The UIC General Assembly was held in Paris on 16 June 2009. The meeting was chaired by Mr Yoshio Ishida, Vice-Chairman of JR East and UIC Chairman, assisted by the UIC Director General Jean-Pierre Loubinoux. Ms Béatrice Dunogué-Gaffié, who had acted as UIC Provisional Administrator until the expiry of her mandate on 23 April 2009, also participated in the meeting in her capacity as chair of the working party set up to draft the new UIC statutes which recently entered into force.
This was the first General Assembly held since the unanimous adoption of the new UIC statutes by the association’s members on 31 March last. Chairman Ishida took the opportunity to congratulate Ms Dunogué-Gaffié on the successful completion of her task and all the work undertaken to finalise the association’s new statutes, which are now accessible to members on the UIC website.
The General Assembly then approved the membership of the UIC Executive Board for 2009-2010. The Executive Board comprises 21 active members appointed by the Regional Assemblies, and is the high-level body whose competences have been modified under the new statutes.
The members of the Executive Board are as follows:
for UIC Africa, Messrs Gama (Transnet Rail, South Africa), Abeke (Setrag), Yobo Gosse (SIPF) and Fitouri (SNCFT, Tunisie);
for UIC Asia, Messrs Huh (Korail), Chen Juemin (Chinese railways), Ishida (East Japan Railways), Khuranna (Indian Railways), Mamin (Kazakhstan railways);
for UIC Oceania Mr Hockridge (Queensland Rail);
for UIC Europe, Messrs Pepy (SNCF), Grube (DB), Klerk (ProRail) and Wach (PKP); Mr Yakounine (RZD);
for UIC Middle-East Messrs Karaman (TCDD, Turkey), Ziari (RAI, Iran), and Mokabari (CFS, Syria);
for UIC North America Messrs VanderClute (AAR, USA) and Côté (Via Rail, Canada).
The UIC Latin American representation remains to be determined.
UIC Director General Jean-Pierre Loubinoux subsequently reported on the host of management reforms implemented since his arrival in April, which aim to increase UIC’s value and utility for its members, optimise its operations and improve its image and standing at global level by best serving its values of unity, universality and solidarity.
In this context, he presented the new UIC organisational chart, the implementation of which was validated. This organisational structure combines three echelons of management: the strategic level (coordination with the six UIC Regions), the support services level (finance, human resources, legal services, communications, institutional relations) and the technical cooperation level structured around four departments – Passenger, Freight, Rail System/Infrastructure and Fundamental Values (a department covering cross-sector activities such as sustainable development, research, safety, security, and the development of expertise). The work of the technical departments is guided by the strategic direction formulated by the Forums and Platforms, professional bodies made up of members’ representatives, and at the request of the UIC Regional Assemblies, whose role and capacity as project initiators have been boosted.
Turning their attention to financial matters, the UIC members approved the 2009 budget (for the nine latter months of the year) and the provisional budget for 2010. It was reiterated that as part of ongoing developments, the 2010 budget would see the calculation formula for the non-European members’ fees harmonised with that used for the European members, thus creating a fairer financing system reflecting at best the economic weight of each member within the association. Finally the Statutes set that the Regional Assemblies should finance the regional or multi-regional rail projects they initiated.
UIC members also unanimously welcomed five new members to the association: McML Group (India), affiliate member, AFER, a railway authority (Romania), affiliate member, Harsco Rail (UK), affiliate member, TFG (Romania), associate member, Hiztas (Turkey), affiliate member. UIC now has 200 members across the world.
The General Assembly also saw the heads of various UIC departments and technical work areas present to members their programmes of work and some of their priority projects, underscoring the wealth and diversity of the technical competences UIC brings together on its’ members’ behalf (a total of some 200 projects and activities). The presentations given focused on work in Infrastructure, Freight, Passenger, Safety, Security, Sustainable Development, as well as a presentation of the Train to Copenhagen project, which represents the railways’ contribution to the ‘COP 15’ conference on climate change to be held by the UN this coming December.
In concluding the General Assembly, UIC Chairman Yoshio Ishida thanked members, the UIC Director General and UIC staff as a whole for their work and the progress already made in the extremely short space of time since the adoption of the new statutes, and stated that he had great faith in the future of UIC.
The next General Assembly will be held on 8 December 2009 at UIC Headquarters in Paris. Chairman Ishida invited UIC to hold the following assembly in June 2010 in Tokyo, Japan.