Friday 22 September 2023

UIC as the voice of rail at the 2023 African Conference for Linear Infrastructure & Ecology (ACLIE)

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The 2023 edition of ACLIE, co-hosted by the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT), Grevy’s Zebra Trust (GZT) and Ewaso Lions (EL), was held in Nairobi this week. This international conference aims to promote and enhance collaboration across various sectors in Africa and to facilitate the sharing of innovative ideas under the overarching theme of “Imagining the future” of the Africa region, analysing how infrastructure development will be linked with continental priorities such as poverty reduction, ecosystem restoration, agricultural productivity, biodiversity conservation and climate change adaptation.

On Tuesday 19 September during the “Design Desk” session, Lorenzo Franzoni as UIC Sustainable Land Use sector advisor presented UIC’s biodiversity strategy, which is strongly backed by Sustainable Land Use sector activities on the future of vegetation management, biodiversity protection across railway landscapes, and the inclusion of knowledge regarding ecosystem services for railway infrastructure projects and management. The strategic vision, case studies and best practices collected throughout the technical projects have the potential to support Africa’s railway infrastructure development, which is included as an important milestone in the Agenda 2063, the blueprint of the African Union.

The session was supported by Kenya Railways Environment Office experts, Consolata Kioko and Stellah Ndiwa, who provided relevant insights into the environmental challenges and mitigation measures adopted for the development of the Kenyan Standard Gauge Railway project, connecting the cities of Mombasa and Nairobi, with a further extension to Navaisha. In their presentation, their collaborations with National Museums of Kenya and Kenya Forest Service were highlighted when presenting the necessary protection measures adopted in relation to wildlife and large infrastructures.

The presence of UIC at 2023 ACLIE, and at the Africa Climate Week 2023, represents an important milestone for UIC’s activities towards advocating railways as the backbone of sustainable mobility for the future. UIC hosted two events organised jointly with the Kenya Railway Corporation during Africa Climate Week. The first, entitled “The role of railways in protecting and enhancing biodiversity in Africa”, focused on the rail sector’s impact on local biodiversity and the efforts being made to lessen this impact. This event brought experts together to address the fundamental principles of biodiversity conservation and to share best practices in lessening the rail sector’s impact on natural ecosystems and protecting biodiversity. UIC then took part in a side event entitled “Transforming mobility in Africa: Collective transport as the climate solution”, co-organised with UITP and SLOCAT. This event focused on the importance of implementing sustainable modes of transportation such as walking, cycling, public transport and rail as a climate solution, while also discussing the significance of including these sustainable modes within Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). Both events worked to shed light on the progress and challenges that the region faces when it comes to biodiversity and sustainable mobility efforts, while also detailing strategies for improvement.

For further information, please contact Lorenzo Franzoni, Junior Sustainability Advisor at

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