans to invest in their road networks, but are particularly constrained by current economic and financial issues.”

“The RCC could contribute to the promotion of regional approach to launching concrete infrastructure projects and facilitate access to available EU funding instruments, such as the Western Balkan Investment Framework, regional Multi-Beneficiary Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance, and the newly created Connecting Europe Facility.”

Esref Gacanin, ACE BiH President, said he expected the congress to influence the authorities in South East Europe to accelerate road construction and cooperation in planning on the regional level.

In conclusion, Christophe Nicodeme, Director General of the European Road Federation, underlined the necessity of an integrated approach to mobility and road transport in the entire area of South East Europe.

“This is why we as the European Road Federation want to encourage, support and help regional initiatives to have an echo at the European level.“

The congress called on the relevant national authorities to demonstrate strong political will and be firmly committed to the transport policy reforms, strongly cooperating at regional level. It emphasized the need for more efficient utilisation of available EU funds in order to achieve concrete and tangible results in this sector.

The participants, including 100 experts in planning and development of the road transportation system, management, construction, maintenance, protection of the environment, road safety, consulting and financing of the road infrastructure, as well as scientists and governmental representatives from Bosnia and Herzegovina, other South East European countries, and international organizations, analysed the current situation and future challenges in developing the road infrastructure in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the region.

Contribution to the promotion of road infrastructure and safety by supporting implementation of relevant EU directives has been recognized by the RCC Secretariat’s Strategy and Work Programme 2011-2013 as a priority activity in the transport sector. 

Opening address by RCC Secretary General