DFID seminar hears call for road safety support

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Policymakers at the UK Department for International Development (DFID) have been urged to do more to support global road safety.

Speaking at a seminar at DFID headquarters in London, Saul Billingsley, the FIA Foundation’s Director General, praised the UK Government’s support for the Global Road Safety Facility (hosted by the World Bank), which has succeeded in catalysing new country level road safety activity through national road safety capacity reviews and the inclusion of road safety components in transport loans. In the context of a potential post-2015 road fatality reduction target in the Sustainable Development Goals, he argued that DFID and other bilateral donors should provide additional support to enhance the Facility’s work.

By way of example of the need for more attention to be given to the global road injury epidemic, he contrasted the response of DFID to the Rana Plaza garment factory collapse in Bangladesh, which involved ministerial-level engagement in a coordinated and systematic action plan to improve building standards and support victims’ families, with the relative lack of action by any international agencies in support of the estimated 17,000 people killed on that country’s roads each year (equivalent to a Rana Plaza disaster every month). Outlining the ‘Safe System’ approach to road traffic injury prevention, Saul Billingsley also described some of the initiatives supported by the Foundation which focus on vulnerable road users and lower-income sections of societies, including the International Road Assessment Programme and the ‘Share the Road’ initiative promoting non-motorised transport in East Africa, jointly managed with the UN Environment Programme.

The seminar, involving officials from DFID and the UK’s Department for Transport, discussed a range of issues related to global road safety, health and sustainable development.