UN launches initiative to improve road safety worldwide
With some 1.3 million drivers, passengers and pedestrians dying each year on the world’s roads, the United Nations took a major step to address this tragedy by launching on Thursday a trust fund to spur action that could save lives and prevent the loss of opportunity associated with road accidents.
Speaking at the UN General Assembly where the launch was announced, Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed highlighted the opportunities offered by the UN Road Safety Trust Fund.
“We have a chance to save the lives of millions of people around the world, and to prevent injuries, suffering and the loss of opportunity associated with road accidents,” she said, urging all stakeholders to contribute to the Trust Fund and to step up their efforts to achieve global road safety targets.
According to the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), the Organization’s development arm in the continent, which is also the secretariat for the Trust Fund, every $1,500 contributed to the Fund could save one life; prevent 10 serious injuries; and leverage $51,000 towards investments in road safety.
“The Road Safety Trust Fund will serve as a catalyst for much-needed progress towards the road safety targets of the Sustainable Development Goals,” said Olga Algayerova, the head of UNECE.
Dealing specifically with road safety, SDG targets 3.6 and 11.2 aim to halve the number of global deaths and injuries from road traffic accidents; and to provide access to safe, affordable, accessible and sustainable transport systems as well as improve road safety for all, respectively.
“[We] are committed to working with all stakeholders to multiply the impact of global action to improve road safety,” added Ms. Algayerova.
Echoing these words, Jean Todt, the President of the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile and the UN Special Envoy for Road Safety, also underlined the importance scaling up of resources to achieve global road safety targets.
“[The Trust Fund] has the potential to galvanize our global efforts to address the road safety situation, building on the progress made and experience gained over the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020,” he expressed.
The Trust Fund will support efforts along the five pillars of the Global Plan for the Decade of Action for Road Safety, which include strengthened road safety management capacities; improved safety of road infrastructure and broader transport networks; enhanced safety of vehicles; improved behaviour of road users; and improved post-crash care.
General Assembly urges effective measures to improve road safety
Also today, the UN General Assembly – the UN body with universal membership of all 193 Member States – adopted a resolution on road safety in which it called for a host of measures to prevent road accidents and to minimizing the resulting damage.
One of the measures, it urged, the adoption policies and measures to implement vehicle safety regulations to ensure that all new motor vehicles meet “applicable minimum regulations for the protection of occupants and other road users, with seat belts, airbags and active safety systems fitted as standard equipment.”