Information published on 2 December 2010 in the UIC electronic newsletter "UIC eNews" Nr 215.

UIC at COP16 in Cancun: Putting rail on the UN Climate Change Conference agenda

  • Sustainability

From 29 November to 10 December the International Union of Railways (UIC) is promoting the role of rail as part of the solution to climate change at the United Nations climate change conference (COP16) in Cancun, Mexico.
In cooperation with UNEP (the UN Environment Programme) and ITPS (Institution for Transport Policy Studies), a successful joint side event was organised on 1 December under the theme “Keeping climate solutions on track – the role of partnerships, good practice and rail”.

The objective of this side event aims on the one hand to draw attention to the contribution of transport’s emissions to climate change (23% of CO2 emissions come from transport), and on the other to strengthen cooperation between UIC and key international organisations on transport and climate change.

The side event was composed of two panels. The first panel included the presentations of the host organisations.
ITPS, represented by Deputy Director Iwao Matsuoka, presented a proposal for a funding scheme supporting the development of railways in developing countries. UIC, represented by Senior Advisor Margrethe Sagevik, highlighted rail’s efforts to continuously improve the performance and commitments to sustainable mobility, supported by the Declaration on Sustainable Mobility and Transport and the recently updated global rail position paper “Keeping Climate Solution on track”. UNEP, represented by Spokesperson and Head of Media Nick Nuttall, showcased climate neutral solutions for transport including the bus rapid transport system (BRTs) in Jakarta and the Climate Neutral Network initiative which brings together partners from several industries and sectors all aiming to achieve climate neutrality.

The second panel welcomed the following guest speakers: Yuki Tanaka, Director at ITPS and official of the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, who elaborated on the role of rail stations in reforming the community and society. Holger Dalkmann, Programme Director for Climate Change and Sustainable Transport (TRL) linked the issue of sustainable transport to the ongoing negotiations, highlighting the interlinkages between the issues discussed by the previous speakers, including financing, technology and MRV.

Questions from the audience contributed to a vigorous debate, particularly on the carbon footprinting of transport and gave strong support to the EcotransIT methodology.

In addition to this side event, UIC, represented by Margrethe Sagevik, will also participate on 5 December in the transportation panel of the World Climate Summit, supported among others by Siemens and CNN, and bringing together panelists from various transport sectors, such as energy supply, car manufacturing and aviation, which will facilitate a constructive debate on policies, financing structures and business models to bring mobility solutions to scale.

UIC also has an exhibition stand at the official COP16 venue, which promotes the UIC Declaration on Sustainable Mobility & Transport, the UIC project Adapting Rail Infrastructure to Climate Change (ARISCC), the online eco-comparison tools EcoTransIT and EcoPassenger, as well as an updated version of the Global Rail Position Paper on Climate Change, which provides an overview of the emissions reductions potential and commitment from the railways.

UIC is very happy to continue cooperation with UNEP as a follow up of the successful international communications campaign Train to Copenhagen organised last year for COP15.
UIC and UNEP are also happy to announce that the Train to Copenhagen campaign has been short listed among the top 5 candidates from over 1400 entrants for the prestigious European Excellence Awards 2010 in the International Communications category, alongside GE, L’Oreal, Electrolux and BMC Software.
"Honouring outstanding achievement on an international scale”, the award ceremony will take place on 9 December in Prague (Czech Republic), at the Žofín Palace. A list of highly-regarded communications specialists have been selected to be jury members, basing their evaluation on the creativity, innovation, cost-efficiency and strategy of the nominated projects.
In the meantime, UIC and UNEP are simply honoured to be among the distinguished finalists. We’d like to extend our gratitude to the Train to Copenhagen team responsible for putting together the campaign, to Jette Tosti of JE:SU for the beautiful design, UNEP, WWF, and to all our members and partners worldwide who have worked hard to make it a truly global campaign.

Several members of the audience present at the side event as well as visitors to the exhibition stand are now asking whether UIC and UNEP have plans for a special train for COP17 in South Africa in 2011.

For more information please contact Margrethe Sagevik: and Delphine Margot: