Wednesday 12 July 2023

102nd UIC General Assembly

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Renewal of the mandates of the Chair and Vice-Chair,
Memorandum of Understanding with ERJU on FRMCS, OpenRail Foundation
More Trains campaign and COP28, Gender equality

The Executive Board and the 102nd General Assembly of UIC, the worldwide railway organisation, were held respectively on 6 and 7 July 2023, in hybrid mode.

The meetings were chaired by UIC Chair Mr Krzysztof Mamiński and UIC Director General Mr François Davenne. They were held in the presence of around 65 Members at UIC Headquarters, and in the presence of online Members. “These meetings have taken place in a spirit of trust; the world is not as stable as we would like it to be. Rail must be the driving force behind this growth and development, and this is a priority for all of us” said Mr. Mamiński.

Ms Rana Adib, Executive Director of REN21, gave a keynote speech. REN21 is the only global renewable energy community of actors from science, governments, NGOs and industry. REN21 provides up-to-date and peer-reviewed facts, figures and analysis of global developments in technology, policies and markets. Their goal is to enable decision-makers to make the shift to renewable energy happen – now. The main message heard is as follows: “Regarding the link between rail and renewable energies, there is a real opportunity to accelerate rail’s decarbonisation and build a resilient energy supply, reduce energy costs and manage them better; so it’s important to invest and act today to secure tomorrow’s supplies. There is also a need for greater coordination of strong investment policies and lobbying of governments”.

All these highly instructive key messages can also be found in a new UIC brochure published following the UIC World Congress on High-Speed Rail (available online soon). They will provide a framework for the forthcoming debates that UIC is currently conducting on the international stage with its other partners.

Report from the UIC Chairman. Mr Krzysztof Mamiński began by referring to the meeting of the Regional Chairs Meeting (RCM) held earlier this week. This meeting, which has been held twice a year for two years now, is one of the practical ways of helping to develop the UIC’s regional dimension. The meeting also highlighted the importance of developing joint projects between regions. On this subject, he declared: “three days ago, together with the heads of the individual UIC Regions, we had the opportunity to discuss topics which are important to UIC, as well as to the individual regions that make up our organisation. During this meeting, we had the opportunity to exchange views on the UIC’s regional development priorities. I was pleased to note that the work programmes have become much more detailed since last year”.

He also pointed out that interest in standardisation and specification activities is undoubtedly growing worldwide. Moreover, “as investment in the railways is increasingly prioritised, there is a growing appreciation of UIC’s ability to provide technical solutions and act as a global forum for the exchange of best practices”.

He then spoke about the 2023-2025 work programme, now in its first year of implementation, by recalling the five UIC strategic priorities for this period. He followed by: “The promotion of rail is increasingly linked to sustainability issues. Rail must play a leading role in decarbonising the transport sector globally and regionally. It is not only the most sustainable but is also the only mass mode of transport that is currently ready to effectively face the challenges of climate change. It must therefore be at the heart of the development of future mobility and global logistics chains. We must strive for this together and make it happen together. For this to happen, the rail community must intensify its efforts to further promote the clear advantages of rail in public discourse and to make it more attractive and competitive in the eyes of current and potential users, as well as all decision-makers. UIC seeks to play a clear role in the transport-related initiatives that are beginning to develop in the context of the COP Climate Summits”.

Report from the UIC Director General.We are developing very concrete programmes in each region, with in-depth work in a team spirit. It’s worth noting that 81% of our members are satisfied, and in particular that the association’s dynamism has improved. The key for UIC has been to make the added value of the UIC visible again. Communication on this subject is increasing. We signed an agreement with ERA in December 2021, which is at the heart of this strategy, enabling us to strengthen a number of aspects (more than 10 annexes). We have been able to build a relationship of trust with the Agency. The standards and specifications give us a very clear role and mandate. We are active in the research programme, and we have been awarded CEF funding for the DP Rail platform. We are in the right place and we have the right ecosystem to develop solutions.

As far as the regional strategies are concerned, we have developed key partnerships at European level. We are going to do the same thing in the other regions. We have drawn up a clear map of needs so that we can then create user groups and identify key partnerships. The UIC is also recognised de facto for its documents which are recognised as operational standards. It is very important to internationalise our outreach.

We need your support to strengthen the railways’ voice at the COP. We are going to coordinate new work on financing: how to finance transitions. With Alstom and the University of Birmingham, we are coordinating work to bring very concrete ideas to the COP. Next steps: we need to formalise our institutional relations more effectively, by forging solid partnerships; this is already the case in Europe, but now we need to do the same outside Europe. This is key if we want to extend projects outside Europe. These key partnerships need to be identified at institutional level and with financial partnerships. We are only at the beginning of the process”.

Governance issue. The mandates of both Mr K. Mamiński (PKP) and Mr M. Khlie (ONCF), respectively as Chair and vice-Chair of the UIC, come to an end on 31 December 2023. At the Annual General Assembly Meeting, their terms of office were renewed for two years, until December 2025. With this stability in its governance, UIC can continue on its path of progress.

Agreements with third parties. The General Assembly approved a Memorandum of Understanding with Europe’s Rail Joint Undertaking (ERJU) on Future Railway Mobile Communication System (FRMCS). UIC is involved as technical platform in ERJU, a major European Research Programme. In this context, UIC has negotiated an MoU with ERJU regarding the Future Railway Mobile Communication System (FRMCS) which is one of the major projects UIC is developing. The goal of this MoU, by recognising the role of UIC for the development of FRMCS specifications and more generally for leading the FRMCS programme that defines this new railway system, is to enable the strategic and operational alignment between ERJU and UIC regarding FRMCS. This has to be considered also as an important step to facilitate the potential European financing for the project Morane 2 (finalisation of a first market ready FRMCS version and ecosystem).

OpenRail Foundation. The objective is to provide a collaborative space for opensource innovation in the railway sector. The first potential projects likely to be shared in open source within the Foundation have already been identified, as well as some potential new members.

More Trains campaign and COP28. The 2023 Global Advocacy strategy was presented at the meeting, including the work of the “More Trains campaign” and key messages to be presented at COP28. A review and update of regional climate and global event presence were summarised. Members heard how they can get involved and support the key advocacy moments so that Railways can speak with one powerful voice to promote rail as an important climate solution.

Gender equality. On the sidelines of the UIC General Assembly, François Davenne opened the TRAIN 2B EQUAL event this morning on “change making for gender equality in Rail”. “Today we kick off addressing an important issue: bridging the gender data gap in the rail sector. This is the commitment we made in our recently adopted new UIC Work Programme for 2023-2025. Today, we are giving ourselves the means by launching the first stage of this process, in which each and every one of you can take part. To better cater women in our stations and trains, and those who work in our companies, we need to properly collect data and analyze it, and use it as valuable input in planning and design of operations, stations, infrastructure, etc. The next public workshop will address the topics of security, gender responsive design at stations and infrastructure, and finally, hiring processes and the work environment.” He added that all those aspects should be embedded in the training policy.

Finance. The General Assembly approves the 2022 accounts.

Membership. The following members have applied for UIC membership:


  • The Railway Safety Regulator (RSR), South Africa, as affiliate member


  • Research & Design Institute Group (CRSCD), China, as affiliate member


  • Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education (BCRRE) as affiliate member
  • MEDWAY Maintenance & Repair (MEDWAY M&R, Rolling stock maintenance and repair company from Portugal, as affiliate member

Latin America

  • Ferrocarriles Argentinos Sociedad del Estado (FASE) - State Railways of Argentina as associate member

The 103rd General Assembly will be held on 15 December 2023.

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