National Policy Dialogue gives attention to road safety
On 29th May, EASST partners the Automobile Club of Moldova (ACM), in partnership with the Executive Bureau of the National Road Safety Council and the National Patrolling Inspectorate, organised a National Policy Dialogue at Government House in Chisinau to focus on road safety leadership.
The event followed on from the theme of this year’s UN Global Road Safety Week and brought together representatives from the Government, international development agencies (including the WHO and World Bank), and civil society organisations to review and analyse the key road safety challenges in the Republic of Moldova in the context of global and regional best practice, as well as to develop a new national strategy on road safety.
Economic losses caused by road crashes in Moldova estimate at around 3% of GDP. In 2018 alone 298 people lost their lives due to road traffic crashes in the country, and 394 young people under the age of 17 were injured in the first 9 months of the year.
The meeting was opened by Jonathon Passmore of the WHO Europe, Serghei Diaconu, representing EASST and the ACM, and Elena Lungu of the World Bank National Office, talking about global and regional trends in road safety, and sharing best practice to achieve vision zero. This discussion was followed by interventions from several government ministries, including the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Ministry of Education, Culture and Research, who presented on the current road safety issues in Moldova and the country’s vision for improvement.
This included a focus on developing responsible road user behaviour through a series of new initiatives such as developing the country’s Automated Road Traffic Surveillance System, training courses, and awareness raising campaigns – as well as improving capacity for better emergency response and building better road infrastructure.
In order to make the road safety sector more efficient, a new road safety policy document is to be developed in line with the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals and the provisions of the National Development Strategy “Moldova 2030”, which responds to the needs and expectations of citizens regarding safety.
The third session of the day paid attention to the issue of inclusive mobility and accessibility in the city. Marin Maxian, Chief of the National Patrolling Inspectorate (NPI) presented on the most recent road crash data and issues facing vulnerable road users in Chisinau. Iuliana Bulicanu of the Center for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities highlighted the main problems faced by people with reduced mobility and special needs when walking out into the street. While, Tatiana Mihailova (ACM) and Sergiu Bejan (Technical University of Moldova) presented results from their evaluation of Dacia street, carried out with students from the Faculty of Urbanism and Architecture, which according which to NPI data is the most dangerous street in the city. Mr Bejan highlighted a number of innovative initiatives put forward by the faculty students, who came with a new approach and ideas for designing safe pedestrian crossings. In light of this discussion, representatives of the Public Transport and Communications Department of Chisinau City Hall presented on the activities they have undertaken (and those planned) to make Chisinau an accessible city for all.
Additionally, in the context of marking the 5th UN Global Road Safety Week, on 28th May, a flash mob involving local school children was organised to raise public awareness on current road traffic problems around the “Dmitry Cantemir” Lyuceum in Chisinau. On the eve of the school summer holidays, the flash-mob enabled the children to have their say and raise the attention of all road users to be more cautious when in the street.