UN High-Level Meeting on Improving Global Road Safety: The 2030 horizon for road safety

by Jul 1, 2022News, Road Safety Governance and Capacity Building

On 30 June – 1 July 2022, road safety experts, government ministers, and decision makers from across the world met in New York for a milestone moment as the President of the UN General Assembly hosted the first ever High-Level Meeting on Improving Global Road Safety.

EASST’s Emma MacLennan was there along with EASST Partner and Moldova’s General State Secretary to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Serghei Diaconu who delivered a statement on behalf of the Republic of Moldova.

The major outcome of the meeting was the Political Declaration adopted by all Member States recognising road safety as an urgent development priority and reaffirming the important of timely implementation of the Global Plan for Road Safety 2021-2030.

The Declaration encourages nations to adopt a Safe System Approach to road safety. It clearly emphasises non-motorised transport, and the safety of vulnerable road users as a priority and recognises the interconnections between road safety and other issues on the development agenda such as the eradication of poverty and the achievement of economic growth, education for all, gender equality, and the mitigation of climate change – as well as much more.

“Road safety affects everyone. We step from our homes every day onto roads that take us to our jobs, schools and to meet our vital daily needs. Yet our transport systems remain far too dangerous. No death should be acceptable on our roads. The future of mobility should promote health and well-being, protect the environment and benefit all.” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, WHO

The Declaration is a clear indication of political will at both at global and national levels to make change for the better and reduce the number of road fatalities and injuries by 50% by 2030. Now, governments and national stakeholders must act.

The Declaration includes commitments from governments on issues related to occupational road safety management, post-crash response, vehicle safety, and transitioning to more sustainable transport systems.

Along with the Global Alliance for Road Safety NGOs, FIA Foundation, iRAP, and Youth for Road Safety, we have delivered a Statement in response to the Political Declaration of the High-level Meeting that includes key principles and steps that Member States should adopt in order to ensure that the Declaration is implemented in a way that is both effective and meaningful.

We urge governments and key stakeholders in our EASST countries of operation to utilise the principles outlined in this response statement alongside the Political Declaration to ensure that their national road safety strategies are deliverable and accountable.

During an official side-event hosted by UNICEF, Serghei Diaconu called on governments to invest in road safety “to protect our kids to protect our future”. He recounted the experience of Moldova:

“Before 2013, Moldova had the most alarming road safety indicators in Europe, but by adopting a Safe System approach and strict enforcement of safety rules, this picture changed considerably.”

“If a developing country has been able to achieve tangible results, anyone can.”

“We have to improve the quality of roads and policies. It is an investment – not a cost – and a must for Government. We urge all Governments to adopt comprehensive and realistic road safety plans.”

“A child’s mistake on the road should not lead to their death … It is a must to introduce 30 km/h around schools … It is a must to ensure their safe journey to school.”

These sentiments were echoed during his statement at the High-Level Meeting where Serghei also highlighted the current challenges to implementing road safety targets in Moldova, including the impact of the war on Ukraine, and appealed to the international community is to concentrate common efforts on increasing capacity of all governmental agencies to achieve the targets set out in the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2021 – 2030.

Representatives from Armenia, Uzbekistan, Ukraine, and Greece also made statements from among EASST’s countries of operation.

Kristine Ghalechyan, Deputy Minister of Territorial Administration and Infrastructure in Armenia made reference to the country’s new National Road Safety Strategy which was drafted with the support of EASST partner Poghos Shahinyan of the National Road Safety Council NGO. The representatives from Uzbekistan and Greece reaffirmed their country’s commitments to the UN 2030 agenda and the representative for Ukraine reported on progress towards the ambitious targets that had been set to reduce road casualties by 30% by 2024. However, these efforts are now being undermined by the scale of destruction caused by the war. He called on the United Nations to focus on addressing the road safety related implications of the Russian war against Ukraine and the impact also on neighbouring countries.

Day two of the meeting included a number of multi-stakeholder panel discussions covering issues such as incorporating road safety into sustainable development, mobilising stakeholders to accelerate the implementation of the Global Plan, and sustained domestic investments and international financing for capacity building and evidence-based road safety interventions.

A recording of the meeting can be accessed here.

Download the Political Declaration here.

Read the Response Statement here.

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