1st Asia-Pacific Rail Summit

23 October 2023, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia


The Asia-Pacific region has experienced rapid urbanization, population growth, and economic development, leading to an increase in transport demand. The rising affluence and expanding middle class have resulted in a surge in private vehicle ownership, road traffic, and the movement of goods. According to the Asian Transport Outlook, transport activity will grow massively in the coming decade (2.7% passenger and 5% freight activity annual increase from 2020 to 2030), which is expected to increase CO2 emissions from transport in the region by 25% by 2030.

It is crucial to recognize the potential of the rail sector in driving sustainable transport and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Compared to road transport, rail offers several environmental advantages, such as lower carbon emissions, reduced air pollution, and improved energy efficiency. By shifting transportation from road to rail, countries in the Asia-Pacific region can make substantial progress towards achieving their climate targets. Despite rapid growth of rail in some Asian countries, with existing policies, railway infrastructure expansion would continue to lag behind road expansion (1.9% vs 3.5% annual increase in road kilometres over 2020-2030). Investing in the rail sector brings, not only environmental benefits through avoided emissions, but can also have a positive impact on energy efficiency, air quality, road congestion, whilst promoting economic development and access to communities.

The Aichi Declaration recognises the important role of rail in regional connectively and sustainable mobility in Asia. This event will consider the role of rail in delivery of the Aichi Declaration as a backbone of a multi-modal sustainable mobility system that leaves no one behind.

The International Union of Railways is partnering with the UN Center for Regional Development (UNCRD), Malaysia Ministry of Transport, Asia Development Bank to invite policymakers in the Asia Pacific region for a one-day policy lab experience, where participants will collaborate on four key topics:

  • Long term policy to boost Rail: how Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) can serve as a powerful tool to ensure the right policy signals for long term vision on rail development as a climate solution? This discussion will be based on the UIC analysis of NDCs for the region and will connect to the Aichi Declaration objectives.
    • Expected outcomes: identify key aspects of rail that should be addressed in the new cycle of NDCs, how they can connect with other local policy and strategy and how to bridge that gap.
  • Gender equality: how can rail companies be agents of transformation and promote gender equality as employers and as service providers? Discussion will be based on UIC and member learning on gender equality in the rail sector, focusing on best practice exchange in improving the experience of women as workers and as passengers of rail.
    • Expected outcomes: organizations identify priority areas and develop a preliminary workplan to drive change as well as policy tools that can accelerate change.
  • Railway project funding and financing: what are they key barriers for investment in the rail sector and how to address them? Discussion will be based on insights from a Finance study, under development by UIC with partners, on how to increase climate finance for rail in LMICs, as well as on the proposed investment target for countries in the region, proposed by ATO study.
    • Expected outcomes: deepening and validation of preliminary conclusions of the study and of proposed investment target.
  • UIC Rail Declaration for the EST: demonstrating support for policy that advance the rail sector as a climate solution in Asia Pacific. Expected outcomes: a joint declaration of support of forward-looking policy actions that can make rail a key actor in the future of sustainable transport in Asia


  • Policy makers Ministry of Transport and Environment at Asian Countries (UNCRD Members)
  • Multi-lateral Banks and finance institutions – ADB AIIB
  • UIC members in the region


Master of Ceremony: Milko Papazoff, UIC ASEAN Representative

Opening Session and Keynote Speeches 09.00am to 09.45am

Opening welcoming remarks from host organisations

  • Mr. Francois Davenne, DG, UIC
  • Mr. Choudhury Rudra Charan Mohanty, Environment Programme Coordinator, UNCRD
  • Mr. Jamie Leather, Transport Director, ADB

Guest Keynote Speech

  • Hon. Datuk Haji Hasbi Habibollah, Deputy Minister of Transport, Malaysia

Session 1: Railway Sustainable Development and Long-Term Planning 10.00am to 11.30am

Topics for Session 1: Referencing relevant section of the Aichi 2030 Declaration
(2021-2030) - Decarbonization of transport, energy efficiency in railways,
natural disaster mitigation, and climatic conditions adaptation in Asia Pacific.

