The 26th UIC Regional Assembly for the Middle East (UIC RAME) was held online on 8 December. Participating members included TCDD and TCDD Taşımacılık A.Ş. (Turkey), RAI (Iran), IRR (Iraq), ARC (Jordan), and CFS and SHR (Syria).
The meeting was opened by Mr Ali İhsan Uygun, Chairman of the Board, Director General of TCDD and Chairman of RAME. His introduction was followed by words of welcome from Mr François Davenne, UIC Director General. The RAME office also welcomed Regional Assembly participants on behalf of Mr Saeed Rasouli, Iranian Vice-Minister for Roads and Urban Development and Chairman of the Board and President of RAI. All three men acknowledged how UIC’s RAME members had successfully continued their work and had remained united - by making the best possible use of digital tools, for example - in the midst of the Covid-19 crisis. Webinars had proven to be an effective way of working and this format will remain useful in the months to come.
A report on the activities of the UIC Regional Office in the second half of 2020 was presented by the RAME office. Activities included a video conference, “Corridors: a tool to boost international freight”, held on 14 October as a joint initiative from UIC, RAME and APRA, as well as a video conference on rail safety and level crossings held on 30 November as a joint initiative from UIC and RAME. An important document, “Influential Factors in Increasing Freight Transport in Eurasia” was also published by M.E. Regional Office, Tehran, in December 2020.
Mr Thierry Béra, UIC Director of Finance, provided a report on the RAME budget and financial issues. Ms Francoise Enjolras, UIC Web Tools Coordinator, then provided an update for RAME members on the UIC Extranet and its benefits for members.
An update on the Action Plan 2021-2022 was provided by Mr Jerzy Wisniewski, UIC Coordinator for the Middle East, together with UIC RAME members, and the plan was approved. It includes:
- training activities and responses to the training needs of RAME members (2021) and promotion of training programmes with the African Regional Assembly (ARA),
- various workshops on international corridors, telecoms and signalling, safety and security, and sustainability and climate change,
- Middle East Network of Rail Training Centres (MENRTC) meeting to be held in Turkey (2021),
- A seminar on railway harmonisation, standardisation and interoperability to be held in Iran (2021).
To conclude, the RAME railways’ Directors General and Presidents provided a report on the projects and achievements of UIC RAME members.