UIC hosted a side event during the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Africa Climate Week on 28 September.
The two-hour session was moderated by Lucie Anderton, Head of Sustainability at UIC.
Mohamed Rabie Khlie, Chairman of UIC Africa and UIC Vice-Chairman, noted during his opening speech that the Green Deal for African railways being launched the same day represented a moral contract reflecting the collective commitment and voice of the railway community.
UIC Director General François Davenne welcomed and applauded the leadership being demonstrated by the railways of Africa, which are targeting carbon neutrality by 2050. He declared that UIC would be calling for action to invest in and support rail in Africa and globally at COP26.
During the discussion, the African Union representative stressed that digitalisation has become an important factor in improved network efficiency and customer experience. UN Habitat presented the potential for railway development, as well as challenges in transitioning to sustainable urbanisation and mobility. Bolloré Railways shared its experience of challenges for the railway sector in Africa, while ITDP shared best practice on better public transport design for a sustainable Africa. The speakers discussed the ways in which rail and public transport, as the greenest form of high-volume transport, have the ability to help transform Africa’s cities and transport systems.
As a part of the UNFCCC, UIC Africa launched its new sustainability pledge for the African region. The pledge unites UIC Africa members with a common commitment: carbon neutrality on the African railways and market share growth to reach 25% by 2050. The pledge sets out a plan for achievement of these goals while supporting workforce wellbeing. It pledge seeks to promote modal shift to rail through process and digital innovation and charging policies to enable an accessible, seamlessly connected and effective customer experience.
The railways will work toward the goal of decarbonisation through energy efficiency, eco-design and circularity principles, the planned phasing out of diesel services, and prioritisation of renewable energy sources. The pledge also sets out the importance of regional collaboration, knowledge sharing and integration.
UIC Africa also sent out a call for action to bolster the development of African railways and support sustainable mobility in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The manifesto and dedicated video are available at https://uic.org/sustainability/article/sustainable-railways-africa