COP23: tackling climate change and the future of urban mobility

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Directly from on the ground at COP23 in Bonn, our team is reporting the latest updates and achievements from the largest international conference on climate! Keep checking the page for the latest news!

Monday, 13 November 2017

We’re back in the Bonn Zone for another high-level day. Transport is so important we’ve been included in another day of panel sessions. UITP Secretary General Alain Flausch has arrived for his appearance on both panels.

Governor of California, Jerry Brown.

11:30-13:00: The first panel is about to be under way – and this may be the most impressive panel so far: The Urban Energy – Transport Nexus: How can cities be drivers of transformative climate action?

Featuring on the panel alongside Mr. Flausch is the Governor of California, Jerry Brown. Moderator Rachel Kyte, Special Representative of the United Nations and CEO/Secretary General of Sustainable Energy for All, describes the Governor as the star of COP23. She may be right!

Governor Brown takes to the podium and details what the future can and will look like: five percent of school buses in California are already electric, and all new buses for California school districts will be electric vehicles. The Governor continues, detailing how cities need a transformative, elegant vision for urban space, for walking, cycling, cars and public transport. 

Joining Governor Brown and Mr. Flausch on the panel are Governing Mayor of Oslo, Raymond Johansen, Executive Mayor of Tshwane, Solly Msimanga and the CEO of the ENGIE group Isabelle Kocher.
Mr. Flausch is next to speak and discusses sustainable mobility and access to public transport: “Sustainable mobility brings wealth. It brings jobs.” The panel agrees. Mr. Flausch discusses access to transport, the opportunities for the sector across the world and emissions. This leads nicely in to the next speaker, Oslo Governing Mayor Raymond Johansen who discusses carbon pricing and pollution: “You have to pay the car drivers to pay the costs. It's too cheap to pollute.”

Mayor Johansen then details the challenges facing cities and purchasing power moving forward: “you need to find the correct balance between the carrot and the stick.” An interesting take.

The panel’s contributions are welcomed by the room and our first Monday session concludes.

Sustainable mobility brings wealth. It brings jobs
                                                                                              said Secretary General Alain Flausch

14:00: Before we head in to the final panel session of Monday – a roundtable in Meeting Room 1 – UITP has a very special moment to be involved in.

The historic agreement between UITP, the United Nations Climate Change Conference and the International Union of Railways is being signed in the Exhibition Room. This partnership will promote sustainable public transport options during the UN Climate Change Conference such as the ‘Clean Shuttle Service’ that was launched at the opening of COP 23.

A poster campaign has also been launched throughout the city.  The campaign led by UITP and the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) highlights the economic benefits of taking climate action on public transport.

Read all about this historic agreement below – along with the link to the official press release!

For UITP Secretary General Alain Flausch to have the opportunity to sign this agreement in person – alongside UIC Director General Jean-Pierre Loubinoux - during COP23 in Bonn was a major moment for our association. 

Agreement signed and we now head in to not only the final session on transport but also the final session for UITP here at COP23. Let’s hope it’s one to remember!

15:00: The final panel session is a roundtable moderated by our friend Mary Crass from ITF. The speakers include our Secretary General Alain Flausch, representatives from Morocco, Argentina, UIC, ITF and the World Bank to name but a few. The round table brings together a large variety of national and non-state actors to discuss sustainable cities and low carbon transport.

First to speak is panel moderator Mary Crass ITF_Forum our first contributor is Najib Boulif Secretary of State in Charge of Transport, Morocco. Morocco was one of the first to ratify the Paris Agreement.
Morocco was the first country to apply PPMC's roadmap, involving hundreds of stakeholders in an inclusive process.

We all have to work together on sustainable, connected, integrated transport. Accessibility of stations is key for profitability of public transport, says our friend Jean-Piere Loubinoux, Director General of UIC. Lucila Capelli from Ministry of Transport in Argentina introduces Buenos Aires' ambition to improve air quality and increase public transport use. Mr. Flausch is next to speak and discusses electrification, transportation progress, public transport data and the current and new projects going forward: “We can look to projects such as ZeEUS.”

