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UIC at CSD19- Launch of UIC Declaration

The launch of UIC Declaration – Sustainability Reception

Friday 7 September 2012

On the evening of the 11th of May was held the high-level UIC Sustainability Reception, which we organized to formally launch our Sustainability Declaration. There were around 50 high-level guests from national delegations, railway organizations, UN organizations, stakeholders and the Press.

The launch of UIC Declaration at CSD19

The UIC formally launched the Declaration on Sustainable Mobility and Transport, the railway sector’s commitment to sustainable development, during the 19th Commission for Sustainable Development, at UN Headquarters in New-York.

The UIC Declaration on Sustainable Mobility and Transport lists the most important sustainable development goals for the global railway sector. By signing it, member railways are making a public commitment to work towards these objectives and provide progress reports regarding further improving safety, reliability, punctuality, and environmental performance .The Declaration has so far been signed by 50 UIC members representing more than 60% of the total passenger rail market around the world.

The Declaration :

The launch event featured speeches from Mr Sha Zukang, Under Secretary-General of the United Nations, and Mr László Borbély, Chairman of CSD19 and Romanian Environment Minister. Both Mr. Sha and Mr. Borbely warmly welcomed the Declaration and praised the railway sector for taking steps to improve its performance on sustainable development.

Representing the global railway sector were Mr. Vladimir Yakunin, President of the Russian Railways RZD; Mr. Takao Nishiyama, Head of New York Office, Japan Railways Group on behalf of Mr. Yoshio Ishida, Chairman of UIC and Vice-Chairman of East Japan Railway Company; Mr. Al Englel, Vice-President of AMTRAK, and UIC Director-General, Jean-Pierre Loubinoux.

Quotes and speeches

Jean-Pierre Loubinoux said: “Sustainability is a fundamental value shared by UIC members all over the world. With this Declaration UIC and its Members demonstrate rail’s commitment to be at the heart of sustainable transport systems.

Under-Secretary General Mr. Sha Zukang, applauding the launch of the UIC Declaration on Sustainable Mobility, said: “I appreciate the commitments and efforts of the International Union of Railways and its members to promote sustainable development around the world. […] A “green economy” in the context of sustainable development […] will be one of the main themes of Rio+20 in 2012. Options for a “greener economy” would certainly require a “greener transport sector”. Without any doubt, the transport and the railway industries will have an important role to play in the achievement of a “greener economy”.” The whole speech is available here.

Mr. Borbely said: “The sustainable rail transport meets the demands of all three pillars of sustainable development: economic, social, and environmental. I support the development of rail as one of the solutions to sustainable development in the transport sector”. To read the whole speech please click here.

Mr. Yakunin said: “Rail is crucial for economic development worldwide. The world is changing, and rail is changing the world. The Russian rail network is key to the development of both Asia and Europe, but its development requires close cooperation between international railways; cooperation which is facilitated and supported by the UIC.

Mr. Engel said: “Railways in North America already play a crucial role in our economy, and we have the opportunity to develop the sector through new high-speed routes. We look forward to working closely with international partners and the US government to develop high-speed rail lines in the United States.”

Mr. Nishiyama, on behalf of Mr Ishida, said: “The common and most urgent issue throughout the world now is the energy concern. It is certain that resources […] will run out and the price of those resources will rise in the years to come. To solve this problem, […] the strong requirement now is to make a system to use energy efficiently throughout all of society. The railways from now towards the future can become an ever more important mode of transport in all parts of the world. Now the railway companies Iike ourselves, should voluntarily take positive actions to raise the level of safety, reliability, punctuality, cleanness, comfort, and cost reduction, so that each customer will choose the railway as his or her own transport.

To read more opinions please see the message of Yoshio Ishida UIC Chairman and UIC Vice-Chairman and Presidents of
UIC Regional Assemblies messages

The Outcomes

The outcomes of CSD19 were very promising for our sector.

We achieved our objective to have railways specifically mentioned in the output of CSD 19. Specifically, Section 14 (b) of the Transport agreement reached between governments calls for nations to:
"Promote greater use of railways and inland waterways, in particular for high-volume passenger and freight transport over long distances and between cities and commercial centers as well as the modernization of railways and the integration of ports and airports with the hinterland, including through the promotion of technological improvements"

More generally, our Sustainability Reception had the benefit of raising the profile of railways, some of our individual Members (particularly RZD and the North American members AAR and AMTRAK), and the UIC itself, at the highest possible level of the United Nations. We successfully made the point that the global railway is a serious and active participant in sustainable development activities.

We further reinforced our activities with the CSD when attending the Rio+20 conference. More details here.

Below a selection of pictures :