International road safety legislators launch new regional networks

Main Image
FIA Foundation Chairman, Lord Robertson of Port Ellen addresses the Network.
FIA Foundation Chairman, Lord Robertson of Port Ellen addresses the Network.

The International Council of the Global Network for Road Safety Legislators convened for its AGM at the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Geneva on December 13 and celebrated the creation of two regional networks – in Africa and the Eastern Mediterranean - to address region-specific road safety issues.

The Global Network is co-ordinated by the WHO. Its goal is to provide a global platform for legislators serving in parliaments to share priorities and exchange best practice in road death and injury prevention, supporting the aims of the SDGs. The event was held a week after the launch of the WHO’s Global status report, which identified road traffic injury as the biggest killer of children over the age of 5 and adults up to the age of 29, and is responsible for 1.35 million annual deaths.

Lord Robertson of Port Ellen, Chairman of the FIA Foundation, opened the event as keynote speaker, alongside Dr Etienne Krug, Director for the Management of Noncommunicable Diseases, Disability, Violence and Injury Prevention at the WHO, and François Bausch, Transport Minister for Luxembourg.

The event heard updates on the work of the network led by Dr Hala Abou-Ali, Member of Parliament in Egypt and Co-chair of the Eastern Mediterranean chapter, and Mr Rajabu Adadi, Member of Parliament in Tanzania and chair of the African chapter. Other speakers included Matthew Baldwin, High Level Coordinator for Road Safety, European Commission; Dr Nhan Tran, Coordinator, Unintentional Injury Prevention, WHO, and the Toward Zero Foundation’s David Ward.

Members of the Network also had the opportunity to share experiences, including developments in legislation, co-ordination and knowledge sharing, and to look ahead to the forthcoming 3rd Global Ministerial Conference on Road Safety, to be held in Sweden in 2020. The FIA Foundation provided some travel support to enable legislators to attend the meeting.

Speaking at the event, Lord Robertson said: “Road crashes are now the leading cause of death for children over the age of five - this is a worldwide epidemic. It is a scandal that it does not receive the attention its victims deserve. There is no cause greater than this one, and we must now work together to devote all our collective effort and skills and voice to make a case that can’t be ignored.”