And just like that we’re done. The final transportation panel has concluded and each of the brilliant panel speakers has contributed a great deal to the proceedings.

To suggest that the international conference on climate change is important is an understatement. It is hugely relevant and for transportation to have such a massive role to play in the debate shows how current an association such as UITP can be. Public transport, and therefore UITP, can the lead the way in showing what we can contribute towards the debate on the environment. From TramTrains to historic agreements. From panel sessions to logo placements – UITP has been across COP23 these past eight days.

None of this could have happened without the dedicated work of our colleague Philip Turner - whose work in sustainable development and mobility has seen him organise all of UITP’s involvement in COP23. From the panel sessions right through to our partnerships – Philip’s work was witnessed across the transportation days. It does not go unnoticed. Thanks Philip! 

Goodbye from the Bonn Zone! Stay engaged, keep informed and do your part – use public transport!

Until next time at COP24…see you in Katowice, Poland.

Scroll down to read the rest of our updates from COP23 and don't forget to check out our dedicated Twitter page for live feeds!

Saturday, 11 November 2017

10:00-11:15: Meeting Rooms 6 and 8 are the places to be. We’re here at the Transport opening. Meeting Room 8 is first off the starting block and is filling up with political figures, press reporters, climate zone observers and other interested parties. In the front row on reporting duty is UITP. The discussion theme for the opening session? ‘Setting the Scene and Achieving Future Goals’.

The slogan on show around the room is a powerful one: Further, Faster – Together. A great message for COP23.

The panel are settling in. What a panel they are – and moderated by a political heavyweight - Pat Cox, Former President of the European Parliament. Mr. Cox opens the first panel session of the day with wise words: “Public transport has come in from the cold, we’re engaged, we’re involved. We’re in the room now.” And this room agrees.

On the panel we have Virginie Dumoulin, Head of the International Affairs Direction for the Ministries of Transport, Ecology and Energy, France. Young Tae Kim, Secretary General from the International Transport Forum (the UITP team shared an Underground trip with ITF’s new Secretary General and we can confirm he is great company!) Said Mouline, COP22 Presidency, Director General, National Agency for the Development of Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency, Morocco and Holger Dalkmann, Co-Chair, Partnership on Sustainable Low Carbon Mobility.

The first Transportation Thematic Day panel features Moroccan and French Government officials. Virginie Dumoulin from Ministry of Ecology and Solidarity in France says that a new law on transport will be introduced with priority on people, decarbonisation of transport, public transport. 

Up next to the podium is ITF Secretary General Young Tae Kim who details the organisation’s project on decarbonising transport to support countries. He discussed evidence-based models and more. The audience is listening in as the panel enlightens us with the views on transport going forward.

Up next is Said Mouline who reminds the room of the achievements on transport from COP22 and the importance of the actions of the Marrakesh Partnership. So much has been; so much still to do.

Holger Dalkmann speaks about a decarbonised transport system in the future. We’re working towards great change it seems. Mr Cox wraps up the panel – a great moderator who will make another appearance later this week – stay tuned!

11:15-12:45: No breaks necessary, we jump straight into the next Panel Session. We have a Room 8 panel and a Room 6 panel at the same time – there’s a lot to be said on transport – so UITP will be dashing in and out of both rooms. We’re committed to bringing you all of the action, no thanks required!

The 11:15 panel session is ‘Transport Initiatives: Scaling Up Action and Ambition on Transport’. Panel moderator Sheila Watson, Deputy Director of the FIA Foundation has taken to the podium and is introducing our panel. We have Rasmus Valanko, Director of Climate & Energy, World Business Council for Sustainable Development, Bronwen Thornton, Chief Executive Officer, Walk21 and Niclas Svenningsen, Manager, Strategy and Relationships, Sustainable Development Mechanisms at the UNFCCC. This panel is discussing energy policy, fuel, emissions and walking.

Rasmus Valanko is first to his feet – The World Business Council is serious about sustainable fuels and meeting climate goals. The audience agrees. Bronwen Thornton discusses the importance of walking – keeping public transport within reaching distance. Everyone must have access. Who could disagree with that? Great point Bronwen!

