‘Stop talking, start funding’ urges FIA Foundation at UN High Level Meeting on Road Safety
A first ever High Level Meeting on Road Safety has heard calls for action and funding, as ministers and officials met at UN headquarters in New York.
The meeting was opened by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, who described the scale of carnage as ‘a silent epidemic on wheels’ and warned that ‘unsafe roads are a key obstacle to development’. He encouraged member states to scale up technical and financial support to the UN Road Safety Fund.
This call was echoed by FIA Foundation Executive Director Saul Billingsley, speaking in a panel session of the High Level Meeting, who urged governments to ‘stop talking and start funding’ the proven interventions needed to meet the 2030 target to halve road traffic deaths and injuries. Highlighting the work of Global NCAP, iRAP and other evidence-based programmes, he called on rich donor nations to show solidarity with the middle- and low-income countries bearing the brunt of road traffic injuries. The FIA Foundation confirmed a new €1m donation to the UN Road Safety Fund at a pledging lunch during the High Level Meeting which raised US $15 million towards the Fund’s modest goal of a $40 million replenishment.
The Political Declaration approved by the UN General Assembly reaffirmed the 2030 target but is otherwise weak on specific action outcomes. It did endorse a follow-up High Level Meeting for 2026. The 2022 edition had been badly impacted by justified objections to Russia’s initial leadership of the road safety negotiations (subsequently taken over by the President of the General Assembly to ensure consensus), and levels of participation were not as high as would normally be expected for a ‘high level’ meeting. It is to be hoped that the 2026 meeting will be held during the September opening of the General Assembly to ensure head of government/State level participation and momentum.