At the beginning of June, UIC once again reinforced its relationship with the UN by attending the Working Party on Transport Trends and Economics (WP5) at the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE).
From 3 – 5 June 2015, UNECE held the 7th session of the Group of Experts on Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation for Transport Networks at its headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. Following the approval of its establishment by EXCOM in 2011, the Group of Experts regularly meet twice a year. The group recalled the recent publication of the report (ECE/TRANS/238) “Climate Change, Impacts and Adaptation for International Transport Networks” containing several input from the railway experience. The Inland Transport Committee at its 76th session (25 February 2014) welcomed the outcome of the activities and endorsed the main recommendations: climate change adaptation strategies should be based on a real understanding and systematic mapping of vulnerabilities of the main networks within UNECE members to climate changes.
The first part of the meeting was devoted to developing an action plan for the 2015 – 2017 period. The group will have as objective to identify and establish inventories of transport networks which are vulnerable to climate change impacts in a Geographic Information System Environment and develop tools to address potential extreme hazards to selected inland transport infrastructure under different climate scenarios. The group is expected to submit a full report of its accomplishments by the end of 2017.
A lively discussion followed and experts exchanged views on how to structure the envisaged job. UIC, represented by Andrea Braschi, showcased the role of railways in developing research activities within transport adaptation facing climatic changes. He presented the project proposal that UIC submitted to the European Commission within the H2020 research programme. UIC intends to call for an expert group of key people from different sectors and activities (railways, roads, ports, universities, consultants) with knowledge about climate change adaptation to report on business case practices and will welcome the UNECE groups of experts.
UIC therefore looks forward to working with UNECE and widening its collaboration with the United Nations concerning awareness on transport and climate change adaptation.