Funding the march to UN’s walking week

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Long Short Walk in Manila to promote UN Global Road Safety Week
Long Short Walk in Manila to promote UN Global Road Safety Week

More than 40 road safety NGOs from 30+ countries are being provided with small grants to enable advocacy activities during the UN week of action, 6-12 May 2013. The grants, totalling US $100,000, are being distributed via the Global Alliance of NGOs for Road Safety, to enable ‘Long Short Walk’ campaigns and other pedestrian safety-related activities, through the support of Allianz and Bosch, both Global Supporters of the Decade of Action.

Another Global Supporter, FedEx, has donated US $98,000 to implement a Safe School pilot project with the International Road Assessment Programme (iRAP) and Safe Kids Worldwide. The project, in Mexico City, is adapting iRAP methodology to assess and identify safe routes to school. The aim of the project, which is being undertaken with technical assistance from the University of North Carolina, is to provide star ratings on the safety of a particular school environment. If star ratings can be successfully applied, they can provide local communities with a simple and transparent advocacy tool, and provide local road engineers and enforcement authorities with a clear menu of costed countermeasures to reduce child injuries.

FedEx have provided an additional US$52,000 grant via the Road Safety Fund to support UN Road Safety Week advocacy activities by Safe Kids Worldwide affiliates around the globe. The UN Week provides an unprecedented global platform for promoting the rights of pedestrians, who are often overlooked in transport and land-use planning, and in road safety policies. At least 22% of the 1.3 million people killed in road crashes each year are pedestrians.

As part of its activities for the UN Week, which will include launching a new good practice manual on pedestrian safety, the World Health Organization will also be distributing 30,000 reflectors to children, via its country offices, which have been provided to the Road Safety Fund by Decade supporter Coreflect. The FIA Foundation, which hosts the Road Safety Fund, is itself additionally providing more than $US 250,000 in funding to enable advocacy activities, including Long Short Walks, and pedestrian safety interventions by national member clubs of the FIA and to support the global coordination of the UN Week by the WHO.

Many organisations and companies are preparing to participate in the UN Global Road Safety Week and to join Long Short Walks in their communities. In Manila, Philippines, on 2nd April participants at the Global Road Safety Partnership’s annual Asia regional meeting took part in a Long Short Walk along the seafront. The Road Safety Fund’s director, Saul Billingsley, gave a keynote speech at the meeting on the opportunity presented by the current debate on post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals to promote safe walking as a basic right for all. At the annual meeting of the NGO Global Alliance in Antalya, Turkey, on 4th April NGOs from across the world also took to the streets on a Long Short Walk.

Speaking at the NGO Global Alliance conference, Etienne Krug, Director, Department of Violence and Injury Prevention and Disability said: “There is a sustained momentum building all over the world. This is very encouraging and it is largely due to the work that NGOs have been doing. I am strongly convinced that if road safety is to continue to make progress it will largely be because of the role that NGOs have played. NGOs have been advocating for and demanding more road safety efforts and also providing some of the services where governments have not been able to do so.”