International Transport Forum - 2014 annual summit Transport for a Changing World | 21-23 may 2014 - Leipsig, Germany | France presidency

The International Union of Railways (UIC) was founded 1922 following two intergovernmental conferences with the objective to harmonise the conditions of construction and operations of railways at international level.

UIC’s missions and scope of activities have continuously expanded over its 90 years of existence. In 2014 UIC groups 240 railways – integrated companies, rail transport operators, infrastructure managers and rail service providers – from all 5 continents.

UIC as the worldwide association of railways is mainly tasked with promoting the development of rail transport across the globe in order to cope with the current challenges of mobility and sustainable development, and to enhance international cooperation between its members. International railway cooperation projects can be developed in a technical framework (specialist forums and platforms) or a regional framework (6 UIC regional assemblies with their own strategies and action plans).

To achieve its mission UIC maintains and develops cooperation links with over 100 international organisations and professional associations. It has consultative status to the United Nations/ECOSOC to represent the rail sector.

Most of the projects led or coordinated by UIC aim to achieve railway interoperability and develop railway standards (in particular based on the 700 UIC “leaflets”), to support members in their efforts to develop new business opportunities, propose new ways for optimising economic performance, competitiveness and sustainability of rail transport. Strategic focuses are currently placed on intercontinental freight corridors, safety and security, standardisation, education and training for younger generations.