Information published on 3 December 2019 in the UIC electronic newsletter "UIC eNews" Nr eNews.

UIC is participating in the 25th Conference of the Parties (COP) in Madrid, Spain

The Conference of the Parties is taking place under the Presidency of the Government of Chile and is held with the logistical support of the government of Spain from 2 – 13 December 2019. UIC is accredited by the United Nations as a recognised organisation, to participate in major global events such as the COP.
A selected UIC delegation is joining the events from 2 – 7 December and will promote UIC Member activities towards a more sustainable future and their commitments to fight climate change. This will be an occasion to promote UIC activities and partnerships with other key transport stakeholders.

UIC commitments
COP25 will be an opportunity for UIC to reinforce the role that railways play in sustainable transport development. In 2019, scientific statements regarding climate are alarming; even if states were to meet their commitments made at COP21 in 2015 for 2020, the planet would warm up by 3°C by the end of the century. In order to stay in line with the Paris Agreement, countries need to multiply their ambitions threefold and carbon neutrality should be reached before 2050 and renew or revise upward their climate commitments ("Nationally Determined Contributions" or NDC) submitted in 2015, by the end of 2020. Those must represent a progression compared to their previous commitment and correspond to the “highest possible level of ambition”. The European Commission has already decided to increase its targets for 2030 and to work under the European Green Deal to become world’s first carbon neutral continent before 2050.

UIC is going one step further and launching an update to the sector’s commitment.
UIC proposes to align its 2050 CO2 emissions target to what becomes more and more widely shared as a consensual target to reach the Paris agreement: Carbon Neutrality by 2050 (instead of and - 75% by 2050). UIC also goes one step further by announcing its willingness to support SDGs and to report on their progresses on the most relevant ones.

All UIC members are asked to adopt the carbon neutrality target by 2050 and the support to SDGs through a signed declaration that could be presented at COP25.
The Railway Climate Responsibility pledge 2019 is an extension to the Pledge signed in 2015.

COP25 Programme
On 2 December, UIC Director General Mr François Davenne and Mr Francisco Cardoso Dos Reis, Chairman of the UIC European region met the Portuguese Environment Minister João Pedro Soeiro de Matos Fernande. Mr Davenne presented UIC activities as well as how to strongly advocate rail at global level, highlighting modal shift towards public transport with stations as hubs of multimodality and interconnectivity and interoperability especially in Europe for freight. Mr Cardoso particularly stressed that “We cannot solve mass transit issues with individual solutions.” The Portuguese Environment Minister emphasised the importance of investing in rail, especially to reach the goal of climate neutrality by 2050 in Portugal, where the population, facing more and more climate hazards such as wildfires, understands the need to make a shift in transport, and that rail can be part of the solution.

On 3 December, UIC Director General Mr François Davenne was invited by Renfe, Spanish railways, to speak at the opening of the company’s activities during COP25. Renfe gathered experts and professionals from the transport, sustainability and energy efficiency fields at national and international level at the Ministry of Transport in the COP25 Green Zone.

On 4 December UIC will co-host an event with UITP – International Association of Public Transport and ITF – International Transport Forum. Most trips today take place in urban regions, and their number is expected to continue growing in line with cities’ populations and economic development. The choice of transport mode is therefore critical to carbon dioxide (CO2) emission levels. Low carbon transport options need to be integrated into existing transport and climate action plans for cities, which are also where robust transport actions already exist. This session will focus on effective ways to decarbonise urban passenger and freight transport based on changes in technology and behaviour. Speakers representing a range of sectors will share their vision on effective climate mitigation actions for transport in cities and ways to scale up different initiatives. The event will take place as follows: 16:45 - 18:15 Room 1 (Blue Zone) at IFEMA, Feria de Madrid.

On 6 December UIC will attend the Transport Day, an initiative by the Partnership on Sustainable, Low Carbon Transport (SLoCaT) and organised in the COP Chilean Pavilion from 8.30 am to 1.30 pm (Blue Zone) at IFEMA, Feria de Madrid. The event will be segmented in three sessions: segment 1 on increasing transport ambition to bridge the mitigation gap, segment 2 will be about removing barriers for implementation and scaling up low carbon, sustainable, resilient transport, and finally segment 3 will be about what the transport sector needs to deliver in 2020 for COP26. More information can be found here:

On 7 December, UIC will actively contribute to the Marrakech Partnership event: the Global Climate Action Transport Action Event taking place on the morning of the 7th from 10am to 1pm in the Blue Zone at IFEMA, Feria de Madrid. Mr Davenne will contribute to discussions on adaptation to climate change. This event will showcase the efforts made by various transport stakeholders to create the building blocks for a low carbon, sustainable pathway to 2050. It will demonstrate the immediate, bold and ambitious actions that are currently being implemented across the world and discuss the ways to maintain the momentum through 2020 and beyond. It will focus on both mitigation and adaptation measures, as well as cross-cutting issues such as gender and accessibility.

Find out more about COP25 on the dedicated website: and on the UNFCCC website

For further information please contact Marie-Luz Philippe, Senior Advisor for Sustainable Development & UIC Middle-East Region:

philippe at

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