Transport and Covid-19: responses and resources

Our global outlook

The International Transport Forum started out as the European Conference of Ministers of Transport (ECMT), a regional organisation created in 1953, but it has looked to the world from the outset.

The United States and Canada were invited to become associate members at the creation of ECMT; they joined in 1975 and 1977. In 1969, Japan became the first non-European associate member of ECMT. Australia followed in 1973 and New Zealand in 1991.

In the 1990s, Central and Eastern European countries including Russia and other European countries of the former USSR, joined the organisation following the collapse of the Socialist Block. The organisation has since played an important role in building transport links between formerly divided halves of the European continent.

In their Dublin Declaration of 2006, Ministers of Transport of the member countries acknowledged the growing globalisation by inviting non-European countries to become full members and broadening the organisation’s mandate to include aviation and maritime.

Under the new name International Transport Forum, or ITF, the organisation thus evolved into the first and only transport organisation with a global mandate across all modes of transport.

Since then, India (2009), China (2011), Chile (2012), Argentina (2015), Israel (2015), Morocco (2015), Kazakhstan and United Arab Emirates (2017), Tunisia (2019), Colombia (2021) and Cambodia (2022) have become full members of ITF. In 2023, Costa Rica and Brazil joined ITF, taking the membership to 66 countries as of 25 May 2023.

The ITF works closely with other international organisations. We have strong links with the United Nations system and collaborate on transport-related projects with the Multilateral Development Banks, such as the World Bank.

The European Commission and the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) have observer status with ITF, and there is a growing engagement with other regional organisations such as the Asian-Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) or the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN).

Read more about our history

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