We’re on our feet and jumping to Room 6: Sustainable Freight for a low-carbon transport system. Another great room discussion. We grab some pictures and encourage you to visit our dedicated Twitter feed for a look at what you’ve missed!

Jumping right back in to our next panel session with ‘Policy Making and Target Setting for the Transport Sector’. Moderating this panel is Mary Crass, Head of Institutional Relations and Summit at the International Transport Forum. Great friends of UITP. And a great panel to sit alongside Mary. We have Argentina, Portugal. South Africa, France and Vietnam. The world has come together for transport.

We have Lucila Capelli, Advisor to the Ministry of Transport, Argentina at the podium, detailing Argentina’s plans to reduce transport emissions. Big targets = great news. Ana Miranda from the Board of Institute for Transport and Mobility of Portugal describes plans for low carbon, sustainable transport. Jaco Du Toit from WWF-South Africa describes how WWF is applying science targets to the transport sector: an approach to include companies going forward. All of our speakers have detailed the challenges and hurdles to come – but there’s great success to be had if we all work together. True words.

Another great panel completed – excellently moderated by Mary Crass. UITP has ten minutes before we jump right back in to the afternoon sessions!

We have Argentina, Portugal. South Africa, France and Vietnam. The world has come together for transport.

13:15-14:45: We’re now in the first of the afternoon sessions: ‘Shifting personal mobility through innovations in transport technologies, systems & planning’. ITDP CEO Clayton Lane is moderating this panel session and he is emphasising the growth of CO2 emissions.

The Mayor of Quito Mauricio Rodas is on the panel and stands to introduce a vision for his city built on sustainable transport: better sidewalks, electric bicycles, clean vehicles in the city. Great stuff. We have another Mayor who steps up to the podium: Vice Mayor of Rotterdam Pex Langenberg: the Vice Mayor details the action needed on climate, transport and mobility.

Featuring on this panel in the shared mobility session is Gunnar Heipp, Director of Strategic Planning Department at SWM/MVG and the UITP Climate and Sustainable Development Envoy. Always a pleasure to see Gunnar, a great friend of UITP.

The time is flying by as the panel and audience exchange debate and Clayton Lane wraps up proceedings right on time.

15:00-16:30: Our penultimate panel session on Transportation Thematic Day is ‘Accelerating the adoption of clean vehicles’ Dr Annela Anger-Kraavi is moderating and we’re jumping right in.

Jonas Strömberg, Director Sustainable Solutions at Scania is now addressing the audience: "Electrifying heavy duty vehicles in the short term is not realistic. We aim at 10% by 2030. Flexible routes and autonomy are major challenges". Mr Strömberg was also at the UITP Sustainable Development Commission meeting.

We’re jumping straight in to our final panel of the day: the closing session.

We were promised a reappearance from former European Parliament President Pat Cox and here he is. Moderating the session where Nicolas Beaumont of Michelin is first to speak about a multimodal future. He emphasises the importance of the eight components in the Global Macro Roadmap. On his feet next is Deputy Transport Minister of Portugal Jose Gomes Mendes highlighting avoid, shift and improve: “we need to put the tools in to practice, most of them are already there.”

And that’s a wrap on Saturday’s Transportation Thematic Day! As the panel sessions close and the audience considers everything we’ve heard so far, UITP feels grateful to have been such an important part of the day. The panellists, contributors, colleagues and guests - what a day we have had. Roll on Monday, the next day of panel sessions awaits!


Monday 13 November, 2017

UITP brings great news from Bonn: our agreement with UNFCCC is approved

COP23 contains many historic and ground-breaking agreements – and the approval of UITP’s partnership with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is one not to be missed.

UITP is delighted to announce the approval of our partnership with the UNFCCC alongside the International Union of Railways (UIC) to raise awareness of sustainable transport to climate action at COP23. 

Specifically, the partnership will promote sustainable public transport options during the UN Climate Change Conference such as the ‘Clean Shuttle Service’ that was launched at the opening of COP 23 (scroll down for the official press release).  

