UN Road Safety Trust Fund kick-started by FIA Foundation $10M pledge
The FIA Foundation has pledged a donation of USD$10 million to kick start a new United Nations Road Safety Trust Fund, launched by UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed.
The new UN Fund is intended to catalyse road safety action across the globe, using donations to help unlock new government and municipal funding and re-focus national road safety budgets towards proven ‘Safe System’ interventions.
The FIA Foundation’s donation will help to leverage additional support for the Fund from governments, other philanthropies and the private sector to work towards achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) of a 50% global reduction in road fatalities and injuries.
More than 1.3 million people are dying every year on the world’s roads, and a further 50 million are injured, of whom a significant majority are pedestrians particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa. Low- and middle-income countries, where 90% of deaths and injuries occur, are experiencing rapid motorisation and urbanisation, as well as serious issues of economic and political inequity. There is a strong economic case for investment: road traffic injuries cost countries between 3-5% of GDP, and a recent World Bank report identified that countries not investing in road safety could miss out on up to 22% in potential per capita GDP growth over a 24-year period.
The UN Economic Commission for Europe estimates that for every $100 million raised and deployed by the fund, a further $3.4 billion of country and city investment can be unlocked for infrastructure and road safety programmes, saving 64,000 lives and preventing 640,000 serious injuries. To meet the road safety sustainable development goal targets for road safety by 2030 will require at least $770 million per year in catalytic financing, so the stakes are high and the challenge great.
The official launch followed the UN General Assembly debate on road safety, where Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed announced the Fund and called for more donors as a matter of urgency in response to the rising toll of road fatalities and injuries globally.
HRH Prince Michael of Kent spoke on behalf of the UK, sharing the country’s own journey to reducing fatalities, but was also clear in stating that 1700 deaths a year is still unacceptable. With only 2 years until 2020 to deliver the SDG target, where the Decade of Action for Road Safety will also come to a close, Prince Michael urged the international community to redouble efforts to reduce road crash fatalities by 50%. Prince Michael publically thanked FIA Foundation for leading global advocacy on road safety since 2001.
The FIA Foundation, a grant-making charity supporting road safety programmes and advocacy across the world, has a proud history of supporting efforts to increase global road safety financing: as the first donor to the World Bank’s Global Road Safety Facility in 2005; in commissioning ground-breaking research calculating the real costs to health systems of road traffic injuries; in exploring the potential for road safety of social impact investing and micro-donations; and by highlighting the serious impact of road traffic injuries on efforts to reduce poverty.
Speaking at the launch of the UN Road Safety Trust Fund at UN headquarters in New York City, FIA Foundation Executive Director Saul Billingsley said: “The launch of this first ever UN Fund for global road safety is an important recognition that our collective efforts to tackle road safety must be scaled up. Governments have provided the mandate for action, but not yet the resources to deliver it. We urgently need a massive increase in funding, commensurate to the scale of the problem. With this $10 million pledge, the FIA Foundation is stepping up. Now we call on others to do the same."
UNECE Executive Secretary Olga Algayerova stated “The United Nations Road Safety Trust Fund will serve as a catalyst for much-needed progress towards the road safety targets of the Sustainable Development Goals. UNECE is honoured to host the Secretariat of the Trust Fund, and, as home to both the United Nations road safety conventions and the Secretariat of the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Road Safety, is committed to working with all stakeholders to multiply the impact of global action to improve road safety”.
Speaking at the launch of the Fund, the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Road Safety Jean Todt, said “I strongly welcome the establishment of the United Nations Road Safety Trust Fund, which has the potential to galvanize our global efforts to address the road safety situation, building on the progress made and experience gained over the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020. I call on the support of all partners in mobilizing the resources necessary to reduce the number of fatalities on the world’s roads”