Forty-first Annual Meeting – DUBROVNIK 2015

The International Tunnelling and Underground Space Association held its forty-first meeting in Dubrovnik, Croatia, from 22 to 28 May 2015, in conjunction with the World Tunnel Congress 2015 "Promoting Tunnelling in South East European Regionion" organized by ITA and the the Croatian Association for Tunnelling and Underground Space - ITA Croatia..  More than 1550 persons participated in the Congress. 55 of the 73 Member Nations participated or were represented in the General Assembly.


South Africa, Germany,  Argentina, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Bhutan,  Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Republic of Korea,  Croatia, Denmark, Egypt, United Arab Emirates,  Spain, United States of America, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iceland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Lesotho, Mexico, Montenegro, Nepal, Norway, The Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, United Kingdom, Russia, Serbia, Singapore, Slovenia, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine.


Algeria,  Saudi Arabia, Bolivia, Cambodia,Costa-Rica,Ecuador, Kazakhstan, Lao PDR,  Macedonia (FYROM), Malaysia, Morocco,  Myanmar, Panama, Peru, Venezuela, Vietnam.



Søren Degn Eskesen, President, Denmark (2013-2016)
In-Mo Lee, Korea, Past President (2013-2016)
Rick P. Lovat, First Vice-President, Canada (2013-2016)
Tarcisio Celestino, Vice-President, Brazil (2013-2016)
Amanda Elioff, Vice-President,USA (2013-2016)
Daniele Peila, Vice-President, Italy (2013-2016)
Alexandre Gomes, Chile (2013-2016)
Ruth Gunlaug Haug, Norway (2013-2016)
Nikolaos Kazilis, Greece (2013-2016)
Eric Leca, France (2013-2016)
Jinxiu (Jenny) Yan, China (2013-2016)
Anna Sieminska Lewandowska (2014-2017)
Felix Amberg, Treasurer, Switzerland (2013-2016)
Maged Farouck Hanna, UAE  (2015-2018)


The Association has registered the membership of  2 new Member Nations, Guatemala and Qatar and 21 new Affiliate Members (16 Corporate Members and 5 Individual Member); the total results to 73 Member Nations and 282 Affiliate Members (191 Corporate Members and 91 Individual Members) taking into account some resignations. Three companies joined as Prime Sponsor (Total: 17) and 12 became Supporters (total: 57). 
The ITA Prime Sponsors elected Timo Laitinen from Sandvik for the period 2015-2018 as representative of the Prime Sponsors to the Executive Council. He replaces Tom Melbye from Normet who held this position during the last 4 years. The whole Executive Council and General Assembly thanked Tom Melbye for his work and dedication to ITA. 


The Open Session, which took place on May 26h, was dedicated on "Underground Space and Natural Ressources" with a special focus on Hydro.

Underground space can make hydro power scheme more sustainable in respect to environment, social and economical aspects when used in suitable settings and with clear understanding of all risk, particularly geotechnical risk. Other risk to be aware of; Financial challenges, Construction risk, Hydrological risk, Off-taker risk, Regulatory risk, Life-cycle risk and changes in climate and technology.

A  panel of experts  discussed on the three main themes : Sustainability, constructability, finance and insurance. The panel was composed of the following experts : Jon Ulrik Håheim, Statkraft, Norway - Harald Wagner,ITA expert,Thailand -  Zvonimir Sever, HPP Ombla, Croatia - Gérard Seingre, Nant de Drance, Switzerland - Jinxiu Yan, CREC, China - Hartmut Reiner, MunichRe, Germany - Dorij Phuntshok, Drukgreen, Bhutan


The conclusion of the session has been very clear : "Hydro power tunnels has through focus on constructability by advanced technology and contractual practices, proven to be the most sustainable solution. With financing concepts based on revenues, and market development of renewable energy, hydro tunnels and related structures, surge shafts, penstocks and underground powerhouses, are the most reliable, and most economical longterm solutions for the energy supply of our planet".


A detailed review of the session will be published soon. The videos presented at this occasion can be seen on ITA Youtube Channel



  • San Francisco, USA, from April 22 to 28, 2016, during the ITA-AITES WTC 2016 “Uniting our Industry”
  • Bergen, Norway, from June 9 to 16, 2017, during the ITA-AITES WTC 2017 “Surface problems – Underground solutions"
  • Dubaï, UAE, from April 20 to 26 2018, during the ITA-AITES WTC 2018 "Smart Cities: Managing the use of underground space to enhance quality of life"







The Executive Council held 5 plenary meetings and carried out its traditional activities in taking into account the conclusions of the Auditor’s report, notably to take care of the relationship with the new Member Nations.

To take into account some specific topics the ITA Executive Council created task forces. Five task forces have been activated this year on the following topics:

  • Member Nations - How to facilitate and improve contacts
  • Communication
  • Industry relations - Method Analysis
  • ITA Awards
  • Open Session 2015


« ITA, the leading international organization promoting the use of tunnels and underground space through knowledge sharing and application of technology »

Seven strategic goals have been defined :

  • Goal #1: Consolidate/Activate Member Nations – particularly newly joined Member Nations
  • Goal #2: Improve Communication and Functioning of Working Groups and Committees
  • Goal #3: Expand Industry Relations
  • Goal #4: Encourage knowledge sharing through education and training
  • Goal #5: Create and develop an ITA Young Members Group
  • Goal #6: Promote the use of underground space
  • Goal #7: Improve communication towards Member Nations, industry and public

Following the GA in 2014, the members in charge of each 7 strategic goals set up precise actions and schedule.


