UIC and UNCRD held a joint online event on sustainable railways in Asia-Pacific on 17 March. The event was a follow-up to the 13th EST (Environmentally Sustainable Transport) Forum in Asia, held online on 10-11 November 2020 (Nagoya and Bangkok). UIC has been a regular partner of this event since the seventh edition was held in Bali, Indonesia in April 2013.
Continuing UIC’s collaboration and meetings with international partners in the region, railway experts were invited to take part in the event and learn more about the work of the International Union of Railways in the field of sustainability. Over 110 participants from more than 30 countries across Asia, Oceania and Europe, including speakers and panelists, attended the event and took part in the discussion.
The event was moderated by Milko Papazoff, UIC ASEAN representative. Vincent Vu, UIC Director of Institutional Relations and Coordinator of the UIC Asia-Pacific Region on behalf of François Davenne, UIC Director General, and Choudhury Rudra Charan Mohanty, Secretariat of the Regional EST Forum in Asia at UNCRD, opened the webinar and welcomed the participants.
Following a UIC introduction from Vincent Vu and Lucie Anderton, UIC Head of Sustainability, Cornie Huizenga, CEO of CESG for the Asian Development Bank, presented interesting data on railway infrastructure, passenger and freight, high-speed rail networks and railway emissions to launch the discussion.
The second part of the webinar provided an opportunity to hear about best practices in railway sustainability in the Asia-Pacific region and discuss the shared challenges facing the region’s railways in relation to decarbonisation. The Asia-Pacific region was broadly represented, with very interesting presentations from Australia to Russia, passing through Japan, Malaysia, Indonesia, India and South Korea:
- Sydney train emission reduction strategy by Warwick Talbot, Deputy Executive Director, Network Growth, Strategy, Portfolio and Investment and Mr Rod Barber, Director of Environment, Safety Environment and Risk, Sydney Trains, Australia
- RTRI’s “Research 2025” initiatives for addressing the SDGs by Toru Miyauchi, General Manager, International Development, Railway Technical Research Institute (RTRI), Japan
- National sustainable railway framework development by Hasry Harun, Head Consultant, National Rail Centre of Excellence (NRCOE), Malaysia
- Rail clinic and rail library by Taufikurrahman Taufikurrahman, Executive Vice President, Kereta Api Indonesia (KAI), Indonesia
- Indian railways best practices – sustainability by Arunendra Kumar, Former Railway Board Chairman, Indian Railways, India
- KORAIL sustainability management to connect people, the world, the future by Charlie Yoon, Senior Advisor, Korea Railroad (KORAIL), Korea
- Implementation of environmental strategy at JSC Russian Railways by Evgeniy Klimenkov, Deputy Head of the Division of Ecology, Labour Protection and Industrial Safety at JSC Russian Railways (RZD), Russia
Following the presentations, a round table discussion on the challenges of becoming carbon neutral and how to make rail integral to a green recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic was moderated by Lucie Anderton and Ganesh Raj Joshi, Researcher at UNCRD, with participation from the following panelists: Sanjay Kumar, Chief Materials Manager at Indian Railways, Francisco Furtado, Modeller/Analyst at the International Transport Forum (ITF), Cornie Huizenga, CEO, CESG for the Asian Development Bank (ADB), Dr. Surya Raj Acharya, Visiting Professor at the Institute of Engineering, Tribhuvan University, Nepal, Kulwant Singh, Mobility Specialist and Former Regional Advisor, UN-Habitat, and Sandeep Jain, Economic Affairs Officer at UN-ESCAP, who discussed opportunities for rail to help accelerate a green and just recovery from the pandemic.
It was agreed that UIC and UNCRD and their respective members should continue to cooperate, and further meetings are planned to establish a roadmap, including capacity building.
After four hours of stimulating discussion, Choudhury Rudra Charan Mohanty said: “This UNCRD-UIC joint seminar, specialising in railways, means a lot more than before because we are still in the middle of a pandemic situation and serious climate change”.
Vincent Vu concluded the webinar by saying: “This seminar is useful for policymakers and railway operators alike, and will serve as an opportunity to collaborate more closely as a railway community”.