Every year in the Kyrgyz Republic, more than 1,000 people die on the roads costing the country $US 250 million or 4.3% of GDP annually*. At 2 190 deaths/million vehicles in 2011, the Kyrgyz Republic has the worst rate in the world. Funded by a World Bank grant and with advice from EASST, the Kyrgyz Republic Road Safety Project is working to address the causes of this shocking fatality rate.
At the invitation of the project leader – EASST Advisory Board member Anthony Pearce – EASST’s Director Emma MacLennan and EASST’s partner in Georgia Gela Kvashilava travelled to the Kyrgyz capital Bishkek in late February 2012 to share their wealth of regional knowledge on road safety and police reform. The World Bank Project will include the preparation of a National Road Safety Strategy, the design and implementation of a road crash database, capacity building in the road police and Ministry of Transport, and preparation of new road safety audit guidelines. The Government of Kyrgyzstan has included road safety as a key priority in their ‘first 100 days’ action plan.
EASST and the project team met with many actors at local and national level including the OSCE Police Reform Programme for Kyrgyzstan, Amanda Ross McDowell the Deputy Head of Mission at the newly established British Embassy, the Ministry of Transport and Communications, and the Ministry of Internal Affairs who were very interested to hear from Gela Kvashilava of the Georgian experience of police reform. The group also met with two advisors to the Prime Minister – Mirlan Djunushev and Baktygul Abdyjaliev to discuss the importance of high level leadership on road safety issues (pictured right).
Following this visit the project will prepare a National Road Safety Strategy and immediate Action Plan for the Kyrgyz Republic. Under this project, which is implemented by the Ministry of Transport and Communications, road safety will be considered on a national scale with a set of immediate actions.
EASST will continue to consult on this significant move forward by the Kyrgyz Republic particularly by sharing its achievements and the work of EASST partners with the relevant Kyrgyz authorities and individuals to serve as a useful model in this vital area.
*Based on “Road Crash Costing”, Asian Development Bank, Road Safety Guidelines 4.14. http://www.adb.org/Documents/Books/Road-Safety-Guidelines/chap4-14.pdf