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A high level Forum was hosted in Russia during the launch of UN Global Road Safety Week, the worldwide campaigning event from 6-12 May 2013 highlighting pedestrian safety. EASST Director Emma MacLennan and EASST Partners Serghei Diaconu, Tatiana Mihailova and Oksana Romanukha attended the ‘Safe Roads for All’ Forum on 7 May in St. Petersburg along with leading policymakers and key figures, including EASST patron and Chairman of the Commission for Global Road Safety Lord Robertson of Port Ellen, HRH Prince Michael of Kent GCVO, Patron of the Commission for Global Road Safety, General Victor Kiryanov, Deputy Interior Minister of the Russian Federation; Michelle Yeoh, Global Road Safety Ambassador; Etienne Krug, Director of Injury Prevention at the World Health Organization; and FIA President Jean Todt at the high profile event held in St Petersburg. The Forum has been organised by the Commission for Global Road Safety in partnership with EASST Partner the NGO Road Safety Russia.
The Russian Federation has been playing a leading role in advancing global action to reduce the numbers of fatalities and injuries on the world’s roads and is at the forefront of the call for renewed commitment to ensure that road safety is part of the international sustainable development agenda. Domestically, the Russian Federation has the most improved road safety performance of any G20 country as measured by deaths per 100,000, according to the World Health Organization’s recent Global Status Report on Road Safety 2013.
Ahead of the Forum, delegates joined NGO Road Safety Russia in a photo-call urging global action to reduce pedestrian fatalities and make roads safe for all. The photo-call followed Road Safety Russia’s successful ‘Walk of Life’ pedestrian safety campaign, and linked up with the global ‘Long Short Walk’, the activity that organisations and members of the public around the world are taking part in to support UN Road Safety Week. The ‘Long Short Walk’ led by the Make Roads Safe campaign and the family of Nelson Mandela is a call for better protection of pedestrians in all countries and safe roads for all as an international development priority.
Lord Robertson launched the Commission’s new report, ‘Safe Roads for All’ at the Forum. It calls for road injury prevention to be included as a target within the post-2015 sustainable development agenda which is currently being negotiated by governments at the United Nations.
Chairman of the Commission for Global Road Safety, Lord Robertson of Port Ellen, said: “The Russian Federation has played a leading role in the global movement to save lives on the world’s roads, through its support for the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety and its leadership in discussions on road safety and sustainable development. We are meeting in Russia to send out a strong message to the world during this UN Global Road Safety Week that it is possible to reduce road traffic fatalities. Through determined implementation of its domestic road safety policies Russia is improving her road safety performance, saving the lives of many of her citizens and setting an example to other countries grappling with rapid motorisation.”
General Victor Kiryanov (pictured right), Deputy Interior Minister of the Russian Federation and member of the Commission for Global Road Safety said: “Russia is proud to be playing a central role in the global effort to reduce the numbers of fatalities and injuries on the roads. Nationally, road safety has been a key priority. Our work has been repaid both with successful programmes and most crucially, lives saved. The focus on pedestrians during UN Global Road Safety Week is important and we hope that building on the ‘Walk of Life’ campaign and together with the ‘Long Short Walk’ we can inspire further action to ensure that road safety is an international priority and to save lives both in Russia and around the world.”
Also at the Forum, HRH Prince Michael of Kent, Patron of the Commission for Global Road Safety, presented the 2013 Decade of Action Award to the Russian Federation. The Award recognises Russia’s leadership in promoting the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety. Russia hosted the first ever Global Ministerial Conference on Road Safety in 2009, which set the agenda for the Decade of Action, sponsored the UN General Assembly Resolution establishing the Decade of Action and ensured that road safety was recognised at the Rio+20 sustainable development summit in 2012.
HRH Prince Michael of Kent said:
Without the Russian Federation we would almost certainly not have the Decade of Action at all. Russia had the vision and courage to put her authority and prestige behind an issue that was on the margins of international policy. The Russian Federation’s offer to host the first Global Ministerial Conference on Road Safety, and her sponsorship of successive UN General Assembly Resolutions in 2008, 2010 and 2012, have provided essential political leadership. Without this international statesmanship by a leading G8 and G20 nation our cause could not have prospered. And last year, at the ‘Rio plus twenty’ summit, Russia ensured that road safety was recognised and included in the summit communique. At home, the Russian Federation has had the courage – which many countries still lack – to recognise the scale of road traffic deaths and injuries on roads here, and to take action.”
HRH Prince Michael of Kent also presented an award to EASST partner Oksana Romanukha, EASST Advisor Tony Pearce, and EASST supporter Alex Goncharenko for a joint TEN-T Programme and EASST project that used effective advertising and social media in Odessa to cut speeding related deaths and offences by 30% in one month, and double seat belt wearing from 20 to 40% in two months.
Michelle Yeoh, Global Road Safety Ambassador and a leading international actor, also addressed the meeting. She said: “This week in Russia we are joining groups and communities around the world who are also taking part in the Long Short Walk to demand action. Around the world we are raising awareness that pedestrians have the same right to protection and mobility as anyone. And from this week on, the message is clear – road safety must be accepted as in international priority. Our goal is to save lives. Our goal is safe roads for all.”
The Commission for Global Road Safety’s report ‘Safe Roads for All: a post 2015 agenda for health and development’, urges a renewed effort, particularly financial commitment for practical interventions, to support the Decade of Action for Road Safety. Road crashes are the leading cause of death worldwide for young people aged 15-24. For boys and men, injuries sustained while travelling on our roads and streets are, next to HIV/AIDS, the leading killer from age 5 to 40.