FIA Foundation supports more than 60 national campaigns for UN Global Road Safety Week
From grassroots NGOs to FIA auto clubs and child health partners to high level events: the FIA Foundation has supported the 2019 United Nations Global Road Safety Week with a unified call for action via the This is My Street campaign.
The United Nations marked the fifth iteration of its Global Road Safety Week with the theme of leadership, urging both political leaders and local communities to #SpeakUp. The theme highlights the vital role of leaders have in enforcing and implementing road safety goals at the national and local levels. For many of the activities to mark the Week there has been a focus on children and youth, with many young people at the forefront of campaigning.
Children across the world chose to speak up and demand the right to safe and healthy streets, and safe school zones from Nigeria, to Colombia, to the United States. They were joined in their call for action by Child Health Initiative ambassador Zoleka Mandela, and FIA Foundation board member Michelle Yeoh. During the week, Michelle Yeoh encouraged everyone to be a road safety leader, “We can all speak up and demand our right to be safe and we can start by saying ‘This Is My Street.’ We can beat this global epidemic, one street, one school, one neighbourhood at a time.” Zoleka Mandela highlighted the human cost of road crashes stating, “We know that road traffic injury is the number one killer of young people. It is so unfortunate that they are at the forefront of this crisis. Leaders can become the difference between life and death.”
FIA Foundation Chairman Lord Robertson of Port Ellen joined hundreds of school children in Washington D.C. for Bike to School Day. Lord Robertson encouraged all participants, spectators, parents, family and friends to sign up to the Child Health Initiative’s ‘This Is My Street’ campaign at mystreet.org, and to demand that leaders take action on unsafe roads.
Child Health Initiative partner World Resources Institute (WRI) marked the week by hosting a Bike to School Day around a Vision Zero for Youth low speed school zone in Bogota, Colombia with kids demanding, “Esta Es Mi Calle! This Is My Street!”
In Washington D.C. a high-level panel event was held on Capitol Hill. FIA Foundation North America Director Natalie Draisin joined Senators Chris Van Hollen and Tom Carper in a debate on road safety and tourism. Officials from the United States Agency for International Development attended the event, organised by the Association for Safe International Road Travel, alongside the Ambassadors of Costa Rica and Sweden. Sweden’s Ambassador to the US Karin Olofsdotter stated, “Human vulnerability must be accounted for in road design. There is no room for complacency.” Serving as a reminder to all governments ahead of the forthcoming 2020 Swedish Ministerial Road Safety Conference in Stockholm. Natalie Draisin highlighted the importance of calling for a global summit on adolescent health, “It’s time for road crashes and other neglected health threats to young people, like mental health, obesity, and interpersonal violence, to follow in the footsteps of traditional diseases, and get the funding and attention they deserve.”
More than twenty NGOs took part in United Nations Global Road Safety Week with support from the FIA Foundation, with a focus on youth safety. Fundación Gonzalo Rodriguez in Uruguay promoted action on improved roads through a powerful demonstration showing the human cost of road crashes. Child Health Initiative Partners AIP Foundation supported the This Is My Street campaign via their Walk Wise program in China and hosted a public forum in Cambodia with police, media, and university students where road safety issues were discussed. ASIRT Kenya supported the This Is My Street campaign through an event led by youth to demand political action on road safety. Child Health Initiative partner Amend, conducted a new conflict analysis project between pedestrians and vehicles at a busy primary school in Dares Salaam.
FIA automobile clubs also supported the call for action on safe school zones. Belize Automobile Touring Association produced a ‘This Is My Street’ campaign video demanding safe roads. Featured in the video were traffic authorities, club staff and members of the community. Automobile Association of Tanzania with support from the FIA Foundation hosted an event with 150 school children, school authorities, district authorities and traffic police. The main objective was to share petitions prepared with kids with district authorities and stress importance of road safety within school zones. Traffic safety signs were placed in school zones and the District Commissioner accepted petitions and spoke about ‘This Is My Street’ and the importance of using zebra crossings, understanding road signs, seatbelt use, and asking police to ensure children achieve safe and healthy journeys to school. FIA Foundation Programme Manager Aggie Krasnolucka participated in the event.
The National Automobile Club of Azerbaijan (AMAK) - organized awareness sessions for parents and schoolchildren together with the state road police and Ministry of Education. In the meetings, parents called for the installation of traffic signs and pedestrian crossings around schools and punishment of drivers who flouted road rules. On 14th May AMAK also organized a Roundtable on “Leadership and Partnership on Road Safety” dedicated to the United Nations Global Road Safety Week. The Automobile Club of Moldova hosted a road safety event with various road safety stakeholders including the local community, police and the head of WHO Moldova.
FIA Foundation Executive Director, Saul Billingsley, spoke about the importance of the UN Week in generating strong leadership to save lives. “What is clear, is that we have the solutions to this road traffic injury epidemic, but we still don’t see the political will to implement them. In advance of the Stockholm Ministerial Conference, we need to see action, whether it's at a grassroots level in the local community, whether it's a city Mayor, or whether it's the Prime Minister of a country. It's time to take action.”