Thursday 8 September 2022

UIC takes part in the Africa Climate Week

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UNFCCC Africa Climate Week was held in Libreville, Gabon, from 29 August to 2 September 2022, bringing together 2000 participants. It is an important milestone event before COP 27 at Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.

On 31 August, UIC organised two official events at ACW, which were moderated by the UIC Africa lead Maria Lafont.

Green Corridors of Gabon: the role of railways in protecting and enhancing biodiversity in Africa: Stefan Mouba, Director General for Environmental Protection at the Ministry of Water and Forests, the Sea and the Environment of Gabon, and Christian Magni, Director General of SETRAG, highlighted environmental concerns surrounding the various investments in new railway lines, focusing on how important the efforts being made to respect nature and the desire to let the local fauna and flora flourish are.

During the discussion both speakers explained that the Ministry for Environment and SETRAG are working together to develop transport capacities which are adapted to the Gabon’s ecosystem. The speakers discussed what the environmental assessments for the development of their projects are, accounting for the fact that the Trans-Gabon Railway line goes through one of the country’s national parks.

Animal trespassing has increased due to the elephant population growing considerably, which has led to studies being conducted on how to limit accidents between animals and trains, alongside the presence of waterways necessitating work on stabilizing infrastructure. Among other actions, SETRAG has launched “green wagons” as part of the company’s social responsibility initiative, a pillar which now also includes the environment. The lively exchange between the speakers also included other topics for example technological improvements, such as the use of materials and recycling, or what materials should be used: should they use concrete, which generates waste, or wood? SETRAG also works closely with the state in order to implement and comply with the environmental regulations.

Building decarbonized and resilient railways and mobility infrastructure in Africa: The talk featured Christian Magni, Director General of SETRAG, and Jerome Angouo, President of ARTF - Autorité de Régulation des Transports Ferroviaires. During this session, the panellists discussed the railway expansion programme and solutions for protecting nature and animals, whilst boosting and growing both regional and urban transport. Financing micro-projects was mentioned in the areas of health, education, and training to support communities along the railways, as part of broader sustainability efforts and goals.

The speakers discussed investment, the role of the environment in railway operations, and went into detail on issues such as operational waste management, in particular locomotive oil draining, new projects on intermodality with river transport, in order to preserve the environment and the climate, as well as the existing agreements for waste management at stations. The last point discussed was considering new requirements for the preservation and treatment of waste, and for dealing with train incidents.

SETRAG discussed how strongly railways are involved with the communities that live alongside the railways, including how they support education, rehabilitate schools through school supplies and micro-projects, and have training opportunities for inhabitants. These micro-projects are also important in the healthcare sector, for example for ophthalmology consultations and distributing glasses, as well creating employment.

Both events were well attended and participants witnessed a lively panel discussion and an interesting audience Q&A. Those there left with a positive opinion regarding sustainability, helping to deliver concrete transformation to railways, and more broadly, the transport and mobility sector.

These talks aligned with UIC’s activities to advocate for railway investment as the backbone of sustainable mobility for the future. It also reflected Agenda 2063, Africa’s development blueprint to achieve inclusive and sustainable socio-economic development as well as the More Trains joint communication campaign that is currently under development and will be launched at COP27 Egypt.

If you are interested, please contact the UIC sustainability team for more information.

Recordings of the sessions will be made available at:

For more information about UIC Africa, please contact Maria Lafont at:

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