UN recognises eTIR as key to combat COVID-19 impacts

Barcelona, July 7, 2020.- Six UN agencies  have issued a joint statement calling on governments to provide smooth transit and transport for landlocked developing countries (LLDCs), highlighting eTIR as one of the key solutions to support these countries and their trading partners. 

Already isolated from major markets and highly vulnerable to external shocks, LLDCs are facing rapidly deteriorating conditions as they are entirely dependent on their neighbours to gain access to international seaports. 

Border closures, travel restrictions and tighter controls resulting from COVID-19 containment measures have resulted in long queues at land borders and congestion at ports and airports across the world.

To prevent social and economic development declining, the UN agencies have urged LLDCs and their neighbouring countries to make use of digital tools such as eTIR, to limit physical checks in transit and physical contact at borders, protecting the health of workers and facilitating trade.

The statement reiterates IRU’s call for more LLDCs to use the TIR system, outlined by IRU Secretary General Umberto de Pretto most recently at UN headquarters in December 2019. 

“In order to effectively become land-linked, countries first need the political will and resolve to do so,” stated Umberto de Pretto in his address. “At the moment, only 11 out of 32 landlocked countries worldwide have taken the prerequisite step of implementing the TIR system to harmonise, facilitate and secure their trade and transit. Elsewhere, trucks remain stuck at borders for hours, days and even weeks.” 

The UN’s joint statement has also reiterated IRU’s own calls for more coordination, faster flows of essential supplies and more sustainable ways of operating international goods transport.


United Nations Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and the Small Island Developing States ; United Nations Conference on Trade and Development; United Nations Economic Commission for Africa ; United Nations Economic Commission for Europe ; United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America ; United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific.

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