Friday 4 March 2022

UIC participated in the 84th session of the Inland Transport Committee

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On the occasion of the commemoration of the UNECE’s 75th anniversary of the Inland Transport Committee, UIC participated in a ministerial segment on 22 February 2022. The theme was “75 Years of ITC: Connecting Countries and Driving Sustainable Mobility”. This theme created space for reflection on the Committee’s past achievements, current performance and future trajectory, highlighting its evolution and underlying its future potential.

Several opening statements were given in the morning by Mr Georges Gilkinet, Minister for Mobility, Belgium (chairing country of the ITC), Ms Elisabeth Tichy-Fisslberger, Chair, Economic Commission for Europe, Ms Tatiana Valovaya, Director-General, UNOG, Ms Olga Algayerova, Executive Secretary, UNECE, and Mr Yuwei Li, Director, Sustainable Transport Division, UNECE. Together with Ms Lucia Luijten, Secretary General, Central Commission for the Navigation of the Rhine (CCNR), Mr Francois Davenne, Director General, UIC, had the pleasure of moderating a panel entitled “ITC – Inland transport as a catalyst of sustainable mobility and sustainable development”. The floor was given to:

  • Mr Adil Karaismailoğlu, Minister of Transport and Infrastructure, Turkey
  • Mr Mark Harbers, Minister of Infrastructure and Water Management, the Netherlands
  • Ms Merav Michaeli, Minister of Transport and Road Safety, Israel
  • Ms Ashath Nahula, Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation, the Maldives
  • Mr Kwaku Ofori Asiamah, Minister for Transport, Ghana

Mr Karaismailoğlu highlighted the fact that “the transport sector is of critical importance when it comes to increasing mobility. Policy makers must put the concepts of decarbonisation, electrification, resilience, digitalisation and inclusivity at the centre of their policies, in order to minimise the external effects of transportation. It is our common responsibility to ensure effective regulation.”

Ms Michaeli said: “Talking about connectivity and mobility is not enough. Transport plays a critical role in the opportunities and the choices we have as individuals and as societies. We must urgently seek ways to change mindsets. Women must be at the heart of this discussion, because it is women who must benefit the most from increased mobility. Transport is and must continue to be a catalyst for sustainable mobility and development.”

High-level speeches were also given by:

  • Mr Kris Peeters, Vice-President, European Investment Bank
  • Mr Anouar Benazzouz, Vice-President, IRF
  • Ms Karen Vancluysen, Secretary General, POLIS
  • Mr Mohamed Mezghani, Secretary General of UITP

Ms Vancluysen underlined that “to achieve at least a 55% reduction in emissions by 2030, we must accelerate the shift to sustainable urban mobility. This requires substantial changes in policies, services, fleet and infrastructure. And cities hold the key to a major role in these changes. What we need is modal shift, but we also need a space shift, a cost shift, a risk shift and an investment shift.”

Mr Mezghani said that “fewer cars used in cities thanks to public transport, combined with safer urban design for pedestrians and cyclists and greater public awareness will reduce emissions, accidents and congestion.” He made three key points:

  • Strengthening public transport should be the priority for decision makers in all countries.
  • Alternative funding schemes, such as congestion charges or road pricing, should be considered.
  • Technological measures are not the panacea, as they have an impact on social inclusion, on reducing congestion, on accessibility, on health and on road safety. In fact, the fastest and most cost effective way to decarbonise people’s daily mobility and reduce the footprint of their journey is to promote public transport, walking and cycling.

He finished by saying: “Together, we can influence policies and budgets to ensure clear priority is given to people’s wellbeing and health by investing in public transport.”

At the end of the panel, Mr Davenne reminded participants that UIC provides technical solutions for railways and that “we have a crucial challenge struggling against climate change”. He specifically emphasised that UIC is fully committed to its goal to ‘Design a Better Future’, by promoting concrete practical solutions and transformational projects.

Among the key messages heard during the panel, most prominent was the need to develop mobility, including micro-mobility, over the next 10 years by:

  • considering inclusivity/diversity,
  • changing paradigm,
  • following a more frugal approach, and
  • developing concrete solutions.

UIC congratulates UNECE on the 75th anniversary of ICT.

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