Intro presentation: State of Play – Long term policy planning railways in Asia & Pacific

  • Mr. Adwait Limaye, Senior Data Analyst, Asian Transport Outlook
  • Ms. Lucie Anderton, Head of Sustainability, UIC

Panel Discussion

  • Mr. Mohamed Suhaimi Yaacob, CCO, KTMB, Malaysia
  • Mr. Hasry Harun, CEO, MRDC
  • Mr. Sandeep Jain, Economic Affairs Officer (Transport), UNESCAP
  • Mr. Adwait Limaye, Senior Data Analyst, Asian Transport Outlook-ATO

Moderator : Ms. Lucie Anderton, Head of Sustainability, UIC
Moderated discussion based on guiding questions with possibility for audience Q+A

Session 2: Gender Equality in Railway 11.30am to 01.00pm

Topics for Session 2: Action on gender equality in rail in the Asia Pacific aspassengers and workforce, training programmes, link to Aichi 2030 Declaration (2021-2030)Intro presentation: Global overview of UIC activities in gender equality

  • Ms. Joo Hyun Ha – Senior Sustainability Advisor, UIC

Panel Discussion

  • Ms. Natasha Zulkifli, Director, Women in Rail, Malaysia Chapter
  • Mr. Tom Sargant, UIC Pacific Representative, Australia
  • Dr. Leong Yuen Yoong, Director, Sustainability Studies, UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network and Co-Lead, ASEAN Green Future Project, Professor at Sunway University
  • Ms. Celeste Lauta, Deputy G.M., PNR, Philippines (tbc)

Moderator : Ms. Joo Hyun Ha – Senior Sustainability Advisor, UIC
Moderated discussion based on guiding questions with possibility for audience Q+A

Session 3: Railway Project Funding and Financing 02.00pm to 03.30pm

Topics for Session 3: existing international funds / financial mechanisms, Climate finance, PPP and PFI models, international and multilateral cooperation options

Intro Presentation:

  • Ms. Lucie Anderton, Head of Sustainability, UIC

Panel Discussion

  • Mr. Jamie Leather, Transport Director, ADB
  • Mr. Bassam Mansour, Lead Consultant, HSS, Malaysia
  • Mr. Vibek Gupta, Investment Board Nepal
  • Dr. Guineng CHEN, Team Lead - Asia Outreach Lead, International Transport Forum
  • Mr. Benedict Eijbergen, World Bank, Singapore (invited)

Moderator: Mr. Cornie Huizenga, Advisor, Regional EST, and Co-Team Leader, ATO
Moderated discussion based on guiding questions with possibility for audience Q+A

Session 4: UIC APRA Vision of Rail 2030 03.45pm to 05.30pm

Topics for Session 4: Rail chapter of the Policy Recommendations for the Implementation of the Aichi 2030 Declaration prepared by UIC focusing on what can be done to achieve the Aichi Goal and how this can be achieved

Intro presentation:

  • Ms. Joo Hyun Ha, Senior Advisor (Sustainability), UIC
  • Policy Implementation Lab – parallel facilitated working sessions
    Moderator: Ms. Lucie Anderton, Head of Sustainability, UIC

Group Feedback on key outputs

Closing Remarks 05.30pm to 06.00pm
Key takeaways and expected outcomes based on first APRS, including links to the 15th EST High Level Forum, other regional events and COP28.

Declaration of support for rail actions to Aichi 2030 declaration.

6-8pm Welcome reception for APRS and EST Participants by UIC
Venue: Le Meridien Kuala Lumpur


With big thanks to our Silver Sponsor:

Venue :

Le Méridien Kuala Lumpur
2 Jalan Stesen Sentral, Kuala Lumpur Sentral, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 50470



Ms. Beatrice SEGERAL: segeral@uic.org

Mr. Milko PAPAZOFF: fapmilko@gmail.com

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Thursday 7 September 2023