“Road safety central to SDGs” says President of European Development Bank
The critical role of safer roads to achieving wider development goals has been emphasised with the publication of a report showing the estimated US $200 billion a year cost of road traffic injuries to countries in Eastern Europe and Central Asia.
The report, published by the Eastern Alliance for Safe & Sustainable Transport (EASST) in partnership with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the Towards Zero Foundation, Global NCAP and the FIA Foundation, uses data from the World Health Organization’s Global Status Report on Road Safety 2015 to examine the total number of road deaths and injuries in the EBRD countries of operations, including all 14 countries where EASST operates, as well as the economic cost of road crashes to these countries in transition.
The findings prompted Sir Suma Chakrabarti, President of the EBRD, which provides infrastructure loans in the region, to describe road safety as “…central to what we might call our common development endeavour.”
Speaking at a conference on the road safety Sustainable Development Goals targets, organised by EASST and hosted by the EBRD at its headquarters in London on 11 December 2017, Sir Suma said:
“The SDGs are, to my mind, the best possible statement of all the complexities of economic development that we face today. They represent a credible – and achievable – plan of action for us all.
For the first time ever we have goals that emphasise the underlying drivers of sustainable development, as well as a wider set of critical outcomes. Furthermore, the SDGs also integrate the challenges faced by the middle income countries where we work in a way that was simply not the case previously.
Given all that, it is entirely proper that road safety should be included on our global development to-do list. Whether with the specific target of halving the number of global deaths and injuries from road traffic accidents by 2020. Or, by 2030, providing access to safe, affordable, accessible and sustainable transport systems for all.
We know the scale of the problem. Unfortunately, it is large. We know what is at stake. Put bluntly, taking action on road safety is about improving the lives of people and communities. And about reducing the significant social and economic burden of deaths and injuries caused by traffic accidents. It is thus entirely consistent with the EBRD’s mission to invest in changing lives.”
The conference also heard from key road safety leaders including UN Special Envoy Jean Todt, who urged support for a new UN Road Safety Fund; WHO Injury Prevention Director, Etienne Krug; Soames Job, Head of Road Safety at the World Bank; and FIA Foundation Chairman Lord Robertson of Port Ellen.
Dr Krug introduced the new WHO voluntary targets for the SDGs, recently approved by governments, which set out specific objectives to be met by 2030, while Soames Job, speaking in a session on infrastructure safety alongside iRAP CEO Rob McInerney and EBRD Transport Director Sue Barrett, warned that rising road traffic deaths meant governments needed to focus on quick wins like speed reduction.
The conference heard from a number of EASST partners, in sessions on vehicle safety and on city design. Funded by the FIA Foundation, EASST supports NGOs in many ‘former CIS’ countries including Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Ukraine.
“Speaking in the closing session, Lord Robertson set out the challenge: “The road safety issues and solutions are now well known. The international mandates are in place. Governments, international agencies, development banks, car makers and road builders no longer have the excuse of ignorance to prevent them from delivering safety. What we need now is for more leaders to recognise the urgency, to follow through on their promises - and act.”