On 5 November 2009 the UIC members signed a joint declaration stating that rail was part of the solution to combat CO2 emissions in the transport sector and that UIC and its members were committed to further strengthen their efforts in this area. The declaration was symbolically carried by train from Kyoto to Brussels before rejoining the Climate Express.
Despite the disappointing outcome of the Copenhagen conference – in which players had placed high hopes – the campaign organised by UIC around the Train to Copenhagen and Climate Express initiatives will have helped raise considerable awareness amongst the participants of the large environmental responsibility transport activities have, and of potential avenues for realigning future mobility policies.
Further evidence underlining the importance of this advantage for the sector is that the railways are currently being called on to sign the “UIC declaration on mobility and sustainable transport” – presented at the General Assembly in Tokyo in June 2010 and backed by UNEP – intended to show the outside world the railway sector’s desire to position itself as the mode of transport for sustainable development and to embody the railways’ willingness to further improve their environmental performance in all the areas this proves possible. UIC, together with its members and generally also with the railway supply industry, commits a substantial amount of its resources and budgets to projects on sustainable development. In this context, mention should be made of the work carried out on environmental indicators and eco-comparison tools for the carriage of passengers (EcoPassenger) and freight (EcoTransIT – with global coverage), studies on energy efficiency and diminished energy consumption, reducing diesel engine pollution and wagon noise, and the introduction of environmental restrictions into calls for tender for rolling stock procurements (UIC leaflets, updating standards together with the supply industry), etc