Global Road Safety Week in Armenia
Our EASST partner in Armenia, the National Road Safety Council NGO (NRSC) was super active during this year’s UN Global Road Safety Week, organising different activities in cooperation with key stakeholders from the Government and international organisations to promote the importance of leadership in road safety.
On 6th May, a close cooperation between the NRSC and UN and WHO country offices, launched the week with a high-level press conference, bringing together representatives from the Government, UN, WHO and other civil society organisations under the banner “speak up to save lives”.
The UN Resident Representative stressed in his presentation the importance of obeying the law when it comes to road safety and highlighted, in particular, the difference fastening a seat belt can make. Using a seat belt increases the chance of surviving in a crash by up to 50%.
He said that he is ready to challenge anyone who says that child car seats are unaffordable, mentioning: “I will then ask a single question. Which is better – to buy a child-seat or a funeral box?”
NRSC Program Manager Tatevik Hovhannisyan highlighted the importance of strategic partnerships, leadership and political will to improve road safety and reduce road casualties: “For us it is vital to update our [National Road Safety] Strategy and Action Plan. We had this experience many years ago and we had visible results. But since 2013, our Road Safety Strategy has not been updated and today the Government doesn’t have an Action Plan”.
All the Government representatives present showed their readiness to cooperate for better results.
The following day, a seat-belt simulator was set up and high-level officials including members of parliament, ministers, and other state officials were invited to take part in a practical demonstration on the vital role of seat belts in ensuring safety in the car. The Minister of Health was invited to try the simulator and joined the campaign by posting to his Facebook page images along with the hashtag #WearASeatbeltSaveYourLife
In partnership with the Traffic Police, NRSC then continued its seat-belt campaign in the centre of Yerevan by asking the general public to try to seat-belt simulator. NRSC used the opportunity to reinforce the importance of using child car seats and highlight the risks of carrying children on your knee by asking individuals to hold a stuffed toy during the simulation. In most cases, the toy was dropped to the floor or thrown forwards.
On 11th May, in cooperation with the Yerevan Municipality and Traffic Police, the NRSC organised a ‘Speak Up to Save Lives’ flash mob along one of the busiest avenues in the capital city, near where the Parliament and Presidential buildings are located. The aim was to mobilise young people, who are most at risk on the road, to talk about road safety issues, demand that drivers follow traffic rules, and call on the Government to take comprehensive actions. Around 100 school children took part walking along the avenue with banners demanding safer roads, safer vehicles and greater leadership for road safety. During the march, NRSC staff coincidentally met the President of Armenia outside of his residence where they explained the purpose of the flash mob and the theme of UN Global Road Safety Week which led to him also joining the campaign to Speak Up to Save Lives!
To close the week, the NRSC, together with the UN Armenia Country Office, delivered training dedicated to the UN Sustainable Development Goals and road safety using the EASST Road Safety Education Pack for school children from Sevan and Gyumri (where we are working in partnership with the NRSC and EBRD to promote road safety and pedestrian safety) at the offices of the UN in Armenia. The session encouraged the children to be directly involved in the process discussing the importance of wearing seat-belts, bright clothes in the evenings, not speeding and following other road traffic rules. Both teachers and the students enjoyed the session trainings and stated their commitment to spreading their knowledge and skills to their peers. As a result, forty young people are now more aware about road safety, which means that 40 families have more information about road safety.
UN Global Road Safety Week is now over, but NSRC devoted to continuing its mission in its daily activities to make a better, safer environment for Armenian citizens.
All global road safety week activities in Armenia were effectively implemented in cooperation with the NRSC, EASST, the UN and WHO Armenia country offices and the Traffic Police of the Republic of Armenia.