World Road Congress Draft Report; Annual Report: discussion

NCOP Public Services

25 November 2003
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Meeting report

SELECT COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC SERVICES (NCOP)

PUBLIC SERVICES SELECT COMMITTEE
26 November 2003
WORLD ROAD CONGRESS DRAFT REPORT; ANNUAL REPORT: DISCUSSION

Chairperson:
Ms P Majodina (ANC)

Documents handed out:
Draft report on XXIIND PIARC World Road Congress (Appendix)
Public Services Select Committee Annual Report (Document awaited)

SUMMARY
It was decided that the draft report on the World Road Congress held in Durban from 19 to 25 October 2003 would not be discussed at this meeting because there were reports outstanding from three of the members who attended the Congress. Members agreed that all outstanding reports would be handed in within seven days and that the draft report would be considered in January 2004. It was proposed that the visit to Botswana to observe the implementation of their Reconstruction and Development programme be postponed to early 2004.

The annual report was briefly discussed and members were encouraged to raise issues of concern for further debate before approval and submission in January 2004. The Chairperson proposed that the Arrive Alive campaign debate, which would have been cancelled because of scheduling problems, be allowed to take place even if the Minister was not present, to which Committee members agreed. Committee members also agreed that a consolidated report on the Housing Summit attended the previous week, be discussed in conjunction with the World Road Congress draft report.

MINUTES
The Chairperson expressed dissatisfaction that three out of the four members who attended the World Road Congress (WRC) did not submit a report on the Congress. He made it clear that this was unacceptable and stressed the importance of drafting and submitting these reports for discussion and input purposes.

The Second issue raised by the chairperson was the scheduled trip to Botswana to observe the implementation of their RDP program. While the chairperson felt that the trip had been too short notice, which necessitated its postponement, it was agreed that it was important enough to warrant rescheduling for early 2004. It was proposed that the trip be undertaken when the Committee returned in January 2004, possibly the first week after they returned or after the State of the Nation address, or generally between January and March. 2004.

It was decided that the Annual report was not good enough to publish without a full discussion of its contents. The Chairperson proposed that members raise issues of concern relating to the report for debate before it was approved and submitted in January 2004.

The Arrive Alive campaign was raised by the Chairperson. It was stressed how important it was to have this debate even though there was a proposal to cancel the meeting on 28 November 2003, because it was decided that all debates and discussions be rounded up by 27 November 2003. The Chairperson argued that the Committee had a duty to the public to proceed with this debate. She was prepared to open and close these debates even if the Minister was not present because of the importance of this debate and since the rules allowed it. So although the program for 27 November was full it was suggested that time be made for the debate - any changes to the program would be notified to the members in due course. The Committee members agreed with this course of action.

The final issue under discussion was the Housing Summit that was attended by some of the Committee members (on short notice once again as mentioned by the Chairperson) the previous week. The Chairperson stated that a consolidated report of the Summit had to be compiled for joint consideration with the World Road Congress draft report.

The Chairperson pointed out that since only one Committee member, out of the four who attended the Congress, submitted a report, it was advisable that this draft report together with the annual report be discussed at the same meeting subject to the handing in of the outstanding reports.

Discussion
Mr V. Windvoel (ANC) stated that due to party commitments, he was unable to attend the World Road Congress but he reiterated that all outstanding reports be handed in so that the draft report could be discussed.

Mr N Raju (DA) apologised for not sending in his report of the World Road Congress (WRC) and would do so as soon as possible.

Dr Nel (NNP) stated that he would have liked to attend the Housing Summit and he also apologised for not handing in his report timeously - he stated that it was almost finished and that he would hand it in as soon as possible. He praised the organisation of the conference said he would like to attend this conference again.

The Chairperson pleaded with those members with outstanding reports to submit it to the clerk within seven days. She proposed that since this draft report of the WRC was an incomplete one because of the outstanding reports, it would be advisable not to deal with the draft report until all the reports had been received. In the meantime, members should familiarise themselves with the draft report. All Committee members agreed to this proposal.

Mr Windvoel stated that members could make additions to the draft report while waiting for the outstanding reports, which could subsequently be discussed.

Mr Raju expressed his disappointment that very few Committee members had attended the WRC. He wanted to know, that if it was true that the Minister had invited all Committee members to the WRC, why a full complement of members had not been present.

Mr Windvoel replied that he could only speak for himself why he could not attend but he had understood that there was a debate on who was to go to the WRC.

Mr Monwabisi Nguqu (Committee clerk) replied that only a few of the Committee members from the various provinces were able to attend, while other NMembers could not attend because of various reasons such as preparation for voter registration and other party commitments.

