Over the last few months, Covid19 pandemic has brutally impacted global economy. The tunnelling industry gathered last week in a virtual conference to hold the 46th General Assembly of ITA, the International Tunnelling and Underground Space Association. In times of uncertainty, it was the occasion for the worldwide NGO to give an overlook on the main activities of the Association, achievements of Working Groups and committees and on future events. As planned, ITA presented the updated strategy for the new 3-year term.



Argentina, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Bhutan, Bulgaria, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, Ecuador, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, India, Iran, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Lebanon, Lesotho, Malaysia, Mexico, Montenegro, Morocco, Nepal, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, The Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Serbia, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States of America.



Albania*, Algeria, Belarus*, Bolivia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Cambodia, Croatia, Guatemala, Indonesia, Israel, Kazakhstan, Lao PDR, Myanmar, North Macedonia, Panama, Peru, Qatar, Romania, Russia*, Saudi Arabia, Slovakia, Slovenia, United Arab Emirates*, Venezuela, Vietnam.

(announced but not present for technical reasons).



Jenny Yan Jinxiu, China, President                               (2019-2022)
Tarcisio B. Celestino, Brazil, Past President                (2019-2022)
Lars Babendererde, Germany, 1st Vice-President       (2019-2022)
Randall Essex, USA, Vice-President                              (2019-2022)
Arnold Dix, Australia  Vice-President                            (2019-2022)
Giuseppe Lunardi, Italy, Vice-President                        (2019-2022)
Abidemi Agwor, Nigeria, Member                                  (2019-2022)
Hamdi Aydin, Turkey, Member                                        (2019-2022)
Choi Hangseok, Korea, Member                                     (2019-2022)
Jeyatharan Kumarasamy, Singapore Member               (2019-2022)
Andres Marulanda, Colombia, Member                          (2019-2022)
Jamal Rostami, Iran, Member                                          (2019-2022)
Gérard Seingre, Treasurer, Switzerland                           (2019-2022)
Soren Eskesen, Denmark, correspondant WTC 2021   (2018-2022)

Gouvernance Council :

Damian McGirr, United Kingdom                                     (2019-2021)

Eivind Grov, Norway                                                          (2019-2021)




  • Virtual ITA Awards 2020

The event was to be hosted in Melbourne, Australia. ITA decided that ITA Tunnelling Awards 2020 had to be moved to a virtual conference which will be held on 3-4 December, at the occasion of the #World Tunnel Day.

At this stage, the 6th edition of the event registered 55 candidacies through 22 countries.

The 7th edition in 2021 is planned in India.


  • Postponing of WTC 2021

ITA and the organizing committee of WTC 2021 have decided to postpone the upcoming World Tunnel Congress to be hosted by Denmark in Copenhagen.

Soren Degn Eskesen, Chair of the WTC 2021 organizing committee said : « Travel restrictions due to the global pandemic situation is a risk we must take into account and measure, it can have big impacts. We decided early postponing of WTC 2021 to avoid a later disappointment if physical event could not be held. »

Denmark will now be the venue for the WTC2022 event to be held in April of that year. This was agreed by Mexico which was to have hosted the event in Cancun in 2022.


  • Strategy for 2020-2023:

Climate change, pandemic, demographical growth and its management reveal the urgent need for public authorities and urban planning key players to elaborate a new strategy to tackle these challenges. Through its 2020-2023 strategy, ITA intends to solve major issues of the underground industry: pressing water, sanitation, transportation, energy and food rarefaction.

Five goals were announced:

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

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

3.       Encourage further knowledge sharing through education and training

4.       Enhance tunnelling and underground space awareness

5.       Improve communication with Member Nations, industry and the general public.  


Pursuing the strategy presented 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

Through the new Member Nations activity reports format, the sharing of information between the Member Nations and with the Executive Council and the secretariat has been more intense. For the past 2 years we have received 46 activity reports. In addition, several Member Nations provided ITA with examples of tunnelling works that have then been used for the video of “Tunnelling the world 2018”.
During the year several seminars and training have been organized in the Member Nations such as North Macedonia, China, Belgium, Malaysia….
For several years now Member nations belonging to the same geographic area meet during the WTC and sometimes along the year to share their best practices.


