Forty-fourth Annual Meeting – DUBAI 2018

The International Tunnelling and Underground Space Association held its forty-fourth meeting in Dubai, from 22 to 25 April 2018, in conjunction with the World Tunnel Congress 2018 "The role of underground space in building future sustainable cities" organized by ITA and the Society of Engineers of United Arab Emirates. More than 1550 persons participated in the Congress. 47 of the 75 Member Nations participated or were represented in the General Assembly.


Argentina, Australia,Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, Ecuador, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, India, Iran, Italy, Japan, Lesotho, Malaysia, Mexico,  Nepal, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, The Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Romania, Russia, Singapore,  Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States of America.


Algeria, Belarus, Bhutan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Indonesia, Iceland, Israel, Kazakhstan, Lao PDR, Macedonia (FYROM), Morocco, Montenegro, Myanmar, Panama, Peru, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, South Africa, Slovakia, Ukraine, Venezuela, Vietnam.



Tarcisio B. Celestino, President, Brazil (2016-2019)
Søren Degn Eskesen, Past President, Denmark (2016-2019)
Alexandre Gomes, Vice-President, Chile (2016-2019)
Ruth Gunlaug Haug, Vice-President, Norway (2016-2019)
Eric Leca, Vice-President, France (2016-2019)
Jinxiu (Jenny) Yan, Vice-President, China (2016-2019)
Davorin Kolic, Croatia, (2016-2019)
Giuseppe Lunardi, Italy, (2016-2019)
Chungsik Yoo, Korea, (2016-2019)
Arnold Dix, Australia (2017-2020)
Lars Babendererde, Germany (2017-2020)
Randall Essex, USA (2017-2020)
Felix Amberg, Treasurer, Switzerland (2016-2019)
Sulaiman AbdulRahman AlHajri, UAE  (2015-2018)
Teik Aun Ooi, Malaysia (2017-2020)


New Zealand has been accepted as a new Member Nation.

The Member nation of Denmark (Danish Society for Tunnels & Underground Works) will host the next WTC 2021, in Copenhagen, from 16 to 19 May, 2021.

The Association has registered 18 new Affiliate Members (7 Corporate Members and 11 Individual Members); the total results to 75 Member Nations and 266 Affiliate Members (173 Corporate Members and 93 Individual Members) taking into account some resignations.

5 new companies became Supporters: EPC Groupe (France), GEO-QYASAT (Saudi Arabia),KRAMPEHAREX GmbH (Germany), PENETRON INTERNATIONAL Ltd (USA), ALARP (AUS)  (total: 48).



After the presentation of the new strategy made at the General Assembly in Bergen, the Executive Council worked on the different actions to be implemented.

Six goals have been identified to fulfill the ITA mission. For each goal, 3 or 4 actions have been identified to be completed during the next term. Progress will be monitored and reported annually at the ITA General Assembly.

GOAL #1 – Encourage Member Nations to actively develop and share technology, promote underground space and be active as a Member Nation in ITA

  •    Intensify connection with Member Nations collecting information about their activities

           •    Information box about each MN with on-time update, including:
           •    Activity level (level: I-high, II-medium, III-low),
           •    Contact persons
           •    Industry characteristics
           •    Needs for each MN (training, lectures, sessions, seminars, tutorship, publications, Master studies, visits to Clients and Ministries, etc.)
           •    Division of the world area into geographical regions involving group of MNs
           •    Matrix of MN based on activity level and assignment of MN mentorship

  •    Active involvement in activities of Member Nations

          •    Manual /Guideline to MNs for improving activity and promote the use of underground space in the country (for MN activity levels I, II, III)
          •    Assignment of MN mentorship (1 EXCO+ 1 support), reporting at EXCO meetings This can take the form of a Regional Forum

GOAL #2 – Optimize the contribution of Working Groups and Committees through facilitating interaction with Member Nations & Sponsors, encouraging synergies, and deploying modern communication practices

         •    Generate calendar with overall development of WG and Committees activities
         •    Involve Working Groups in preparation and offer of ITA-CET courses (WG reports will be given to all participants of training courses)
         •    Preparation of PPT of technical documents for easier reference and use for further diffusion and training purposes
         •    Encourage WG/committees to prepare audio-visual material on ITA technical documents
         •    Promote interaction between Working Groups, as well as interaction between WGs and Committees notably through the WG/ Committee meeting at WTC