A poster campaign has also been launched throughout the city.  The campaign led by UITP and the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) highlights the economic benefits of taking climate action on public transport.

This first ever agreement between the UNFCCC, UITP, and UIC further enhances the credibility of the sustainable transport sector. 

Please read our official press release on the historic agreement between UNFCCC, UITP and UIC.

For further news on all of UITP’s activities at COP23 don’t forget to follow our dedicated Twitter page!  

Friday, 10 November 2017

Taking climate action with public transport is one of the largest economic opportunities of the 21st century.

The International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF) and UITP, representing all the people working in the public transport sector, are committed to enhancing the already outstanding technical capacity of our people to deliver even better transport and customer centered services and investments in support of the Global Climate Action Agenda at COP23.

In all countries, growing public transport helps fight unemployment and boost the economy while enhancing quality of life and reducing emissions. In short, citizens, cities and the planet will be better off with more public transport. Both ITF and UITP have worked on a joint statement on the advancement of public transport and the importance it will play during the debate at COP23.

Please read the joint ITF-UITP statement here!

Don’t forget to follow our dedicated Twitter account for constant updates live on the ground at COP23.


Sunday, 5 November 2017 
COP 23 TramTrain and the CleanShuttle bus launch: climate change and the future of urban mobility

The environment and public transport were the topics of this weekend – as the COP23 TramTrain and the CleanShuttle bus launch brought together leading figures to discuss localising international agreements. UITP Secretary General Alain Flausch took part in two round table discussions aboard the TramTrain from Karlsruhe to Bonn – sitting down to discuss the new mobility culture and the role of public transport in fighting climate change. Organised by and involving VDV, SWB, NVR, NOW, AVG and UITP, these two environmentally friendly modes of transport were in the spotlight during Sunday’s day of action.

Mr Flausch was joined by, among others, Dr. Frank Mentrup, Lord Mayor of Karlsruhe, Winifred Hermann, Transport Minister for the State of Baden-Wurttemberg, Michael Cramer, MEP from the Green Party and Gunnar Heipp, Head of Strategic Planning Projects at Stadtwerke Munchen. Tariffs, integration, digitalisation and service were among the subjects broached during both two panel sessions.

Mr Flausch discussed the future of public transport and sustainability – encouraging the idea that we must always make public transport attractive in order to remain sustainable:

“We must make a coalition to provide an ecosystem to allow people to move around properly. Young people are keen to use their phones so we must provide digital services”, said Alain Flausch, UITP Secretary General.

We must make a coalition to provide an ecosystem to allow people to move around properly

The six hour journey through Germany – including a boarding stop at Frankfurt – witnessed the official unveiling of the new rail station “Bonn UN Campus”. The TramTrain was the first arrival to enter the new station, with dignitaries such as Patricia Espinosa, General Secretary of the UNFCCC and Ashok Sridharan, Lord Mayor of Bonn in attendance for the unveiling.

The 16:30 TramTrain arrival also saw the start of the “CleanShuttle COP23 Bonn” – the launch of more than 25 electric and fuel cell buses from different German cities, being operated as shuttles during COP23. As Mr Flausch joined the other participants in welcoming the TramTrain and the unveiling of the new rail station, the official hand-over from TramTrain to CleanShuttle began – with the guests boarding the new buses heading to the Stadtwerke Bonn depot.

During the reception, held in SWB Depot, Mr Flausch took his place on the stage to be welcomed alongside his fellow participants, bringing to a conclusion the COP23 TramTrain day:

“This has been an excellent trip, a lovely TramTrain and UITP is incredibly proud to have been a part of today.” Alain Flausch, UITP Secretary General 

For more information on the presentation of the CleanShuttle for the world climate conference please read the official joint press releases:

Clean Shuttle press release

Clean Shuttle press release: statements

More information on the CleanShuttle and the COP23 World Climate Conference can be found at

And for more information – including diary entries, blogs and continuous news – from UITP’s involvement in the transport thematic days at COP23 please return to this page for updates, and refer to our official twitter feed from Friday 10th -Tuesday 14th November.

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