UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has called for global commitment to reducing road deaths and injuries as part of a “sustainable future” in a message to mark the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims on 18 November.
Ban Ki-moon highlighted the inclusion this year of road safety in the Rio+20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development – the first time that the road injury epidemic had been recognised in a major global development summit.
The inclusion of the issue in the Rio+20 Outcome Document is an important step in the campaign for road safety to become part of the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals.
The UN Secretary General said: “Earlier this year, the Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development emphasized the importance of safe roads. On this World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims, let us commit to minimizing road traffic deaths and injuries as part of our quest for an equitable and sustainable future.”
He noted examples of Governments that have responded to the Decade of Action for Road Safety by launching life-saving initiatives. The Secretary General included Vietnam where motorcycle helmet use has increased from 30 to 90 per cent, Chile where the law now requires people travelling on inter-city buses to wear seatbelts, Brazil where the police are tightening enforcement on drink driving and a range of other countries including Ghana, India, Mozambique and Pakistan which are improving post-crash care.
The majority of road traffic deaths and injuries – 90% – are in low and middle income countries and most of the victims are pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists, said Ban Ki-moon.
The Secretary General’s message was supported by the Chair of the UN Road Safety Collaboration, Dr. Etienne Krug who highlighted key initiatives such as the International Road Assessment Programme (iRAP) and the Road Safety Fund as concrete efforts towards meeting the Decade of Action goal of saving 5 million lives.
Dr. Krug said: “Since its launch in May 2011, the Decade has had tangible victories. Many countries have started implementing plans, revising and enforcing legislation, and strengthening trauma care. Through newly established assessment programmes, countries are also paying increased attention to the quality of their roads and vehicles. Small grants are being provided through two new mechanisms to support national and local action, and a number of strategic partnerships have been made, including with nongovernmental organizations, influential global media and some of the world’s leading companies.”
The World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims has been endorsed by the United Nations as a global day to be observed every third Sunday in November each year.
Click here for the UN Secretary General’s statement >
Click here for Dr. Etienne Krug’s video message >