On 16 and 17 March 2009, the 5th World Rail Security Congress was held in Marrakesh at the invitation of Moroccan railways (ONCF), the first such congress to be held by the UIC Security Platform since its restructuring in May 2008. The Platform is chaired by Mr Tadeusz Kaczmarek (PKP PLK SA), its Vice-Chairman is Mr Moha Khaddour (ONCF).
The Congress brought together participants from 23 countries representing railways or administrations from across the world (Europe, Asia, Middle East, Africa, North America), professional partners (UITP, EIM), and international institutions (UNECE, the G8 IWGLTS, the European FRONTEX agency, OSJD, etc.), with which the UIC Competence Centre for Security is in regular contact, security being a responsibility shared between the railways, national authorities and international institutions.
The Congress was opened in the presence of the Moroccan authorities by Mr Mohamed Rabie Khlie, Chief Executive of ONCF, representing the Minister of Infrastructure and Transport Mr Karim Ghellab.
He highlighted the development of rail projects in Morocco, in particular the beginning of work to build a high speed line, and underscored the strategic importance of security as a key component in the quality of rail services demanded by customers.
Mr Vipin Sharma, UIC Deputy Chief Executive, noted the importance of the work done by the Platform and the Competence Centre for Security as part of UIC’s global dimension.
Mr Tadeusz Kaczmarek recalled the Security Platform’s objective of making the railways “a place of peace, safety, security and cooperation”, and restated the way it had organised its work to best meet UIC members’ needs. The Platform’s members have shared experience to enable each of them to make progress as part of a consistent strategy, and to promote all concrete forms of partnership and cooperation both amongst the railways and between the railways and other national or international institutional partners.
The round table session chaired by Mr Paul Véron, UIC Communications Director, highlighted the policies applied in various regions of the world to meet the common challenge of security. A specific seminar on terrorism is set to be held by UIC and Indian Railways in autumn 2009.
The various international institutions represented stressed the value of their partnerships with UIC and presented the current status of their work and ongoing projects.
Technological aspects were tackled by both the railways and the manufacturing sector (Alstom Transport), and a debate was opened on the impact of the changing structure of railway undertakings on the roles and competences of security staff.
The final declaration adopted unanimously by participants emphasises the need to continue work on security with both a global outlook taking account of risks and threats, and a focus on each UIC Region. The declaration highlights the need for international-level decisions regarding rail security to strengthen existing arrangements, and requests that the suitability of creating a competent international authority be examined.