Who we are
The International Transport Forum at the OECD is an intergovernmental organisation with 57 member countries. It acts as a think tank for transport policy and organises the Annual Summit of transport ministers. ITF is the only global body that covers all transport modes.
What we do
ITF works for transport policies that improve peoples’ lives. Our mission is to foster a deeper understanding of the role of transport in economic growth, environmental sustainability and social inclusion and to raise the public profile of transport policy.
How we do it
ITF organises global dialogue for better transport. We act as a platform for discussion and pre-negotiation of policy issues across all transport modes. We analyse trends, share knowledge and promote exchange among transport decision-makers and civil society. ITF’s Annual Summit is the world’s largest gathering of transport ministers and the leading global platform for dialogue on transport policy.
Where we come from
The International Transport Forum was created on 18 May 2006 by ministers from 43 countries. The roots of ITF go back to 1953, when 16 European nations established the European Conference of Ministers of Transport (ECMT), an international organisation by treaty, to “coordinate and rationalise European inland transport of international importance”. The ECMT remains the legal core of today’s International Transport Forum.
Go to “Protocol concerning the European Conference of Ministers of Transport” (1953)
ECMT and ITF resolutions, recommendations and reports have informed transport policy decisions on issues as diverse as railroad regulation and road safety, accessibility and environmental standards, or market liberalisation for international road haulage services. Seat belts, helmets for motorcyclists, speed limits, blood alcohol limits and targeted traffic education programmes were all pioneered by ECMT before becoming the norm.
More recently, ITF has been instrumental in the Mexican government’s 2014 decision to set up a regulatory body for rail freight regulation, and we supported the UK Airports Commission in doing the groundwork for a politically difficult decision about expanding London’s airport capacity.
We have worked to devise an inclusive public transport strategy for remote and sparsely populated areas with Finland and are creating a logistics observatory for Chile to provide the government with reliable data for freight policy. We helped the governments of Jamaica, Vietnam and Argentina to reduce road fatalities through twinnings with ITF member countries that have been hailed as “model of a multi-country effort” by the World Health Organization. ITF’s road safety data has been called “the best in the world” by Global NCAP, the Global New Car Assessment Programme.
The Annual Summit of the ITF has established itself as the leading global transport policy event since its launch in 2008. It brings together transport ministers, CEOs, Heads of International Organisations and thought leaders to discuss strategic issues and align views. More than 1000 participants from over 70 countries meet each May in Leipzig, Germany, for what has been called the ‘Davos of Transport’.
In a regulatory capacity, ITF manages the Multilateral Quota system of licenses for international road haulage operations
Our global outlook
ITF started as a regional organisation, 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, 22 Eastern European countries and Russia joined following the end of the Cold War. 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, member country ministers 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 ECMT thus evolved into the first and only transport organisation with a global mandate across all modes of transport.
Since then, Argentina (2015), Chile (2012), China (2011), India (2009), Israel (2015) and Morocco (2015) have become full members of ITF, taking the membership to 57 countries as of 28 May 2015.
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 has 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).
The International Transport Forum is designed to be a flexible, efficient and politically responsible institution that creates value for its members. The Forum is administratively integrated into the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), but it is politically independent, and many of its member countries are not OECD members.
ITF's main organs are: