Decade of Action Forum
As part of a global ‘Week of Action’ for the UN’s post-2015 public vote on future priorities, a high level Forum to mark the fourth anniversary of the Decade of Action for Road Safety called for urgent action to save lives around the world.
The Decade of Action Policy and Donor Forum, held in Melbourne, Australia called for road safety to be included in the new ‘post-2015’ goals for global development currently being debated at the United Nations.
The goal of the UN’s Decade of Action, launched in 2011, is to save five million lives and prevent fifty million serious injuries. But this objective will not be achieved unless funding, coordination and political support is increased significantly, the Forum heard.
The Forum brought together governments, NGOs and automobile clubs, and the private sector from across Australia and Asia/Pacific, as well as global institutions including the World Bank and World Health Organization. The event is part of a global ‘Week of Action’ to encourage participation in the UN’s global ‘My World’ vote, which has already seen 2 million people cast votes for their priorities in the next global development goals.
The Decade of Action Policy and Donor Forum was hosted by the RACV and co-organised by the AAA, the Commission for Global Road Safety, Road Safety Fund and the FIA Foundation.
Movie actress and Global Road Safety Ambassador Michelle Yeoh was a keynote speaker at the Forum and was also in Melbourne to begin filming a new documentary on road safety. She told delegates about some of the road traffic victims she has met during her fact-finding missions in Asia.
“I’ve seen the parents anxiously tending to their son in an intensive care unit in Delhi, or sleeping the hallway of a Hanoi hospital outside the trauma ward where their daughter lies injured. There is a universal language of pain and grief that follows in the wake of a road traffic crash, and these often very poor families have no one to speak up for them. But now we have an unprecedented chance to make their voices heard. By voting for ‘better roads and transport’ in the UN’s global My World survey, we can ensure that road safety gets onto the radar of policymakers at the UN and around the world.”
The Australian State of Victoria was recognised at the Forum for political commitment to road safety over many decades, an example that must be replicated elsewhere. HRH Prince Michael of Kent, cousin of HM The Queen and Patron of the Commission for Global Road Safety, presented his prestigious ‘Decade of Action’ Award to the State of Victoria in recognition of its achievements in road safety. Previous recipients of the Decade Award include former Mayor of New York Michael Bloomberg for his multi-million dollar philanthropic support for road safety.
Presenting the Decade Award to the State of Victoria, HRH Prince Michael said: “Victoria is a worthy winner of my 'Decade of Action' Award for 2014. The State is leading by example with an innovative approach which is saving lives. My Award also recognises the constant striving for further improvement that characterises the Victorian, and the Australian, approach to road safety.
“This bold vision must be replicated globally. Over the course of the next 18 months the international community will finalise the post-2015 sustainable development goals and begin designing means of implementation. We must all do what we can to ensure that road safety is an integral part of this process. This global epidemic of road traffic injuries requires urgent action.”
Victoria serves as a global exemplar for road safety policy making: The Transport Accident Commission has pioneered an innovative financing model which accounts for the social, health and economic costs of road traffic injuries; VicRoads has conducted vital work in enhancing safe road infrastructure, exporting its expertise throughout the Asia Pacific region; Victoria Police has played an important role in effectively implementing and enforcing road safety initiatives across the state over many decades; and the Accident Research Centre at Monash University has made a major global contribution to the academic and practical development of the ‘Safe Systems’ approach. HRH Prince Michael also praised Australia for its global support for road safety, including contributing funding to the World Bank’s Global Road Safety Facility and advocating at the UN for road safety to be part of the post-2015 agenda.
Mr Colin Jordan, Managing Director and CEO of RACV and member of the Commission for Global Road Safety opened the Forum, welcoming HRH Prince Michael of Kent and Michelle Yeoh to Melbourne. “I am pleased to welcome Prince Michael, Michelle Yeoh and the other international road safety campaigners and experts to Australia, and I am particularly proud that Victoria can showcase and share our successful campaigns to the world,” he said.
Also recognised at the Forum, other leading organisations received Awards from HRH Prince Michael, they included: ‘Stars on Cars’, which was created in South Australia as an education programme on vehicle safety features when consumers consider a new car purchase and to increase awareness of the safety ratings published by the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP); The Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (MIROS), which has helped create safer roads, vehicles and road users and reduced road deaths and injuries in Malaysia and other Southeast Asian nations; and the International Road Assessment Programme (iRAP) which has a vision of a world free of high risk roads. iRAP is a world leader working in over 70 countries to ensure safe road infrastructure.
The Decade Forum follows the UN General Assembly’s new Resolution passed in April 2014, which encourages Governments to consider the inclusion of road safety in the new global development Goals. Australia was one of the Member States which co-sponsored the Resolution which underlines the call for increased global support for road safety. Over 1.2 million people lose their lives on the roads each year and tens of millions are injured with road crashes the number one killer of young people aged 15-29 worldwide.
For inclusion in the new Post-2015 Development Goals, the Commission has recommended a global fatality reduction target 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.
The campaign is also encouraging people to vote for ‘better roads and transport’ at the UN’s ‘MY World’ survey for the public globally to vote on their post-2015 priorities:.
To vote at MY World visit http://walksafe.myworld2015.org