GOAL #3 : Enhance Interaction with Industry

  • Follow up on collaboration with PS and Supporters through regular visits, exchange of views on strategy and satisfaction survey

          •    Visit all existing PS once every third year (agenda to include exchange on ITA strategy and review of PS activities & areas of interest / Follow-up on main conclusions of the visit)
          •    Ensure ITA Tech action/delivery meet PS’ expectations
          •    Actively search for new PS, as well as Corporate Members, and Supporters (involve MNs in search)

GOAL #4 : Encourage further Knowledge Sharing through Education and Training

  • Support Member Nations through the organization of training sessions and workshops

          •    Organize through ITA-CET and pay for at least one training program in one Member Nation per year to be selected based on cost-benefit ratio. Survey to evaluate potential of and benefits for different emerging Member Nations

  •    Develop a training offer for professionals and industry

          •    Identify the needs for training in two areas:
                  a) General use and benefits of underground space for developing countries
                  b)  Areas of known risks to human safety and construction success
          •    Include training as one topic when approaching the World Bank & other development banks. Assist the WB & others in the training of host countries in the use of underground space.

GOAL #5: Enhance Tunnelling and Underground Space Awareness

  • Develop digital materials (documents, Power Point, Video, social media platform, etc.)

         •    Success story of the underground space use in perspectives of sustainability, public dispute, environmental issues, etc.
         •    Educational materials for non-tunnel engineers to promote our theme “Think Deep”.

GOAL #6: Improve communication with Member Nations, Industry and General public

  • Plan Yearly and Standardise communication

          •    Newsletter
          •    ITA Activity report
          •    MN Activity reports
          •    WG Reports
          •    ITA Awards.

  •     Share innovation and successful projects of MNs and Industry

          •    Table of contents of innovation
          •    Have a theme on innovation and successful projects at WTC
          •    Share information from the awards



The following reports prepared by ITA Working Groups have been presented

  • Working Group 5: Guidelines for The Provision of Refuge Chambers In Tunnels Under Construction – V2
  • Working Group 5: Guidelines for Good Working Practice In High Pressure Compressed Air- V2
  • Rapport ITAtech N°9 : Guideline for good practice of fiber reinforced precast segment - Vol.2 Production Aspects
  • Rapport ITAtech n° 10 : Geophysical Ahead Investigation Methods, Seismic Methods



The Open Session, which took place on April 24th, was dedicated on “Contractual Practices of the 21st Century”.

  •  Panel:  

         -  Dr. Amir ABDULGADER, Saudi Ministry for Technical Affairs, Deputy Minister
         -  Patrick BRAVERY, chairman of ITIG, Global Civil Construction at Liberty Specialty Markets
         -  Mrs. Sofia GUERRERO GAMEZ, Senior Transport Specialist at The World Bank
         -  Alexandre GOMES, Chief Technical Principal – Tunnels and Underground, SMEC (Surbana Jurong Group)
         -  Xavier VERDIER, International Business Development Director Bouygues-Construction
         -  Rafaele ZURLO, Italian CEO of BBT The Brenner Base Tunnel
         -  Matthias NEUENSCHWANDER, Neuenschwander Consulting Engineers

  •  Two discussion themes :

         -  Best practices
         -  Challenges to meet

  •  Session well attended
  • Current trends

         -  Bigger projects, with more complexity
         -  Variety of situations and conditions

  • Need to recognize uncertainties and allow proper risk allocation
  • Importance of Risk Management
  • Further requirements

         -  Customize to local law, practices, conditions
         -  Implement good practices for ground investigations, design, construction
         -  Raise awareness
         -  Develop positive interaction between parties involved
         -  Presentation of the Emerald Book (FIDIC-ITA TG10)



  • Naples, Italy, from 2 to 9 May, 2019, during the ITA-AITES WTC 2019 “Tunnels and underground cities: engineering and  innovation meet archaeology, architecture and art”.
  • Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, from May 15 to 21, 2020, during the ITA-AITES WTC 2020 “Innovation and sustainable urban connectivity”
  • Copenhagen, Denmark, from May 14 to 20, 2021, during the ITA-AITES WTC 2021 “Underground solutions for a world in change”.