Foundation AGM highlights work on safe and green mobility in a time of pandemic
The FIA Foundation held a virtual Annual General Meeting to report on its work in 2020 in the fields of road and motor-sport safety, climate change and special COVID-19 interventions.
The 2020 Annual Report ‘Safe & green mobility in a time of pandemic,’ was launched by the Foundation’s Chairman, Lord Robertson of Port Ellen, during the meeting, held on 17th December. Lord Robertson outlined the Foundation's work on important issues of safe and sustainable mobility which has remained undiminished in challenging times. During the introductory speech, he took the opportunity to thank trustees for their early decision to act beyond the Foundation’s core mission by establishing a COVID-19 Solidarity Fund, of close to €3 million, as the Foundation’s contribution to the FIA’s ‘Race Against COVID’ programme.
Identifying key roles of the Foundation in promoting the institutional strengthening of road safety and activity in supporting the ‘build back better’ agenda, Lord Robertson said: “The period of total lockdown gave a glimpse of a world transformed: streets empty of vehicles, replaced by children walking and cycling; cleaner air, and in cities like Delhi mountain ranges visible for the first time as the smog cleared. Of course, this change came at a huge economic cost. But now the challenge for all of us is to find a better balance, to retain much of that healthier, more liveable, future we glimpsed while ensuring efficient mobility and sustainable economic activity.”
Natalie Draisin, the FIA Foundation’s North America Director, provided a detailed presentation on the Foundation’s support for COVID-19 response, including funding for the International Federation of the Red Cross & Red Crescent and UNICEF/People That Deliver; support to NGOs for pandemic logistics; and medical research. She also updated on the Foundation’s work with UNICEF to provide global guidance for governments, cities, education authorities and schools for safe travel to school during the pandemic.
The AGM also saw presentations from FIA member clubs which have developed road safety toolkits through FIA Foundation funding. The Australian Automobile Association’s Managing Director Michael Bradley presented its work on mobile phone driver distraction, before Head of Road Safety and Global Advocacy for FIA Mobility, Luca Pascotto, along with Ian Jack, Vice President Public Affairs of Canadian Automobile Association, and Tatiana Mihailova, Project Manager for the Automobile Club of Moldova, all discussed regional advocacy and child road safety programmes based around the Safe Schools Assessment toolkit developed in partnership with iRAP.
The meeting heard from the head of Bahrain’s motor sport association, Abdulaziz Al Thawaddi, who described Romain Grosjean’s crash, and its aftermath, at the recent Bahrain F1 grand prix. While his survival, and the speedy response of race marshals and FIA medics, demonstrates the high priority placed on safety in F1, 99% of motor sport fatalities occur at an amateur level. FIA Safety Director Adam Baker set out work being done to address amateur racing safety, funded by the Foundation, and highlighted the forthcoming technical regulations for rally cars to save lives and reduce injury.
FIA Foundation Executive Director Saul Billingsley presented the Foundation’s new strategy for 2021-25, which aims to support global agendas in road safety, climate action and clean air, as well as continuing strong support for motor sport safety and the potential of the sport as a laboratory for environmental progress in road mobility. While many existing partners will continue to be supported, including the Global NCAP crash test programme, the International Road Assessment Programme and the FIA’s Road Safety Programme, which will support the toolkits described above, and partnerships including the Global Fuel Economy Initiative, the TRUE urban emissions initiative and the Child Health Initiative, there are innovations. These include a new ‘advocacy hub’ to support delivery of safe and healthy journeys for children, and a ‘Track to Road’ fund to support technology and knowledge transfer from motor sport to mobility.
The FIA Foundation is immensely grateful for the contribution of three-term trustees, Nick Craw, Brian Gibbons, Earl Jarrett and Graham Stoker, who will be appointed as Honorary Members of the FIA Foundation following their retirement from the board. During the event, a number of new trustees were confirmed: Former Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova; Jagan Chapagain, Secretary General of the IFRC; August Markl, President of the ADAC; and Angelo Sticchi Damiani, President of Automobile Club Italia. Lord Robertson and Miquel Nadal were re-elected for a third and final term.