The UIC was invited to contribute to the World Bank Plenary session and its panels to highlight that railways are part of the transport sector and fit into the Sustainable Development Agenda in line with current thinking on Inclusive Green Growth.
The session also aimed to discuss current demands and expected types of transport services in client countries, in order to assess how the World Bank can best help them implement this Agenda.
Improvements in transport have the greatest impact when they are part of a cross-sector development agenda. The transition to low-carbon transport is easier when policies are coordinated to improve infrastructure services and to ensure resilient new investment. Efficiencies are also gained through a multi-modal approach, so as to improve passenger and freight mobility services. The functioning of institutions and practitioners’ access to knowledge and innovations are also crucial to effective transport solutions.
The issues mentioned below were covered in the Plenary Session in a moderated discussion with stakeholders:
- Emphasis on lower emission transport: (i) modal shift to lower emission modes (roads to rail to waterways); and (ii) on public transport and non-motorised transport
- Emphasis on road safety, and gender inclusion
- Emphasis on liveability and economic efficiency of a city (better urban transport planning, increased density, better use of energy efficiency etc.)
- Facilitation of policy dialogue on regulation, institution and capacity building
- Cross-sector integration of policymaking
- Use of knowledge hubs and data for better decision-making and for best practice dissemination
The first panel focused on the importance of the chosen theme and the wider development benefits of transport. The moderator then introduced the panellists and opened the discussion with specific leading questions to each panellist.
The second panel where UIC was represented by Jerzy Wisniewski, Director of the Fundamental Values Department, focused on country experiences with transport as an enabler of inclusive green growth and demands addressed to the World Bank and sector approach by rail, road, etc. Presentations and questions for the panel also were taken from the audience.
Mr Wisniewski presented the UIC sustainable development strategy and outputs from UIC projects dealing with environmental aspects and energy savings, underlining the sustainable advantages of the railways in comparison to the other modes. He highlighted the cooperation with international institutions such as the UN, EC, IEA, as well as UIC’s involvement with sector research and innovations. He quoted the Memorandum of Understanding signed by UIC and the World Bank some years ago, reconfirming UIC’s commitment to be actively involved with the related projects.
His appearance was positively received by the audience (around 100 participants) which supported the expansion of railways worldwide as the most responsive mode to future challenges in the field of sustainability.