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Transport: guidelines

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Transport: guidelines

The establishment of sustainable transport has been identified as a priority area of the European Community's development policy. Transport is a key element in the development of a country. By ensuring the efficient movement of goods and people, transport infrastructures construct vital links for trade and ensure access to essential services such as health care and education as well as employment, contributing to economic and social development and to integration into the world economy.

Objective The guidelines for the Community's policy on transport in developing countries were drawn up in 1996. They aim to provide a framework for activities in this area based on a sectoral approach.


They are divided into three distinct parts:

  • Part I: Building a sectoral approach;
  • Part II: Applying a sectoral approach to Project Cycle Management;
  • Part III: Tools of a sectoral approach.

Part I : Building a sectoral approach

During the 1980s, transport in the developing countries went through a serious crisis, the extent of which was revealed in 1988. The transport networks, and particularly their maintenance, deteriorated to such an extent that they were hindering rather than facilitating the movement of people and goods. This is due to many factors, including macroeconomic and political problems as well as inadequate regulatory control.

After evaluating its policies in this field (particularly within the framework of cooperation with the ACP countries), the European Community adopted a new approach based on a sectoral approach instead of a project approach. This approach takes account of users and should make it possible to build and operate transport infrastructures that meet the needs of beneficiaries. This therefore involves setting the various infrastructures (roads, railways, etc.) back in their economic context - agriculture, industry, tourism, etc. - and looking at them from the point of view of the beneficiaries, industry employers and employees for example. The approach must also give consideration to the social needs of the communities and the infrastructures must be able to meet a variety of needs. To this end, permanent dialogue must be set up between the government, users and beneficiaries.

A regular flow of sufficient capital for the operation and maintenance of the infrastructures is vital for the development of sustainable transport. Moreover, transport should be managed like a company and broad participation of the private sector is desirable.

A sectoral approach is drawn up for the five major transport sectors: roads, railways, ports, airports and urban transport.

Part II: Applying a sectoral approach to Project Cycle Management

As with other sectoral areas, the implementation of the policy involves, in particular, projects established according to Project Cycle Management, a process providing a detailed framework for project implementation. Project Cycle Management is made up of six different phases:

  • Programming;
  • Identification;
  • Formulation;
  • Financing;
  • Implementation/monitoring;
  • Evaluation.

The six sections cover each stage in the implementation of a project and the policy, from the agreement on the role of the transport policy at national and regional level (programming) to the evaluation. Each section involves key questions on economic, financial and institutional sustainability, etc. as well as the possible problems and potential actions in order to guide the user through the process.

Part III: Tools of a sectoral approach

The guidelines propose specific tools for the implementation of projects. This part provides the terms of reference for its tools (standard formats).

It includes the following tools:

  • a study prior to the establishment of a transport sectoral policy;
  • a prefeasibility study during the identification phase of the Project Cycle;
  • a feasibility study during the formulation phase of the Project Cycle;
  • monitoring indicators.

Last updated: 19.07.2006