The EBRD (European Bank for Reconstruction and Development) Special Shareholders Fund have given their support to a campaign, working with the traffic police and civil society partners in Dushanbe, to raise awareness of the importance of wearing seat belts and the benefits of eco-driving. The campaign is being organised by the Young Generation of Tajikistan and EASST, focussing particularly on young people.

As part of the CAREC Regional Road Safety Strategy for Central Asia (2017-2030),[1] priority has been given to raising public awareness of the importance of seat belts. Improving wearing rates in Tajikistan could have a big impact in reducing deaths and injuries among drivers and passengers. In addition, promoting eco-safe driving behaviour could contribute to improved road safety while saving money for drivers and reducing wear-and-tear to vehicles.

Local organisations in Tajikistan call on people to save lives and #slowdown

The EBRD is supporting work to raise seat belt and eco-driving awareness to improve road safety in Tajikistan. In a crash you are twice as likely to die if you don’t wear a seat belt, and unbelted back seat passengers can kill drivers during an impact. Despite this, seat belt wearing rates in Tajikistan are low – possibly as low as 5%. Eco-driving also has a role to play in road safety: reducing speeds and smooth, attentive driving has been shown to reduce road risks. It also cuts fuel consumption by up to a quarter, and reduces CO2 emissions – an important factor in climate change. In Tajikistan an 80% increase in CO2 emissions from transport is projected by 2030 if nothing is done today to tackle the problem.

A Press Briefing and stakeholder discussion on the Seat Belt and Eco-Driving awareness campaign was held on April 26th in Dushanbe, with participation from the organisers, local stakeholders, the traffic police and representatives of civil society organisations. Speaking at the Press Briefing, the new Head of the Resident Office of the EBRD, Ayten Rustamova, expressed her very strong personal commitment to road safety and clean transport. These issues are not just a matter of numbers of incidents and data, but affect all of us and risk the health of our children.

EASST's Emma MacLennann and Naimjon Mirzorahimov of Young Generation of Tajikistan on the importance of wearing seat belts and the benefits of eco-driving.

To lay the groundwork for the campaign, there will be observational surveys on seat belt use in Dushanbe; focus groups – targeting drivers and young people – on knowledge and attitudes to seat belt wearing and eco-driving; and a survey of vehicles to check how many are fitted with working belts. The team will then work with the road police to launch a media public awareness-raising campaign targeting young people in particular. The media broadcasts will include printed media, posters & billboards, radio audio messages, television and social media, and will run regularly for 5 months. There will also be special seminars on the benefits of eco-driving to drivers, companies and society as a whole.

The EBRD is supporting the road safety and eco-drive project as part of their overall commitment to safe and sustainable transport, in collaboration with the ADB (Asian Development Bank). The campaign will build upon EASST and the YGT’s work with the EBRD on the Dushanbe-Uzbekistan Border Road Improvement Investment Project protecting pedestrians in the city centre. More information will be available here soon!