1st Black Sea and 4th Silk Road Conference
As Chairman of the International Road Federation, I am pleased to invite you to participate in the 1st Black Sea & 4th Silk Road Conference, which will be held on 14 – 16 May 2007 in Istanbul, Turkey.
The Silk Road Rehabilitation project started almost 10 years ago with a first conference held in Ashkabad, Turkmenistan
in 1997. Two more conferences, organized respectively in Uzbekistan and China followed and were equally successful.
The historic ‘Silk Road’ is again becoming a vital trade link with important geopolitical ramifications. Although, the initial
East-West orientation of the emancipated “Silk Road countries” has been partly offset by Russia’s growing regional influence,
this new transport axis has kept its relevance. Turkey and China are the two far ends of a corridor, which is the
key to economic and trade development of the majority of countries in between. There is however a continuing need for
the rehabilitation and upgrading of this new Silk Road, the Eurasian land bridge.
The conference will closely collaborate with the TRACECA initiative (Intergovernmental Commission and technical assistance projects), and cooperate in the identification of new feasible highway projects. The conference will also consider
other regional initiatives promoted by the ADB, the Shanghai Cooperation organisation, UN/ESCAP, ECO, etc.
Connecting the Silk Road with the Black Sea Ring Road is the special contribution of this conference to the regional development debate. The member states of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) are planning the upgrading of the transport infrastructure, and in particular the development of the Black Sea Ring Road. The conference will consider the practical aspects and feasibility of the proposed links and projects.
A number of issues addressed during this conference are common to both the Silk Road and the Black Sea Ring Highway, such as:
- Traffic Flow assessments and existing network capacity;
- Non-physical barriers;
- Institutional capacity building;
- Road quality and road safety measures;
- Sustainable Road development.
However, we also recognize that certain aspects of the Silk Road and of the Black Sea Ring Highway are specific to each road network.
We will look at the progress made since the last conference in Xi’an, China in 2004 and the shaping of a new Silk road corridor between Istanbul and
Xi’an. Multi-modal transport modes will also be examined, especially the creation of dry ports.
The Black Sea Ring Highway Concept will look at the links between road and maritime transport, the core network as decided by the Black Sea Economic
Last but not least, I would like to emphasize how fortunate we are to be hosted in a wonderful city like Istanbul, Turkey’s most populous city with its
cultural and economic centre. Istanbul is located on the Bosphorus straits and encompasses the natural harbour known as the Golden Horn (Turkish:
Haliç). Situated on both the European (Thrace) and the Asian (Anatolia) sides of the Bosphorus, the city is the only metropolis in the world straddling two
continents. Istanbul is also unique for having served as the capital of three different Empires: The Roman Empire (330-395), Byzantine Empire (395-
1453) and the Ottoman Empire (1453-1923). In 1923, following the establishment of the Republic of Turkey, the capital was moved to Ankara.
Istanbul has about 13 million inhabitants and its daily traffic is a challenge to everyone. Its rich cultural heritage makes it a wonderful place to visit and to shop. We encourage you to travel to the conference with your spouses and/or to add a pre- or post-conference tour.
I hope you will join us in Istanbul for this exceptional event!
Chairman International Road Federation
The Conference brochure (with preliminary programme), registration form, Hotel Registration & Visa application can be found at www.irfnet.org