Implemented over the period 2001-2003, this project aimed at supporting the Palestinian Authority´s efforts to address the impact of tightened Israeli restrictive measures on movement and access at the occupied Palestinian territory´s main border crossing points.
With funding from UNCTAD and the Government of Belgium, project activities involved conducting an in-depth technical assessment of options for re-routing Palestinian merchandize trade, which currently transits Israeli ports, via regional port facilities.
The assessment featured:
- a quantitative cost-benefit analysis of utilizing Port Said in Egypt and Aqaba Port in Jordan as alternatives, and
- an examination of existing non-tariff obstacles to the flow of Palestinian cross-border trade within the region.
Notwithstanding the necessity of greater Palestinian control over oPt borders and trade transport routes, the technical assessment suggests that re-routing Palestinian trade should proceed within the context of regional transit transport agreements to avoid adverse cost implications.
The areas that should form the focus of such agreements are elaborated in an UNCTAD study, which proposes an operational framework for informing Palestinian transit transport agreements with immediate neighbours, as well as decisions on related policies, rules and regulations.
The framework provides concrete measures geared to motivate the region´s countries to undertake parallel and simultaneous efforts at three levels:
- At the highest level, the Palestinian Authority and its neighbouring countries are advised to subscribe to a range of multilateral agreements and international conventions, which guarantee observance of standard procedures for customs clearance and movement of freight consignments across borders.
- At the middle level, these procedures could be embodied in bilateral agreements.
- At the level of individual transport organizations, tailor-made arrangements could be explored for establishing joint operations and associated facilities consistent with global standards and regional specifications.