Mr Raju once again expressed his concern that so few members had attended the WRC as it was an honour for South Africa to have hosted this event and he would have liked that the whole team be there to experience it. While he could appreciate what the clerk had said he felt that surely there were members who could have attended the event. He felt that they had let the Minister down with the poor attendance of the WRC and by not showing support for this important and unique conference that only happened every ten years.

The Chairperson replied that the members had debated the attendance issue and that the Chief Whip of Parliament would not have allowed all members to go to the WRC, which would have effectively brought parliament to a standstill.

The Chairperson moved on and asked the Committee members if they could all agree to deal with the WRC draft report when they come back in January 2004, to which all members agreed.

The Chairperson raised the issue of the Botswana trip and stated that they needed a program for this visit. It should be ascertained whether it would be possible to undertake the trip with the remaining resources at hand. If not, then possibly more funds could be requested to undertake the trip early 2004. It would be tough to fit in trips in 2004 because of party commitments thus any trips undertaken would have to be scheduled as early as possible within 2004.

The Chairperson mentioned that the were several other reports to be considered and submitted early next year such as the Alive Arrive launch report and the report of the commemoration of accident victims by the Minister. These two reports could be dealt with together.

The end of the meeting was signaled with the Chairperson maintaining that members would be further advised on the commencement of debates, since there were no debates scheduled for Friday 28 November 2003.

Dr Nel noted that the programme for Thursday, 27 November 2003 was extremely long and doubted whether there would be time for all the debates to take place.

The Chairperson agreed but pointed out that final mandates had been demanded by Friday, which did not leave the Committee with much time to deal with very important and sensitive issues such as the RAF. Issues such as these therefore could not be dealt with prior to this date as there was so little time to debate it. The Chairperson made a general plea that bills should not come in late, because Committees invariably had to rush to pass the bills without sufficient deliberation.

Mr Windvoel stated that even if the Committee was not affected, they should still attend meetings that deal with the various bills. He had attended a meeting of the Portfolio Committee on Transport where a presentation was made which raised some important issues pertaining to the RAF. Mr Windvoel proposed that the Committee consider inviting the presenter to do a presentation before the RAF was discussed by the Committee. All members agreed and the clerk was delegated to recruit the presenter for a later Committee meeting.

Meeting was adjourned.

Appendix
DRAFT REPORT OF THE SELECT COMMITTEE ON THE XXIIND PIARC
WORLD ROAD CONGRESS HELD AT THE DURBAN INTERNATIONA
CONVENTION CENTRE FROM 19 TO 25 OCTOBER 2003.

A. Background

PIARC (Permanent Association of International Road Congresses) is a Paris-based World Road Association founded in 1908 following the first International Road Congress in Paris. It is a non-profit, non-political association which researches, investigates and provides information on roads, road transport policy and practices, and financed by members' subscriptions. Throughout its history, PIARC has contributed to the enhancement of a better global road community, which in turn has promoted economic growth and social welfare.

To date, PIARC has 107 Member Governments (Ministries in charge of roads and road transport) and 1,755 other Members, that is, Regional Authorities (first level below the national level), Collective Members (Municipal Council, Universities, Laboratories, Consultants, Contractors, etc) and Individual Members from 103 countries worldwide. Together, these constitute the four (4) PIARC member categories.

South Africa has been a PIARC member since 1995, and more than two-thirds of the Member Governments are now drawn from the developing countries or countries in transition.

PIRAC exists to serve all its members by:

· Being a leading international forum for analysis and discussion of the full spectrum of transport issues, related to roads and road transport, especially good transportation infrastructure, operations, safety and sustainability world-wide;

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· Identifying, developing and disseminating best practice and giving better access to international information;
· Providing within its activities special emphasis for developing countries and countries in transition; and
· Developing and promoting efficient tools for decision making on matters related to roads and road transport.

The World Road Congresses, organized every four years, provide opportunities to review the state of the art and practices and have forward-looking discussions to give direction to the association's action in years to come. These congresses are the highlights of the PIARC of the PIARC 20 Technical Committee activities.

The quadrennial 22nd Congress of PIRAC was the first time in sub-Sahara Africa, being hoisted by the Minister of Transport, Dr Abdullah Omar, MP, and organized by the South African National Road Agency Ltd, the Department of Transport's corporate off-shoot tasked with managing South Africa's 9 200 km, tolled and untolled national road network.

A broad spectrum of key decision-makers in the road transport sector representing governments (including Ministers and City Mayors), multilateral agencies, international financial institutions, toll concessionaires, material and equipment suppliers, vehicle manufacturers, freighting companies, the civil engineering industry and educational institutions were some of the 3000 delegates who attended the Durban Congress from the 19th to 25th October 2003.