The ExCo has reviewed them at each ExCo meeting and after one year the progress has been scrutinized 

  • For more than 70% of activities planned, actions have been taken and have reached the goal partially or totally.
  • All goals need continuous actions
  • ExCo will maintain focus on the strategy actions

In parallel with the implementation of the actions decided in the strategy, the Executive Council launched a survey among the stakeholders of the Association to determine overall satisfaction with the organization and solicit feedback from the membership. In particular, input on the Strategic Plan was solicited


  • Image of ITA is very good
    • Overall, the association is viewed positively as a dynamic place, an association which must be known and necessary for the future.
    • However, the processes are sometimes considered too bureaucratic and the association may not be sufficiently accessible / opened to the new generation.
  • Around 60% of respondents think ITA has a strong influence on the decisions regarding tunnel projects
  • The vast majority of respondents agreed with the vision and mission of ITA and the focus of the strategic plan


The Executive Council pursued the development of its relations with the Member Nations in visiting, participating and granting meetings or events organised by 22 Member Nations. It presented ITA at various congresses and meetings in several countries not ITA members yet. 

During WTC several meeting took place between ExCo and Member nations such as the Nordic Forum or the LATAM Forum. 

The contacts with the International Sister Associations PIARC, ISRM, ISSMGE, ITIG, IFME, ISOCARP, ACUUS ICLEI and IRF were pursued. 


The 13 active Working Groups met regularly during WTC and for some of them in between during the year. The production of guidelines and recommendations is increasing and shows good work done by all participants - 3 guidelines have been published this year - more information is available on the dedicated web pages.

The ITA four Committees ITA COSUF, ITA-CET, itacus and ITAtech are very active. Five guidelines have been published this year. More information is available on the web page of each committee

During the year, itacus has continued its work with its global partners notably with the publication in cooperation with ISCARP of the case studies "Think deep: planning, development and use of underground space in cities". During the year itacus organised 2 #u2fc - urban underground future conversation to better address issues such as climate change, participate at the Climate Summit in NY UN headquarter. 

At the WTC, in addition to the work of the different activity groups, ITAtech organised an ITAtech session" to discuss three topics namely : Rebuild Equipments, Precast fibre reinforced concerete segments, quality Drill & blast. 

During the WTC, ITA-COSUF celebrate its 10th anniversary and organized a workshop entitled " Aging Tunnels- Safety in operation and during refurbishment"

before the WTC, ITA-CET in cooperation with ITA Croatia and ITACET Foundation organized a two day training session on SOFT GROUND URBAN TUNNELLING & ROCK TUNNELLING IN KARST

The ITA Young member group has been very active during the year, strengthening the international network between young members and participating in two major events in Greece and UAE. ITA YM also created a new magazine "Breakthrough". 


A task force was implemented to better take into account relationship between ITA and the industry at large but mainly the companies Affiliate, Supporter and Prime Sponsor.

A special leaflet summarizing the roles and benefits has been prepared. The table is available on the membership web page  and shows the different benefits for each category.

Along the year 10 Prime Sponsors have been visited by the ITA President or Vice President and the Expert representing PS. During the WTC a meeting took plcae between ExCo members and PS representatives. 


In 2014, the relationships with the United Nations and specifically with UN-ISDR and UN Habitat have been strengthened with the participation of ITA members in the Urban Planning Group of UN. ITA is now partner of the resilient cities campaign.ITA and itacus are participating in a joint activity group on Underground Freight, on urban underground resilience.  

ITA Awards

Following remarks made by ITA members and representatives of ITA Member Nations, the Executive Council decided not to renew the partnership with NCE for the organization of awards, but to organize them by itself.  This year the ITA Awards Conference and Ceremony will take place in the Hagerbach test gallery in Switzerland. For the coming years it is planned that the awards will be hosted by ITA and held in different member nation around the world.



The ITA Tunnelling Awards will identify and celebrate outstanding achievements in tunnelling and underground space development and promote international recognition of the industry’s remarkable contributions to engineering and to society.

A contest for 9 categories – Encourage owners, designers, contractors, manufacturers to submit entries until August 14th.

A one-day conference, where the 3 shortlisted in each category will present their project/ initiative.

An award ceremony banquet on November 19th in Hagerbach, Switzerland.


  • ita@news: 5 issues of the ita@news have been published this year and distributed to about 8’000 subscribers. ITA would like very much to have feedback of regular readers.
  • Tunnelling and Underground Space Technology (TUST): ITA Members have access an electronic version of TUST (including archives).
  • Website: The website which exists since 1998 has been renewed. This year a Chinese version of the web site dedicated to general public has been released. 
  • ITA – Reports: 8 reports have been published, three from ITA Working Groups (2,5 and 11), four from ITAtech Activity Groups and one from ITA COSUF Committee:
    • Strategy for Site Investigation on tunnelling projects
    • Guidelines for Good Working Practice In High Pressure Compressed

    • An Owners Guide to Immersed Tunnels

    • Rebuilt Equipment – Guidelines on Rebuilds of Machinery for mechanized Tunnel Excavation

    • Guideline for Good Practice of Fibre Reinforced Concrete Precast Segments

    • Guidelines on Measurement Frequencies.

    • Remote measurement -

    • Survey of existing regulations and recognised recommendations (on operation and safety of road tunnels) 

All these documents are available free of charge on ITA website and available for comments. 

  • Press: In 2014-2015, ITA has participated directly or indirectly to articles published in technical newspapers or magazines of information such as World Tunnelling (UK), Tunnelling Journal (UK), and Tunnel Talk (USA). ITA is now working with a press agency and the press kit is regularly updated. .
  • Video: ITA produced the video for the Open Session as well as several for itacus. They are available on ITA Youtube Channel
  • Social networks: the ITA group in the social network LinkedIn is very active. There are nearly 3,000 members in this group.