The 25th Meeting of the Regional Assembly for Middle-East Railways (RAME) was held on 24 June 2020 online. The UIC RAME meetings are organised biannually in relation to the UIC General Assembly meetings with the presence of the top management of the member railways to discuss and decide on the activities of the region, reviewing and approving the previous programmes, presenting the report of the CEOs and Directors General of RAME, keeping up to date with regard to UIC HQ reports and activities, and being involved in them. Countries represented included Turkey, Jordan, Iran, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan.
The 25th RAME meeting was opened by the RAME Chairman, Mr Ali Ihsan Uygun (TCDD): “RAME members will continue to work particularly on energy efficiency, standardisation, finance, training, research & innovation to face the new challenges of the new normal”. Mr. Saeid Rasouli, Vice-Minister for Roads and Urban Development, Chairman of the Board, RAI President & first RAME Vice- Chairman, contributed to the opening of the meeting promoting solidarity, cooperation and empathy in those uncertain times: “What guarantees a bright future for all people in each of the countries affected by the coronavirus is the cooperation and empathy in all fields, which requires the solidarity and unity of the people of the international community.”
Mr François Davenne, Director General of UIC, extended his gratitude to the esteemed participants and explained that this Covid19 crisis has shown that we need more interregional cooperation. By cooperating, in a spirit of solidarity & empathy, which are the values of UIC, Members have shared their solutions during the Covid-19 period. Beyond this crisis, UIC will continue to be close to its members in order to develop this interregional cooperation." Concretely this could take the form of a UIC Days dedicated to the RAME Region.
Mr Jerzy Wisniewski, Director of the Fundamental Values Department and coordinator for the Middle-East Region gave a follow-up of the UIC Sustainability Declaration, a pledge to commit to further action for climate change reduction. Members were invited to sign the Pledge & contribute to the “Carbon neutrality” Task Force work programme contents.
Mr Marc Guigon, Director of the UIC Passenger Department, presented the work of the UIC Covid-19 Task Force and the impact on the railway sector and its recovery as well as how to keep or restore confidence in railways.
A report on the activities of UIC Regional Office in the first half of 2020 was delivered by Mr Abbas Nazari, UIC M.E. Regional Office Director. A document on “influential factors on increasing freight transport in Eurasia” was developed by M.E. Regional Office, Tehran, in June 2020 as well as the updating of the road map of UIC M.E. activities and the UIC Middle East website in English, Persian and Arabic. Safety and infrastructure working groups from the region were reactivated in 2020.
Ms Azadeh Poursaddami, Senior Expert of UIC M.E. Regional Office, reported on the above-mentioned document: “Influential factors on increasing freight transport in Eurasia.”
Mr Wisniewski, UIC Coordinator for the Middle-East, presented the updated Action Plan 2020-2021 for approval, together with UIC RAME members. He updated Members o the Eco-scoring project progress and the amended disclaimer to the Sustainability Declaration – the Pledge 2019. Training activities and responding to training needs of RAME members and promotion of training programmes with the African Regional Assembly were also discussed along with holding different workshops regarding standardisation, international corridors, telecoms and signalling, safety and security and climate change. Holding the 26th RAME Meeting with two side events of Promotion of Safety at Level crossings and the 3rd Meeting of UIC M.E. Safety Working Group was mentioned as well. In 2021, a seminar on freight and freight wagon technology should be held in Turkey along with a MENRTCe meeting and a seminar on railway harmonisation, standardisation and interoperability should take place in Iran.
Mrs Firdaous Outahr, UIC Financial Controller, presented the report on the RAME budget and financial issues. She appealed to the RAME Members to ensure that their fee payments were made on time. UIC, RAME Members and the regional office also discussed Members having difficulties in attending the RAME meetings and how to support them in the best way possible, technologies deployed during the Covid-19 crisis allowing new perspectives in that matter.
To conclude the meeting, all Members represented were invited to report on their respective projects and achievements giving an overview of their activities.
The next 27th RAME meeting is to be held in November in Turkey.