The UIC Sustainability Conference 2012, organised by FS and UIC, is being held in Venice from 25 – 27 October 2012. On the first day the conference featured high-level speakers from the United Nations, the EU Commission, Italian Government and the European Parliament, along with senior leaders from the railway sector and an audience of over 200 delegates to discuss a sustainable future for the railway sector; among them Mr Mauro Moretti, CEO of Italian Railways and Vice-President of UIC, Mr Vladimir Yakunin, President of Russian Railways (RZD), Mr Marc Juhel from the World Bank, Mr Ralph Wahnschafft from the UN.
Jean-Pierre Loubinoux, UIC Director-General, opened the conference saying that “Transport is the fastest growing sector in terms of emissions and rail is one of the main actors in achieving a solution.”
He reminded the audience of UIC’s mission statement: “To promote rail transport at world level and meet the challenges of mobility and sustainable development, using a systematic complementary approach: strategy, improvement and communication.”
Then Mr Loubinoux announced that UIC has been invited to join a working group to prepare the UN Secretary General’s High Level Panel on Sustainable Transport.
Mr Loubinoux’s opening speech was followed by Mr Moretti who declared: “to achieve the environment goals, we need strong government commitment between countries; we should enhance economy and competition by eliminating political barriers.”
He emphasised the “important role of rail in cities and not only as a long distance transport mode.” Finally, according to the Italian motto he said “we should tackle the most polluted modes first.”
Mr Yakunin praised UIC’s role in promoting rail as a sustainable way to develop economies and meet the challenges of society, stressed the importance of the Declaration for Sustainability signed by 50 prominent railways and underlined RZD’s ambitions to modernise and improve its services, forming a link between markets and continents.
The conference’s main topics are addressing: railway development in the framework of the three pillars of sustainability: economic, social, environmental; the role of legislative framework in the development of sustainable railway transportation; rail and sustainable cities.
On the second day, along with parallel sessions of the UIC Sustainability Networks, the RIVAS project will be holding its mid-term conference. Funded within the 7th Framework Programme (FP7) of the European Commission, this project aims at reducing the environmental impact of ground-borne vibrations while safeguarding the commercial competitiveness of the railway sector. The conference will take stock of the achieved research results and will attempt to define the way ahead.
The third edition of the UIC Sustainability Awards will also be held the same day.
The awards will be given out in four categories: Sustainable Mobility, Energy and CO2, Sustainable Land Use and the Jury’s Special Prize.
More information in the next UIC eNews.