Asia Pacific Call to Action

An Urgent Call to Action for Asia Pacific


Each year, the world suffers 1.3 million preventable deaths and an estimated 50 million injuries from road crashes[1]. Without serious action, road crashes will cause an estimated 13–17 million more deaths and 500 million more injuries in the current decade[2].

UN Member States have adopted a resolution 74/299 Improving Global Road Safety[3] and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (target 3.6)[4] and are therefore mandated to reduce road deaths and injuries by 50% by 2030. We know what works to achieve this target: the actions needed are set out in the Global Plan for the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2021–2030[5].

Frameworks and targets have been set: it is time to act now.

Regional Context[6]

Asia Pacific accounts for 61% of the world’s road deaths, with a rate of 18 per 100,000 population in 2016, broadly the same as the global rate[7]. Concerningly, between 2013 and 2016, road deaths increased by 10% in the region[8]. The picture varies around the region, with ESCAP’s South and South-West Asia subregion accounting for nearly one-third of the regional road deaths[9]. According to WHO regional data, the WHO Southeast Asia region has a road death rate of 20.7 per 100,000 population, while in Western Pacific, it is 16.9[10].

Within the WHO Southeast Asia and Western Pacific regions, the majority of road fatalities are among riders of motorized two- and three-wheelers who represent 43% and 36% of all fatalities respectively[11].

Call to Action

We call on all governments in Asia Pacific to commit to act for people’s right to safe mobility and a 50% reduction in road deaths and injuries by 2030, with an urgent focus on motorcycle users who are at greatest risk of injury in the region

We demand:

  • Evidence-based actions
    1. Ensure that national and local road safety plans are aligned to the Global Plan for the Decade of Action 2021–2030 and address the 12 global voluntary performance targets and their indicators.
    2. Protect all users on the road by:
      1. Implementing laws at national, state, and local levels, that limit speed to 30 km/h or lower in school zones and where people live, walk, and play, through speed limits and traffic calming measures;
      2. Adopting and ratifying relevant UN conventions, strengthening national road safety regulation to meet international safety standards, including seat belts, child restraints, and helmets, and setting and enforcing appropriate driver competency standards;
      3. Strengthening laws and enforcement on drink and drug driving;
      4. Adopt and implement national action plans;
      5. Ensuring that national legislation and regulation is implemented at state and city levels, including speed limits, and that it is enforced effectively, by enforcement agencies that have both capacity and resources to deliver effectively;
      6. Guaranteeing the safety and quality of road infrastructure, through good design, build, and maintenance of roads and safety audits;
      7. Improving public transportation in urban, semi-urban, and rural areas, including last-mile connectivity to get people to their destinations safely, with particular focus on the safety of women, who face additional risks when using public transportation; 
      8. Underpinning interventions with data and evidence, including data collection, scientific crash investigation, road safety audits and assessments, and measurement and monitoring of road safety actions with KPIs, building technical capacity to achieve a strong body of data and evidence.
    3. Protect riders and passengers of motorized two-wheelers, which are commonly used as a primary means of transport across the region, by:
      1. Addressing the vulnerability of riders and their passengers through all aspects of the road system, including road design and infrastructure, legislation, with a particular focus on quality helmets and protective gear, vehicle standards, and enforcement.
    4. Provide comprehensive support systems for victims and their families by:
      1. Equipping and enabling first responders to treat crash victims quickly and efficiently and guaranteeing the rights of bystanders who provide assistance;
      2. Guaranteeing crash victims’ and families’ rights and support, including psychological, social, rehabilitation, and judicial support, for as long as is needed, and, where appropriate, enabling and simplifying claims procedures.
  • Investment in road safety, recognizing the cost benefits to both road users and government
    1. Allocate budgets for the full implementation of the above-mentioned actions.
    2. Report annually on the budget.
    3. Create and report on innovative schemes to finance road safety interventions, including corporate sector involvement.
  • NGO involvement in decision-making processes
    1. Establish clear mechanisms for an enabling environment for NGOs to share their knowledge and expertise, in order to complement and facilitate government’s work, for example through multi-sectoral road safety commissions or cell or as members of national committees, fora, or platforms.
    2. Facilitate specific protocols for engagement between civil society and international road safety platforms, such as the Asia-Pacific Road Safety Observatory, ASEAN Road Safety Center, and South Asia Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC).

Our role and commitment

We, as civil society, have a role defined in the Global Plan. We commit to play our part in advocating for and enabling people’s rights to safe mobility and achieve a 50% reduction in road deaths and injuries by 2030.

We commit to:

  • Stand up for people’s right to be safe on the roads

We empower people and communities. We show the reality of the roads they use and highlight the experiences of road victims and their loved ones who have been affected by crashes. We speak up on decisions that affect road safety.

  • Use data and evidence to show what needs to be done

We amplify data, evidence, and best practices from around the world and we collect ground-level evidence that show the impact of safe and unsafe roads on people and communities.

  • Hold our governments accountable for people’s right to be safe on the road and for the 2030 target

We keep road safety on the agenda until every person is guaranteed — through commitment and action — their right to safe mobility. We monitor progress and put a spotlight on action and inaction.

  • Partner with regional agencies and authorities, as well as our governments, to achieve the 2030 targets

We have a shared responsibility to use our skills and experience as NGOs and as representatives of our people and communities.

[1] WHO. (2018). Global Status Report on Road Safety 2018. Geneva: World Health Organization.

[2] WHO & UN Regional Commissions. (2021). Global Plan for the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2021–2030.; Job, RFS. (2019). Development of a Safe System Approach, Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting, 13 January 2019, Washington DC.

[3] United Nations General Assembly. (2020). Resolution A/74/L86 Improving Global Road Safety.   

[4] United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs. (2015). 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

[5]WHO & UN Regional Commissions. (2021). Global Plan for the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2021–2030.

[6] For the purpose of this document, Asia Pacific is defined as the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) region. Some data refers to WHO Southeast Asia and Western Pacific regions.

[7] UN ESCAP. (2019). Road Safety in the Asia-Pacific Region.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Ibid.

[10] WHO. (2018). Global Status Report on Road Safety 2018. Geneva: World Health Organization. Combined data for Southeast Asia and Western Pacific.

[11] WHO. (2018). Global Status Report on Road Safety 2018. Geneva: World Health Organization.