A Call to Action for Ministers

Lotte Brondum, the Alliance’s Executive DIrector was invited to speak at the Ministerial Round Table on Meeting the Road Safety Challenge: Halving the Deaths and Injuries by 2030 at the International Transport Forum Annual Summit in Leipzig on 18 May 2022. This was a closed meeting with no audience. 10 Ministers including from Argentina,  Colombia, Ireland, Korea, Liechtenstein, Morocco, Norway, Poland, Sweden, and the U.S. were present, alongside other representatives from civil society, private sector and UN agencies. 

Key Points

The meeting was an opportunity to bring the perspectives of Alliance member NGOs to decision makers face-to-face. These were Lotte’s key points in her presentation at the Round Table:

  • Safety is a human right
  • The Alliance’s 300 members in 100 countries are campaigning during the #CommitToAct #StreetsForLife Week of Action for the rights of people to be safe: these are the people for whom Ministers at this meeting hold the responsibility to keep safe. 
  • What we hear from our NGOs is that:
  • We know what works, yet it is not being implemented;
  • We know that the number of road traffic deaths is not reducing, yet funding is not being priorities to address it;
  • We know that road safety requires a systemic approach, yet emphasis continues to focus on personal responsibility of road users instead of fixing the system.

This points to a deep lack of political will. 

  • We need NGOs to keep road safety on the agenda, to ensure that it is treated as a right, and to keep their governments accountable for the commitments that they have made.
  • In 2021, NGOs arranged symbolic meetings with their road safety decision makers to hand over the newly launched Global Plan for the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2021–2030. These handovers were a reminder of each country’s responsibility to guarantee people’s right to safe, affordable, accessible, sustainable mobility, ensuring access to education, work, and the choices that enable any individual to achieve their maximum potential, leaving no one behind. 
  • NGOs have defined what is needed to guarantee people’s right to safe, affordable, accessible, sustainable mobility:
  • Evidence-based actions, starting with 30 km/h limits or lower where people walk, live, and play to save lives;
  • Investment in proven actions, allocating comprehensive funding alongside transparent public reporting;
  • NGO involvement in decision-making processes so that smart road safety decisions are made at every level of government.
  • We call on Ministers to take these actions to ensure that people’s rights are guaranteed.

An NGO perspective on the Ministerial Round Table 

We asked Lotte for her perspectives on the Ministerial Round Table. This is what she told us.

“Firstly it was encouraging that 10 Ministers chose to attend the Ministerial Round Table on this important topic.

“All the Ministers in attendance talked about what their countries were doing to reduce road deaths; some specifically mentioned how their country was using the Safe System approach and some described having a people-centered perspective to road safety decision-making. It was clear that some countries were more advanced than others in how they were tackling the issue. 

“It was good to hear decision makers being open about the challenges they faced to achieving the 2030 targets and being willing to learn from the experiences of one another and refreshing to hear the US returning to the global road safety community, in particular its ambitions to use learning from cities in the US that have already achieved zero fatalities and scale it up.

“Representing and amplifying NGOs’ local experience and perspectives on the global stage is one of the Alliance’s responsibilities to its members. From an NGO perspective, representing our members, an opportunity to be one-to-one with 10 Ministers is a rare thing and the opportunity to address them is very welcome. It was also encouraging to hear that the calls to action we have identified and the rights language that we have been using as NGOs, are also resonating and being used among decision makers.”