UN road safety debate hears call for post-2015 action
Global action to combat a growing worldwide epidemic road deaths and injuries must become part of the UN’s new priorities for development, the UN General Assembly was told on 10 April as it passed a new Resolution to address the crisis.
Governments, including Brazil, Jamaica and Russia, urged inclusion of road safety in the post-2015 goals due to be agreed next year. Many speakers in the debate, including the US Ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power, pledged support for the Decade of Action. The US co-sponsored the resolution, which was introduced by Russia's Deputy Interior Minister, Victor Kiryanov.
Governments at the UN have pledged to stabilise and reduce road deaths and injuries in a Decade of Action for Road Safety from 2011-2020, but progress is falling short. The issue must become part of the Post-2015 development goals so that millions of lives can be saved, the UN was told.
Speaking at the UN, Lord Robertson of Port Ellen, Chair of the Commission for Global Road Safety, called for renewed action to save lives on the roads around the world. He was joined by global road safety ambassador, actress Michelle Yeoh, who also addressed the UN General Assembly as it passed a new Resolution to improve global road safety.
Lord Robertson, who was representing the UK Government during the UN debate, called for urgent global support for the Decade of Action: “We have not come as far as many of us hoped, or expected,” he told the UN. “In 2010, when the General Assembly established the Decade of Action, more than a hundred countries endorsed the objective of stabilising and then reducing road deaths by 2020. But we have not yet seen the levels of international cooperation, political leadership or resourcing necessary to achieve this.
“This new Resolution recognises the Commission for Global Road Safety’s call for a target for reducing road deaths to become part of the new development goals. Such a global commitment is vital to save millions of lives around the world.”
The new Resolution calls for a global Ministerial conference to be held in 2015 to assess progress of the Decade of Action for Road Safety. The Government of Brazil has offered to host the Ministerial. The Resolution also asks the WHO to plan a Global Road Safety Week in 2015 on the theme of children and road safety.
The new UN Resolution encourages Governments to consider road safety when negotiating the post-2015 development goals. The Commission is calling for a specific global target to reduce road fatalities by 50% to be included in the new Sustainable Development Goals. This would be consistent with the objectives of the Decade of Action for Road Safety.
Michelle Yeoh, Global Road Safety Ambassador and a member of the Commission, spoke on behalf of Malaysia. She called for further global support for the solutions which have been proven to save lives in countries irrespective of income level.
“In my visits to many countries, alongside the sadness and loss, I have also seen the many ways in which solutions are being implemented and lives protected,” she said. “But if we are to achieve our objectives to save millions of lives globally, we must, and can do much more. Safe mobility should be something we should all expect, irrespective of whether we are rich or poor, or from the north or south. Like clean water, like education, we should all have safe access to our streets. This should be true for all, especially so for our children.
“We need new sources of funding to support road safety campaign. And we need new momentum in support of our shared objective for the Decade of Action, beginning with inclusion of road safety in the post-2015 goals.”
The Resolution also calls further progress to be made in implementing the Decade of Action in a range of key areas. These include:
- additional funding for activities, including through contributions to the Road Safety Fund established by the World Health Organization and the FIA Foundation;
- further implementation of NCAP crash test programmes as being promoted by the Global New Car Assessment Programme;
- encouraging member states to implement national plans on road safety, with emphasis on protecting vulnerable road users and promoting sustainable mobility.
The UN Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020 aims to reduce road deaths and injuries across the world with a five pillar Global Plan. More than 1.2 million people die every year on the world's roads, and up to 50 million are injured.The World Health Organization, which reports on the Decade of Action, has shown that while some progress on road safety has been made particularly in high income countries, many low and middle income countries are facing increasing levels of injury and fatality on their roads. Developing countries account for 90% of the global total of road deaths.
The Commission has recommended a specific global fatality reduction goal of 50% by 2030, as measured from the 2007-2010 baseline data provided by World Health Organization’s Global Status Report on Road Safety 2013. This would be consistent with the current goal of the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety, to ‘stabilise and then reduce’ global road traffic fatalities by 2020. This target forms part of the FIA Foundation’s ‘Safe, Clean, Fair and Green’ agenda for sustainable mobility in the post-2015 development goals.
The Commission for Global Road Safety is an independent global body with a remit to examine the framework for, and level of, international cooperation on road safety, and to make policy recommendations. The Commission proposed a UN Decade of Action for Road Safety, as well as a ‘five pillar’ road safety policy framework for the Decade. The UN General Assembly subsequently proclaimed the ‘Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020’ in March 2010, The Commission’s work is funded through a grant from the FIA Foundation, an independent UK charity providing philanthropic support to road safety efforts worldwide.