On the special invitation of the Minister, a delegation comprising five (5) persons from the Committee attended this very important gathering.

B. Objectives
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Transport is recognized throughout the world as being instrumental in the social development and economic growth of any country, and South Africa is no exception in this regard. It has a vital role in augmenting the capacity of the economy as well as enhancing its competitiveness, providing access to markets, economic expansion and reduction of poverty.

Based on our historical background and its legacy, compounded by the existing huge gaps of service levels between rural and urban areas and related skewed funding levels which still prevails, it was deemed necessary to sent delegates from the various provinces, particularly the most rural and poor provinces, to attended the congress in order to gather first-hand insight and gain experience of deliberations taking place at various sessions.

Due to non-availability of members from other provinces, the ultimate delegation comprised of the following Committee members:

1. Majodina, Ms PCP, MP (ANC, Eastern Cape), Chairperson and Leader of the delegation;
2. Nel, Dr PJC, MP (NNP, Free State);
3. Raju, Mr NM, MP (DP, Kwazulu-Natal);
4. Sulliman, Mr MA (ANC, Northern Cape; and
5. Nguqu, Mr CM, Committee Secretary.

C. Durban World Road Congress

PIARC's most important activity is to run twenty (20) Technical Committees, which undertake studies on various topics related to roads and road transport issues. About 800 experts and decision-makers, from about fifty (50) member countries, are involved in the twenty Technical Committees representing~ the same number of study and discussions forums, which are ultimately grouped into five (5) Strategic Themes.

The Committees arrange seminars, and meet frequently, in order to promote technology transfer between member countries, which is one of PIARC's main aims. This network shares and compares knowledge and promotes international cooperation on roads and road transport infrastructure.

The aim of the Congress was to bring together these decision-makers and experts from all over the world in the field of roads and roads transport to present and discuss recent experiences and recommendations.


Theme 1: Road Technology


This theme covers the activities of the following Technical Committees:

1. Surface Characteristics Cl;
2. Road Pavements C7/8; and
3. Earthworks, Drainage, Subgrade C12.

The aim of this theme is to improve the provision and maintenance ol road infrastructure in accordance with international best practice. To meet this aim, the work of the Committees addresses the following issues;

· Defining functional and quality requirements requested by users;
· Life-cycle cost analysis and development of production and products form the client, operator and user points of view, including recycled and marginal materials;

· Taking account of innovations and the results of research, and promoting their utilization, when developing best practices and giving recommendations;

· Adapting appropriate technologies to developing countries (DC) and countries in transition (CIT); and

· Promoting the development of durable highway structures that can be kept in efficient and safe operation.

It was noted that the purpose of road authorities is to provide the best possible service to all road users. In order to do so effectively, it is necessary to have quality indicators to assess users' requirements in road works, maintenance and operation and to assess how best to meet these objectives.

In addition, it is essential to find ways to optimize the capacity of existing road infrastructure to avoid degradation in the quality of the level of service. The Road Technology session focused on:

· Procedures to identify users' expectations concerning road conditions and quality of service;

· Road quality indicators that can be used to measure the degme of compliance with those expectations; and

· Road technology innovations that have been developed during the last four years to improve the quality of service.

Presentation addressed the existing, as well as the need for major improvements, in both developed and developing countries. From this session it is apparent that many countries are evolving from purely technical approaches to road management towards a process in which objectives are set to comply with users' expectation.

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Theme 2: Road Transport, Livability and Sustainable Development
This theme covers the activities of the following Technical Committees:

1. Interurban Roads and Integrated Interurban Transport C4;
2. Urban Roads and Integrated Urban Transport ClO;
3. Sustainable Development and Transport C14; and
4. Freight Transport C19.

The aim of this theme is to encourage the development of road transport policies and programmes that take full account of the need for integration with other transport modes and result in beneficial community outcomes in economic, environmental and social terms.
To meet this aim, the work of the Committees addresses the following issues:

· General consequences of the Kyoto agreement, including quantitative analysis of technical, social, and political issues addressing road policies;
· How to improve communication between community and decision-makers
· Development of integrated interurban transport;
· The impacts and consequences of land use planning on transport demand
· Integrated transport in urban areas;
· How to promote non-motorised trips in urban planning; and
· Understanding of the contribution of efficient movement of freight to national and international economies.

Theme 3.. Road and Road Transport Operations
This theme covers the activities of the following Technical Committees:

1. Road Tunnel Operations Cs;

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2. RoadSafetyCl3;

3. Network Operations C16;

4. Winter Maintenance C17; and

5. Risk Management of Roads C18.

The aim of this theme is to improve the safe and efficient use of the road system, including the movement of people and goods on the road network, while effectively managing the risks associated with road transport operations, human factors and the natural environment.

