Alliance calls for high-level commitment and investment
16 December 2021
On Friday 3 December, in New York, US, the UN General Assembly President convened a meeting of Member States to prepare for the High-Level Meeting on Global Road Safety (High-Level Meeting) to be held June-July 2022.
The meeting consisted of two sessions: the first discussed sustainable financing for road safety and the second, the role of multi-sectoral partners in the implementation of the Global Plan for the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2021-2030 (Global Plan).
Several key themes ran through the meeting:
Finance and multi-stakeholder engagement are the themes of the preparatory meeting because these are the two critical areas where not enough progress was seen in the first Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2021.
Investing in road safety is good value: road crashes cost developing countries between 1-2% of GDP, and in some countries it is as much as 6%.
Yet, despite the economic imperative, not enough is spent on road safety: the UN Road Safety Fund estimates that US$700 million is required each year to facilitate the systemic transformation, particularly in developing countries.
The issue of road safety funding needs to be addressed at a specific level and with accountability for how funds have been spent.
Road safety is inherently political and political will at the highest level is needed to prioritize safer roads to achieve the 2030 goals.
The High-Level Meeting should be a platform for governments to announce commitments, how they will channel funding to this priority issue and how they will act, aligned to the Global Plan and involving other stakeholders.
The particular need for focus on low- and middle-income countries was noted.
The voices of people: communities, victims, youth, academia, are essential to the implementation of good road safety solutions.
There is a need to focus on modal shift to active, clean, sustainable forms of transport, such as walking and cycling, to achieve the 2030 targets and that therefore these forms of transport must be made safe.
Data will be key and the role of the regional observatories.
Stronger political will is needed. It is not always clear who is accountable for road safety at national level and it is an area that involves several different ministries, including health, transport, education, and more. Therefore it needs a whole of government approach, coordinated by the Head of State. Heads of State were called upon to attend the High-Level Meeting.
There was a strong sense of urgency, that road safety is a forgotten pandemic and we need action now.
Lotte Brondum was among the panelists for the second session, representing the NGO voice. Speaking on behalf of the Alliance, Lotte Brondum pressed on the need for Member States to demonstrate accountability for road safety through annual reporting that shows what has been spent on road safety, what it has been spent on, and the sources of funding. She called on Heads of States to demonstrate commitment and action for the 2030 targets by attending the High-Level Meeting themselves and signing the Declaration that will come out of it.
If you missed the session, you can catch up on the recording here on UN Web TV (https://media.un.org/en/webtv):