Wednesday 28 September 2022

The Ministers’ Roundtable at ITF Summit

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Since 2016, ITF (the International Transport Forum) has convened the “Roundtable on Transport and Climate Change”, with the 6th session taking place this year at the annual ITF Summit in Leipzig. The ministers gathered from around the world to explore how better transport connectivity can help integrate regions – from local communities and cities to global areas – and enable economic, social, and environmental goals to be achieved, addressing the necessity of a modal shift towards public transport, including rail, bus and active mobility.

The roundtable was held on 19 May 2022 and, François Davenne, the UIC Director General, participated as an advocate for the railways together with six ministers from around the world, including the Ministry of Transport for Egypt (as Egypt will host COP27), along with Daniele Violetti from UNFCCC, Mohamed Mezghani from UITP, and Michael Peter from Siemens Mobility.

As the Minister’s Roundtable was a closed meeting, the Summary Report has just been made available by the ITF and discloses the content of the discussion. The countries participating in the session focused on being more ambitious in terms of transport to prepare for COP 27 in November 2022 in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt. This event served as a platform for transport ministers to share policy priorities and exchange ideas on transport results.

The Glasgow Agreement, a result of COP26, was also a central focus of the meeting, due to the commitments made to implement changes in different modal areas. It was recognised that much of the transport dialogue at COP26 focused on electric vehicles, and therefore, roundtable participants highlighted that a modal shift to rail, in particular, is central to fulfilling climate goals in the transport sector.

The railway is pivotal for engendering a modal shift in transportation

The roundtable identified rail as being central to shifting transport modality and highlighted the increased use of public transport to be essential in decarbonising the sector. Participants underpinned that the rail’s main pillar of strength is its energy efficiency. It was agreed that using public transport needs to become more common, and that policy makers should look to flatten the peak by increasing opportunities for citizens to use public transport, for example via travel cards which are valid for the entire transport system.

Governments, working with the private sector, must ensure increased investment in new infrastructure projects, new rolling stock, and the deployment of innovative technology.

To be more attractive, the railways must:

  • Become more “intelligent” by being better interlinked with other transport sectors.
  • Provide attractive rail service offers.
  • Improve service in order to reach those who may not usually take a train, as removing barriers to travelling can ensure that the service is more welcoming which encourages up-take.
  • Be the most attractive low-carbon option for citizens to travel with. It was noted that although many railways are now electric, continuing this process or introducing other forms of electric rail vehicles such as hydrogen fuel cells or battery-powered trains is still an important priority.

At COP27, the UIC will continue to advocate for a modal shift to railways and for its transport share to increase by 50% by 2030, through the joint communication campaign “More Trains”. To learn more about the campaign, please contact


(Source: 2022MRT1_Transport and Climate Change_Summary Report.pdf (

For further information, please contact contact Lucie Anderton, Head of the Sustainable Unit at

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