As a global platform for transport policy issues, acting as a think tank for member countries and organising an annual summit, at which ministers debate strategic issues, the 2011 edition of the International Transport Forum (ITF) attracted more than 800 decision-makers from 52 member countries, including newly this year China and Brazil which show a growing interest in taking part to the ITF work and exchanges. This year participants debated the theme “Transport for Society”.
From 25 to 27 May, Transport Ministers and business leaders, mayors of major cities, top researchers and representatives of non-governmental organisations examined during three days in Leipzig, Germany, various strategic issues putting “users and people first”, by considering transport from the point of view of the individual, the communities and the users. All the speakers and delegates to this Forum agreed on the importance to the role played by research, new ideas and innovation to tackle these challenges. Organised under the Spanish Presidency, the Forum gave the floor to the Spanish Minister for Transport José Blanco Lopez, who called for a urgent need for international cooperation and the useful solution that represent among others public-private partnerships to finance projects.
During the opening ceremony, Jack Short, Secretary General of ITF until June 2011, highlighted the dilemma between the short mandates of the Ministers and the necessity for a long-term action for transport and infrastructure. He reminded also the need to work in a more proactive way and cooperation with land planners in order to make in advance policy of the future.
Mr Peter Ramsauer, German Federal Minister of Transport, who mentioned that human beings have two identities facing the issue of transport, one of them marked by the needs, requirements relating to its status as a consumer creating the need for transport and the other one making him suffering from mobility (pollution, CO2 emissions, etc. ..), added that transport policy relies on a shared responsibility between politics and economy.
Very interesting keynotes and fruitful debates were also made by Jeffrey Sachs, the world-renowned economist and special advisor to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, Jeremy Rifkin, President of the Foundation on Economic Trends, USA, Enrique Peñalosa, Director of the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy in Bogota, Colombia and Jaime Lerner, architect and urban planner and founder of the Instituto Jaime Lerner in Brazil.
Taking into account the challenges of accessibility, mobility rights or sustainable urban travel, the role played by inland transport and the theme of security in transportation was one of the subjects discussed during the Forum. Zoltan Kazatsay, Deputy Director General for Mobility and Transport at the European Commission stressed the importance of the challenge of security in transport. This challenge everyday regards security beyond terrorism. He evoked the interest of a common position in the transport sector in this regard, stressed the importance of research and dissemination of information. On behalf of the activity UIC Security Jacques Colliard recalled the letter sent April 7, 2011 to the Commission on behalf of UIC, CER, EIM, ERFA, UITP. He referred to the research project Protectrail and announced the next UIC Security Congress to be held in Rome on 22 and 23 September. Mr Kazatsay announced the publication by the European Commission of a communication on inland transport security, all modes of transport, by the end of 2011.
Jean-Pierre Loubinoux, UIC Director General, addressed in an interview to the ITF television team which contribution UIC and its member railways can offer in regard to the forum theme “Transport for Society”. Actually, the rail transport sector has been committed during all recent years in improving its environmental performances, in particular in the field of energy efficiency, reduction of CO2 emissions, noise reduction, waste management, etc. Railways represented within UIC are also determined to offer their own advantages for an optimal combination with the benefits of other transport modes in the framework of an efficient, multimodal mobility system serving both the Economy and the Society. He reminded that UIC handed over on 11 May the Declaration for Sustainable Mobility and Transport signed by 45 Presidents or CEOs of member railways to the Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations in New-York. Jean-Pierre Loubinoux also congratulated ITF and its organisers for having made this yearly event to one of the major meeting points at global level to debate with all stakeholders on the issue of “Transport and Society”. UIC will be very keen to participate to the next edition of the ITF Forum in Leipzig on the theme of seamless transport.
He addressed a warm thanks and congratulations to Jack Short, who hold the position of the ITF Secretary General until this month.
Jack Short joined the European Conference of Ministers of Transport (ECMT) in 1984 and was Deputy Secretary General from 1993 to 2001, when he became Secretary General. Previously he worked for the Ministries of Transport and Finance in Ireland, as well as in transport research. In 2006/7 he played a key role in the transformation of ECMT into the International Transport Forum and shaped its profile as a global, intermodal, open transport policy platform.
He also congratulated the Belgian Carole Coune to succeed Jack Short as Secretary General of International Transport Forum at OECD
Carole Coune, 42, from Belgium will be the new Secretary General of the International Transport Forum. Transport Ministers from 52 member countries elected Mrs. Coune to succeed Irishman Jack Short at their annual summit in Leipzig, Germany, on 26 May. Mrs Coune is presently the top civil servant of Belgium’s Ministry of Transport. She holds a law degree from the Université de Liège and had a distinguished career in the rail sector. “Carole Coune is an able leader with broad experience and a profound understanding of the complex issues that transport faces”, said outgoing Secretary General Jack Short.