“Within the scope of the 28th Session of the UNECE Working Party on Transport Trends and Economics from 7 – 9 September 2015 in Geneva, the International Union of Railways (UIC) was invited to participate and provide its views on the Workshops “Road and Rail transport corridors along Europe and Asia”, by Mr Roman Rebets (UIC International Railway Advisor for Russian and CIS affairs), “Vulnerability and Security of Critical Infrastructure” by Mr José Pires (UIC Senior Security Advisor) and as well on the review of the transport situation, transport trends and economics in the ECE region, providing the current state of the art with regard to Transport Trends and Challenges in the Rail Sector, by Mr Airy Magnien (UIC Data, Statistics & Economics Unit ).
Workshop on “Vulnerability and security of Critical Infrastructure”
It was in 2010 that the Inland Transport Committee (ECE/TRANS/208, para. 91) recommended that the UNECE Transport Division, in partnership with member States, international organisations, private sector, and academia continue its work aimed at enhancing inland transport security, in particular by organising events to exchange information and share best practices.
Within that scope the session was opened by Mr Konstantinos Alexopoulos (UNECE) that set the tone for the following discussions and presentations, focusing on the need for the transport infrastructures to quickly adapt to the current challenges from the “new” threats and risks, manmade and natural hazards; damage to critical infrastructure, its destruction or disruption by natural disasters, terrorism, criminal activity or malicious behaviour, may have a significant negative impact for the security and well-being of citizens.
Critical infrastructure is an asset or system which is essential for the maintenance of vital societal functions that include installations in the transport fields ranging from intermodal hubs and freight villages to rail and road bridges, tunnels, etc. Its vulnerability mostly comes from its length and operations, being difficult to cover “everything” at all times.
Within that range of complexity and safety and security challenge to protect those transport infrastructures, UIC has drawn attention to the current state of the art of the European Programme for Critical Infrastructure Protection (EPCIP). EPCIP sets the overall framework for activities aimed at improving the protection of critical infrastructure in Europe – across all EU States and in all relevant sectors of economic activity. The threats to which the programme aims to respond are not only confined to terrorism, but also include criminal activities, natural disasters and other causes of accidents. In short, it seeks to provide an all-hazards cross-sectoral approach.
A key pillar of this programme is the 2008 Directive on European Critical Infrastructures. It establishes a procedure for identifying and designating European Critical Infrastructures (ECI) and a common approach for assessing the need to improve their protection. The directive has a sectoral scope, applying only to the energy and transport sectors. Nevertheless, with regard to the rail transport network in Europe, to be further effective it would need an update to fit a “Critical Infrastructure” with regard to its functions and services. Nevertheless the directive today provides a large scope to operators to develop their infrastructure security plans in order to develop an adequate level of protection against disruption on society and citizens as much as possible.
With that in mind, and acting on the prevention side UIC has in the last years worked and participated in numerous research project and activities on the Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP), the most relevant being the CIPRNet Project (https://www.ciprnet.eu/). The Critical Infrastructure Preparedness and Resilience Research Network or CIPRNet establishes a Network of Excellence in Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP).
CIPRNet performs research and development that addresses a wide range of stakeholders including (multi)national emergency management, critical infrastructure operators, policy makers, and society. By integrating resources of the CIPRNet partners acquired in more than 60 EU co-funded research projects, CIPRNet will create new advanced capabilities for its stakeholders. A key technology for the new capabilities will be modelling, simulation and analysis for CIP. CIPRNet builds a long-lasting virtual centre of shared and integrated knowledge and expertise in CIP. This virtual centre shall provide durable support from research to end users. It will form the foundation for the European Infrastructures Simulation & Analysis Centre (EISAC) by 2020.
Furthermore and because railway infrastructure is exposed to all kind of threats and risks, UIC reported that a dedicated workshop under the scope of “Coping with Terrorism on the Railways: the role of Human Factors – High-Level UIC and Russian Railways (RZD) was held in Paris from 16 – 17 June. Within the framework of its security activities and with Russian Railways (RZD) as Chair of the UIC Security Working Group dedicated to Human Factors, this was one of the requests by UIC members, and a response from experts from Europe, Iran, India, Israel, the United States... The initial idea was to create a training session for experts, as Mr Bobreshov, RZD (Russian Railways) Vice-President reminded the members, but the series of terrorist attacks that affected France and other countries at the beginning of the year changed the initiative into a more high-level workshop focusing more on prevention and on the aspects of Human Factors, a paramount factor to improve the protection of the rail transport critical infrastructure and services.
Among many other threats it was considered by the 71 registered participants representing 40 companies and organisations from 22 countries that the level of the global terrorist threats requires cooperation to be improved between the various rail companies, national authorities and the relevant international bodies.
Finally, UIC has extended its support and collaboration to all present, in particular to the UNECE Inland Transport Security Forum of the Inland Transport Committee (ITC), in order to further address in the near future the evolution of threats including cyber threats, to improve the understanding of feeling of security versus an objective level of security and training of staff on security awareness of threats and vulnerabilities, professional skills.