EASST network meets for Pre-Ministerial Regional Road Safety Summit: Preparing for Marrakesh

News, Road Safety Governance and Capacity Building

Last month, EASST and the FIA Foundation hosted a two-day Pre-Ministerial Regional Road Safety Summit in Tbilisi, Georgia. The event brought together key government officials and NGO leaders from across the EASST region to facilitate discussion on national and regional priorities ahead of the 4th Global Ministerial Conference on Road Safety to be hosted by the Government of Morocco in collaboration with the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Marrakesh in February 2025.

The Marrakesh Conference will be a key moment for road safety advocacy and an important occasion to mobilise political will and wider stakeholder engagement. Our Summit therefore aimed to raise awareness of, and encourage meaningful engagement with, the Ministerial Conference from high level representatives across EASST’s countries of operation. This will help us to maximise on the opportunity and set a strategy for following up on any outcomes that result from the Conference next February – including embedding road safety interventions into a Safe System approach and linking to the wider Sustainable Development Goals.

In his opening remarks, Mr Guram Guramishvili, Deputy Minister for Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia, talked about the importance of road safety and working together across sectors and disciplines to build a safer system for all road users.

The Summit also offered a unique opportunity for regional dialogue and discussion, exploring key issues, common challenges and opportunities around road safety policy, implementation, and enforcement – particularly around school zone safety and reduced speeds.

We heard from officials from Armenia, Moldova, and Georgia on the introduction of speed reduction policies for school zones at the local and national level, and how these are now being implemented.

While EASST partners and officials from Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Tajikistan, and Ukraine presented on the opportunities and objectives for improving school zone road safety in their respective countries over the next 12 months. With both Azerbaijan and Tajikistan in the process of reviewing or developing their national road safety strategies and with Kyrgyz and Mongolian governments both working with ADB to improve national road safety, there is great scope for improvement and a lot to look forward to.

Saul Billingsley, Executive Director of the FIA Foundation, said:

“This Summit represents an important stepping-stone paving the way to the Ministerial Conference in Marrakesh next year. The only way to achieve the goal to halve road deaths by 2030 is to make sure that all countries and regions are focusing on proven measures. A number of countries in the region are making important steps forward, thanks in large part to the work of our partner EASST, and this event has crystalised how the Ministerial Conference can be an important moment for commitment.”

While in Tbilisi, we also held the first informal introductory Technical Secretariat meeting of the new EU-funded Eastern Partnership Road Safety Observatory which is hosted by the Government of Georgia and managed by ISET Policy Institute and EASST. A formal launch of the Observatory is expected later this year.

The Summit provided a space to formulate ways in which additional support can be rallied for safe and sustainable transportation at international, national and district levels. It established a good forward momentum and strengthened collaborative partnerships between EASST, FIA Foundation, and leading road safety officials and experts from across the region, paving the way for meaningful change in the lead up to the 4th Global Ministerial Conference in Morocco.