To meet this aim, the work of the Committees addresses the following issues:

· Risk management (including natural, industrial, technical, etc., risks);

· Keeping the road network, including bridges and tunnels, in safe, usable operation in all conditions;

· Traffic demand management, including investigating the opportunities for integrated information flows to travelers;

· How to develop the concept of a fully integrated high quality transport network operator role, e.g. how to operate a major road network to service standards and slot booking in the same way as rail, air and sea services;

· The promotion of global technology standards to maximize opportunities; and

· To understand the safety responses to many advances, including the identification of safety issues which are priorities for developing counlEries.

Theme 4: Management and AdmThistration of Road System
This theme covers the activities of the following Technical Committees:

1. Road Management C6;

2. Economic and Financial Evaluation C9;

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3. Road Bridges and other Structures Cli; and
4. Performance of Road Administrations CiS.

The aim of this theme is to improve the performance of Road Administrations in the provision, operation and management of road infrastructure and its use in accordance with international best practice.

To meet this aim, the work of the Committees addresses the following issues:

· Developing, improving and implementing assets management processes;
· Management and technology systems within an integrated transport system;
· Utilisation of the results of the PIARC/HDM-4 project in improving road management;
· Effective coordination between network managers, operators and the community;
· Making more efficient use of the road budget;
· Introduction of new forms road financing;
· Introduction of road pricing;
· Organisational structure and effective administrators; and
· The role and application of Public Private Partnerships provision, operation and maintenance of the road network.

It was noted that the escalating growth of traffic and particularly of road traffic, increasingly exceeds acceptable environmental, economic and financial thresholds. Solutions for a more sustainable system are essential. This session examined present trends and explored aspects of the integration of the various transport modes through system such as:

Park and ride terminals;

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· Combined transportation; and Intermodal platforms and corridors.

In order to implement an integrated structure, more partnerships are needed and the prerequisites demand fair and efficient pricing. Questions that were examined were:

· How do road administrations react to these challenges? and Which will be more successful: the private or the private sector?

The definitions of integrated transport, intermodal transport and combined transport were discussed to determine the limitations and overlap of these terms. The future role of roads within intermodal transport was closely examined to determine PIARC's strategic plan for the coming year.

Theme 5: Appropriate Levels of Road and Road Transport Development

This theme covers the activities of the following Technical Committees:
1. Community Consultation C2;

2. Technological Exchanges and Development C3;

3. Appropriate Development C20; and

4. Terminology.

The aim of this theme is to foster the development of road transport policies and programmes that take into account of the particular need of developing nations and countries in countries and of rural and remote areas.

To meet this aim, the work of these Committees addresses the following issues:

Evaluate effectiveness of PIRAC technology transfer;

· Development of techniques to facilitate the exchange of technology among and within PIARC member countries and professionals;
· Improve understanding of the needs of developing countries;
· Adapting transportation policy to user's expectation;
· Addressing problems of traffic congestion, environment and mobility in urban areas of developing countries (DC) and countries in transition (CIT);
· Evaluation of methods for road investment priorities in DCs and CITs and rural and remote areas;
· Develop relationships with international technology transfer and financing organizations;
· Application of road user changes, particularly in countries in transition, in some developing countries and in rural and remote areas;
· Analysis of road user costs and quality of service levels for various transport modes; and
· Community consultation Technical standards for DCs and CITs.

This session discussed what needs to be done to bring about improved access/mobility. These include issues like finance, education and training, technology, and improved governance to address corruption, where in some countries it is alleged that only 50% of total monies allocated to road development, is actually used. However, there are examples of countries where, through new forms of contract and auditing procedures, the amount of money spent on roads has increased.

Other issues, which need to be addressed, are the need for synergies be~ween transport and its dependent sectors, the identification of key stakeholders, empowerment and consultation, and planning and monitoring tools. PIARC has realized the necessity of Technology Transfer Centres as a conduit for best practice dissemination. In Africa these have already been established in Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Burkini-Faso and Chad.

Case studies where good mobility/access systems are in place include India, which, as a planned economy, has ensured the correct level of roads, and China and Bangladesh, both using the HGM4 economic model, which determines the viability of a particular link and different standards of that link with different traffic types and construction.

D. Conclusions
Themed "Connecting the World" the Congress "offers value to the road transport industry, from countries with diverse economies, from decision-makers in road policy to researchers and practitioners", according to Minister Omar.

There is no better conclusion that can best illustrated the experiences of the members of the delegation that the above honourable Minister's words.

NB: A comprehensive report comprising detailed activity reports from the 20 Technical Committees will be available early next (term) year. It is hoped that the document will become the Committee's basic tool in dealing with government official responsible for road and road transport in all spheres of government.

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