“MDBs have a decisive role to play” – driving the challenge to meet the road safety Sustainable Development Goals

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In 2011 seven multilateral development banks (MDBs) launched the MDB Road Safety Initiative “a shared program of road safety activities that will contribute significantly to the achievement of the ambitious goal of the United Nations proclaimed Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011 – 2020 to stabilize and then reduce the forecast level of road traffic fatalities around the world.”

With two years to go, forecasts suggest that the target of reducing road deaths by 50 per cent by 2020 won’t be met. The World Health Organisation’s 2015 Global Status Report on Road Safety showed that the number of road traffic deaths globally has plateaued. Every year 1.25 million people are killed on the roads and many more are injured. Over 90 per cent of these deaths occur in low and middle-income countries at an economic cost of around 3 per cent GDP. The challenge is significant, but every death on the road can and should be prevented.

In 2015 the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) reaffirmed the ambitious target set by the UN Decade of Action and established a strong mandate for a global multisectoral response. The challenge now is in making sure these targets are not passed by.

MDBs have a decisive role to play in making sure this does not happen. Safe road infrastructure is a critical component of a Safe System approach and initiatives such as the 2014 Road Safety Guidelines along with individual bank policies and procedures have made vital progress towards mainstreaming road safety within infrastructure development projects. But in many areas, there are still significant challenges that must be overcome if we are to see a reduction in road deaths.

On 11th December 2017, a high-level international conference will be held in London in order to identify and take on these challenges. The conference, which is being organised by the Eastern Alliance for Safe and Sustainable Transport (EASST), Global NCAP and the Towards Zero Foundation, and hosted by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), will provide a forum for dialogue between world-leading road safety experts, national legislators, civil society and MDBs on the challenges of meeting the SDGs as well as improving road safety and sharing best practice to meet these targets.

Find out more about the role MDBs can play in making roads safe and reducing road deaths.