Brasilia Declaration sets ‘manifesto for change’ to meet Global Goals
More than 70 ministerial-level government delegations and 2000 multi-sectoral participants meeting at the 2nd Global High Level Conference on Road Safety have agreed the 'Brasilia Declaration' to "intensify both national action and international cooperation" to meet the road safety targets included in the Sustainable Development Goals. Hosting the conference, President Dilma Rousseff of Brazil said: "In five years, I hope we can reflect on the Decade of Action for Road Safety in a positive light and build on the success into the next decade".
The Brasilia Declaration reiterates support for the Decade of Action and calls on governments to meet objectives set out in the Global Plan of the Decade, including the need for legislative progress to raise the proportion of countries with laws for the main ‘risk factors’ to at least 50% by 2020; adoption of minimum UN vehicle safety regulations, including electronic stability control as standard, by 2020; and infrastructure safety improvements. It also breaks new ground with a strong emphasis on equitable access to safe mobility, and a call to mainstream road safety and sustainable mobility within the New Urban Agenda, to be adopted at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Urban Development and Housing (Habitat III) in 2016.
The High Level Conference, held in Brasilia on 18-19 November 2015, was opened with a powerful speech by the FIA Foundation's ambassador, road safety advocate and mother of a road traffic victim, Zoleka Mandela. Sharing the stage with the President of Brazil, Dilma Rousseff, and the Director General of the World Health Organization, Dr Margaret Chan, Mandela told government ministers that there could be no more excuses for inaction. “No more empty commitments. No more delay. We are approaching five years into the Decade of Action for Road Safety. Road deaths are actually rising in nearly 70 countries. Where is the action? Where is the urgency?” She called for specific action to meet the ambitious SDG target.
Dr Margaret Chan, Director General of the WHO, told the opening session: "Trauma care is costly. Rehabilitation is costly. We must never forget that traffic crashes are a leading cause of permanent disabilities. Everyone must work together to create a world free of high-risk roads and ensure that the benefits of safe mobility are evenly shared. "We will save lives, save money, support development, and reduce the vast human tragedy caused by more than a million largely predictable and preventable deaths. Let's make this conference the turning point for road safety."
At the beginning of the Ministerial session, including ministers from many countries including the Russian Federation, India, Australia, Sweden and South Africa, the FIA Foundation’s Director of Advocacy Avi Silverman introduced the ‘Save Kids Lives’ campaign while local schoolchildren presented copies of the campaign’s ‘Child Declaration’ to ministers. Others delivering plenary speeches included Dr Carissa Etienne, Director of the Pan-American Health Organiation; Jean Todt, UN Special Envoy for Road Safety; and Christian Friis Bach, Executive Secretary of UN-ECE.
Parallel panel sessions and side events were organised on key issues. The FIA Foundation’s Director General, Saul Billingsley, moderated a session on financing which included World Bank Managing Director Bertrand Badre; AXA CEO, Jean-Laurent Granier; Jean Todt; and Christian Friis Bach, in which issues were discussed including strategies for designing and operationalising a new global fund, the potential of innovative micro-tax or voluntary micro-donations, the role of the private sector, and the potential of ‘payment for results’ financing frameworks. Saul Billingsley also spoke in a high level plenary on implementing the SDGs, alongside ministers from Brazil and Morocco, the Transport Director of the World Bank, Pierre Guislan, and the Director of PAHO, Dr Carissa Etienne, and joined Australia’s road safety minister, Michael McCormack MP, on a side event panel promoting iRAP’s star rating performance metrics for safe road infrastructure. Avi Silverman spoke at a well-attended side event on child safety organised by the youth NGO YOURS. Major Foundation grant partners, including Global NCAP, iRAP and the FIA, as well as strategic NGO partners such as AIP Foundation, Amend, EASST and the Fundacion Gonzalo Rodriguez (FGR), were also actively involved in parallel sessions and side events. A ‘Stop the Crash’ demonstration of Autonomous Emergency Braking technology organised by Global NCAP ran throughout the conference, while iRAP and FGR organised practical training sessions for delegates on infrastructure star rating and child seat fitment respectively.
Speaking in the closing session of the conference, following the formal adoption of the Brasilia Declaration, Rt. Hon. Lord Robertson of Port Ellen, Chairman of the Commission for Global Road Safety, told ministers and delegates that the Declaration was a ‘manifesto for change’ that would need to be honoured and implemented in full if the ambitious targets of the SDGs were to be achieved. He also joined WHO’s Margaret Chan at a side event encouraging greater involvement in road safety by parliamentarians, a meeting also addressed by several international MPs including Michael McCormack and UK member of parliament and former road safety minister Jim Fitzpatrick MP.
Prior to the official conference the FIA Foundation organised a number of pre-events, including a Forum on Child Health & Urban Mobility; an NGO Rally; and the Prince Michael International Road Safety Awards. FIA Foundation Chairman Tim Keown hosted the awards dinner, which included recognition for Latin NCAP; the European Federation of Victims of Road Crashes; and a special award for the Commission for Global Road Safety, which has now been dissolved after ten years of significant progress and achievement. HRH Prince Michael of Kent presented his prestigious ‘Decade of Action’ Award to the Federative Republic of Brazil, represented by Brazilian Justice Minister Jose Cardozo, for international leadership in promoting road safety in the SDGs and hosting the High Level Conference.
Tim Keown, FIA Foundation Chairman, said: “The 2nd Global High Level Conference on Road Safety has injected much needed renewed momentum for the Decade of Action. It has also provided a great platform from which to begin implementing the road safety SDG targets. Now we need to see the rhetoric of the conference translated into real, measurable action in countries; action that delivers change and saves lives.”