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Rail as the backbone of sustainable transport for people and goods of the future

25 April 2023|Event


With seven years to go until 2030, the year in which the 2030 Agenda and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are to be implemented, the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean have faced a challenging health, economic, social and environmental context. The crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the conflict between the Russian Federation and Ukraine reverted some of the progress in infrastructure, transport and logistics achieved before 2020.  In this context, the transition towards sustainable and efficient transport to advance towards the achievement of the 2030 Agenda, and in accordance with the commitments made after the signing of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, is today, more than ever, a priority for the countries of the region.

It should be noted that one of the main characteristics of transport infrastructure in the region is its high concentration in road transport, which has been suboptimal, leading to high levels of congestion and greenhouse gas emissions. Evidence points to transport as the sector that causes the highest carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in Latin America and the Caribbean. In order to reduce this concentration, it is essential to expand transport infrastructures, that is, to move towards other more efficient and sustainable modes of transport, including the use of new technologies that have a lower impact on the environment. In this context, rail is seen as a good alternative, in a new mode, to face the challenges of climate change. 

The UIC vision for 2030 describes a future in which we are on track to decarbonise transport, with a thriving sustainable transport system that has generated many benefits for society. The UIC vision presents a panorama at the end of this decade in which, with the right actions and investments, there could be a significant increase in the modal share of rail and public transport, in which the train could have an important role in the sustainable mobility system in the region.

In order to face the crises, many of the region's governments today have less fiscal space to invest in other modes of transport, which makes it difficult to comply with the above-mentioned agreements.  Therefore, it will be necessary to advance in creative and efficient mechanisms and strategies to promote the participation of other actors that contribute to the creation of new transport infrastructures and achieve the change of modality and the transition towards a necessary sustainable and efficient transport.

Objective of the event:

ECLAC and the International Union of Railways (UIC) join efforts to promote dialogue between the different stakeholders to discuss the importance of a multimodal approach to transport systems, including the role of rail as a low-carbon solution for the transport of people and goods.

Governments, international organisations, financial and private sector as well as transport experts will address the following topics:

✔ Implementing policies to move towards a modal shift in Latin America and the Caribbean and analysis of the investment gap and the financing needed for its implementation.

✔ The role and benefits of rail: what is its potential and where is it heading in Latin America?

✔ The benefits that rail can offer and the opportunities for rail corridors.

✔ How to advance in multimodality and intermodality


Master of Ceremonies Vanessa Pérez Miranda

13:00 Welcome Remarks 

  • UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, Officer in charge, International Trade and Integration Division: Keiji Inoue.  


13:10 Fireside chat – Where is policy headed? Moderator: Keiji Inoue, UN ECLAC

  • Minister of Transport of Chile, Juan Carlos Munoz Abogabir
  • ANP Trilhos, Joubert Flores, (online - confirmed)
  • UIC, François Davenne


13:30 Development of a multimodal approach of the transport system in the region: the participation of rail as a low-carbon solution for freight transport.  UN ECLAC, Officer in charge of Infrastructure Services and Logistics Unit: Miryam Saade Hazin.


13:35 More Trains video and presentation

  • UIC, Head Sustainable Unit, Lucie Anderton.


13:40 Panel discussion: Sustainable mobility in Latin America and the role of rail – Moderator: Lucie Anderton, Head Sustainable Unit, UIC

  • SLOCAT (online - TBC): Maruxa Cardama
  • CEO, EFE Chile: José Solorza Estebez (in-person confirmed)
  • UIC: Passenger Director for Latin American Region Coordinator: Marc Guigon (in-person – confirmed)
  • IADB: Cristián Navas Duk (in-person- confirmed)
  • Asociación Sustentar: Carolina Chantrill (online-confirmed)


14:15 Moderated Q&A  


14:25 Closing remarks




Practical information


25 April 2023


13:00 – 14:30


Aula 2 (ILPES area) ECLAC    

Santiago, Chile