Ministerial Conference Sparks Hope for the Future

“Road safety advocacy is about garnering change within our communities. It is challenging because people do not want to talk about the consequences of road crashes nor how we must change our aberrant behaviors or provide the necessary resources to achieve Vision Zero. This means that NGOs and road safety advocates are constantly fighting an uphill battle for ‘hearts and minds’. The conference will remind us that we are part of a global community of action and provide a renewal of our spirits, our friendships, and the drive to find creative ways of continuing our work together.” ⁠— Peter Frazer, President of Safer Australian Roads and Highways (SARAH).

Our members have been gearing up for the 3rd Global Ministerial Conference on Road Safety  in Stockholm, Sweden, next month. We asked a handful of advocates what they are expecting to get out of the event and found that the community has a renewed sense of hope for the future of road safety. Here is what they anticipate for Stockholm and the future of road safety:

The Stockholm Declaration

The Stockholm Declaration will be the main outcome of the conference, and our members hope to see the goals set out in the Declaration translated into action.

Jeanne Picard, President of Ibero-American Federation of Associations of Victims Against Road Violence (FICVI) in Spain: “We expect ministers to commit their governments to declare road safety as a political priority, and to implement the public policies necessary to achieve safe, sustainable, and inclusive mobility in their respective countries. We hope that this Stockholm Declaration will specifically include in point 7 a call for comprehensive care for road traffic victims and their families, including the full exercise of their rights to restorative justice and appropriate physical and mental health care, and in point 11 an obligation for motorists to market their vehicles worldwide under the same standards as those in developed countries. We hope that NGOs build stronger relationships with their governments and local partners. We hope to raise the profile of this daily human tragedy. Finally, we expect to see words transformed into actions.”

Valentina Pomatto, Inclusive Development Advocacy Officer at Humanity & Inclusion (HI, also known as Handicap International): “We expect the Stockholm Declaration, which will be the main outcome of this conference, to take into consideration and reflect the concerns brought up by civil society, particularly in the People’s Declaration. Notably, we hope that it will contain solid commitments on extending of SDG target 3.6 until 2030, in order to keep adequate political focus, the scaling up of action on road safety and road traffic victim support, and increased investments via adequate financing and a strong accountability system.” 

Networking and Collaboration 

One of the key themes of the conference will be continued collaboration up to 2030 and beyond. Our members are embracing the opportunity to build partnerships, not only with other civil society actors, but with other stakeholders.

Valentina Pomatto: “We are looking forward to meeting with road safety advocates, leaders, and supporters from all around the world, whether they be local leaders, youth representatives, policy-makers, high-level government officials. The conference will offer the great opportunity for the road safety community to meet and shape ⁠— together ⁠— the road ahead.”

Jeanne Picard: “As for the future, FICVI’s 20 member organizations, present in 14 Latin American countries, represent the tragic consequences of the absence of public road safety policies, and we see the conference as an opportunity for them to join forces with other NGOs and work together to protect the lives of citizens. Each region has both unique and common problems, and connecting with one another will allow us to exchange good practices, as well as identify measures that have not yet been adopted to save lives and protect victims.”

Floor Lieshout, Executive Director of Youth for Road Safety (YOURS) in the Netherlands: “We hope to build a bridge between youth and older people to create inter-generational partnerships. We hope to empower young people to form partnerships and become leaders in the field. We hope to see older generations embrace young people and see their value.”

Mesganaw Bimrew, Executive Director of Save the Nation in Ethiopia: “We believe the conference will create an opportunity for us to work more closely with our government and assist us in better explaining the gravity of this ongoing social crisis. I hope it will also create opportunities for us to work together with other stakeholders.”

Sharing Successes and Learning

The conference presents delegates with the opportunity to share lessons and successes from the implementation of the Global Plan for the Decade of Action in order to chart future strategic direction for road safety.

Peter Frazer: “In Australia, despite the fact that each year more than 1200 people are killed and 40,000 seriously injured in road crashes, the situation is seen as ‘under control’. As this directly results in a complacent public space, we need to refresh the way NGOs communicate with governments, corporates, and civil society. SARAH believes that the conference is very important because it presents the opportunity to create further connections with leading NGOs and advocates that demonstrate best practice, to use those learnings in our national road safety promotion and engagement, as well as to utilize key messages as part of SARAH’s National Road Safety Week messaging.”

Valentina Pomatto: “Humanity & Inclusion [HI, also known as Handicap International] has extensively worked for safety and inclusiveness measures to protect vulnerable road users and ensure that their voice is heard. Attending the conference in Sweden is therefore a way to bring in our perspective and contribute to the important discussions for continued collaboration and commitments on road safety.”

Writtu Bhatta, Swatantrata Abhiyan Nepal: “I believe success stories from other countries; the factors that contribute to these successes and proven strategies for ensuring road safety would help me to replicate learnings in Nepal. I would also have a chance to understand the scenario and priorities for the next decade.”

Creating Visibility

Our members hope to use the conference as a platform to create visibility for civil society, as well as raise the profile of road safety as an important public health issue. 

Jeanne Picard: “It is a unique opportunity to make our situation visible as road victims and have our demands heard by the authorities responsible for enacting relevant legislation.”

Valentina Pomatto: “We hope that the voice of civil society will be heard.”

Floor Lieshout: “If all goes well, more than 150 young people will express themselves to make sure that decision makers can no longer look away and exclude them from decision-making.”