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

During the annual meeting with WGs Animateurs, Committees Chairs and ExCo members, it has been highlighted some important topics to be implemented such as improvement in coordination, focus and working with outside institution and increase the diversity in participating Member Nation. The secretariat is regularly contacting Member Nations to update the list of participants in the different Working Groups as well as the industry to find experts for the various Committees.
The process of document reviewing has been improved and all documents published this year have followed this process.
At this stage it is necessary to find ways to help WGs to produce for every publication and guidelines related documents for training purposes in different format presentation but also audio visual.


GOAL #3 : Enhance Interaction with Industry

Three main objectives have been set up to achieve goal n°3. During the year the fol-lowing actions have been made:

  • Follow up on collaboration with Prime Sponsors and Supporters:

                  - Regular visits to PS,
                  - Yearly meeting with PS at the occa-sion of each WTC,
                  - Satisfaction survey completed in 2017, and used to realign objectives.

  • Develop mutually beneficial initiatives with Industry:

                 - PS invited to present at events adjoining ExCo meetings such as in Florianopolis.

  • Regularly update tunnel market forecast and organize dissemination:

             - Second market survey finalized and disseminated at WTC 2017 in Bergen. An addendum on African market will be delivered at WTC 2019 Naples.


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

Training is one of the core of ITA. In order to help Member Nations, the ITA Committee on Education and Training is providing the possibility of training sessions. The ITA ExCo has been working closely with the ITACET Foundation to find better ways for the organization of the training sessions. During the year, training sessions have been organized in France, UAE, Argentina, Kenya and Nepal.
In addition, the ExCo started to work with different International banks and funding bodies to promote training when financing infrastructures that include tunels & underground spaces.
One of the other axe of work concern a survey with Member Nations about the level of training on underground works for professionals obtaining degrees on civil engineering, mining engineering and geology.


GOAL #5: Enhance Tunnelling and Underground Space Awareness

ITACUS is the main entity in enhance tunnelling and underground space awareness. It’s also important to devel-op digital materials and share the good examples. This year, a success story of highspeed railway tunnels for PyoungChang Winter Olympics has been published in Tunneltalk.
We are also engaged to develop educational materials for non- engineers and disseminate them by posting on our website and Youtube.
In 2018 ITACUS organized three thematic workshops on underground spaces.
Think Deep Sweden has been formed.
“Think Deep” publication being disseminated in coordination with ISO-CARP.
THINK DEEP National Action Program (TDNAP) is planned during WTC2019: Five National Action groups will partici-pate (Australia, UK, Nigeria, Nether-lands , Sweden).
Through ITACUS we have maintained and improved contacts with ISOCARP in participating in their congress and with other bodies such as UN Habitat , ACUUS, ICLEI….
The organization of specific training sessions on the use of underground space in developing countries is an im-portant action to help decision makers, planners, engineers to better know the benefit of using the underground space.
ITA and ITACUS have, together with the Member Nations and the ITA-CET, organised training session in Abuja, Nigeria done in March and another in Nairobi in December.


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

In the strategic plan, actions concern a better planning of communication as well as sharing innovation and successful projects of Member Nations and Industry.
To perform this goal, we have this year emphasis the communication towards the member nation in the preparation of the General Assembly, in order that all Member nations can know sufficiently in advance what is planned and how to communicate.
As for the previous year, the Member Nation reports will be disseminated to the Member nations but more largely to all participants at the WTC. Through this magazine, which will be produced for the third year, ITA takes care to better communicate to the whole tunnelling industry the activities but also showcase the works and projects in all Member Nations.
From October, Anne Brissaud has joined the ITA staff as Communication Officer. We have now more possibilities to share information largely through the ita@news, specific information, the internal bulletin and of course with a publication as this one which allow a better communication from the ITA Executive Council towards the Member Nations and more largely the ITA family.
This year, the Member Nations have sent quite a lot material that has been used for producing the “Video of the Year” focusing on projects that have been achieved or were under construction during the year 2018.
We have also produced a video presenting in 10 minutes the ITA as well as for the previous year a video showing the tremendous event which has been the ITA Awards 2018 in China. All the videos are available on ITA Youtube channel.


WORLD TUNNEL CONGRESS 2022 “Underground solutions for a world in change”

Postponed from 2021 to 2022, Copenhagen, Denmark