Sweden and WHO on the Conference

At the request of the UN General Assembly, Sweden will host the 3rd Global Ministerial Conference on Road Safety, with support from the World Health Organization (WHO). We spoke to representatives from the Swedish government and WHO about the conference, and are excited to share their perspectives with you:

Fredrik Alfer, Deputy Director-General for EU and International Affairs at the Swedish Ministry of Infrastructure

We asked Fredrik what he hopes to see at the conference. He said, “The conference will be a milestone in the global work for better road safety. By including stakeholders from different parts of society and by linking road safety to other parts of sustainable development, we are taking a new step for road safety. I hope to see NGO’s use this occasion to connect with other stakeholders and actors to broaden perspectives and see how different parts of society can join forces for a common goal. My advice is to use this opportunity to learn more about how work on road safety can contribute to positive development in other areas, such as economic development, environment and gender equality. I hope that delegates will leave the conference inspired and with even better knowledge about the importance of working actively and jointly for road safety, and that this will both save lives and support global sustainable development.”

We also asked Frederik if he has any fears. He said, “To achieve ambitious results, everybody must strive for a Vision Zero world and work jointly for the attainment of the Global Sustainable Development Goals. Of course, if some parties are not on board, reaching the targets will be difficult if not impossible. But on the positive side we are pleased that we will reach our maximum of 1,500 participants, including senior political presence with ministers and deputy ministers from all regions of the world, at this stage from around 50 countries.”

Etienne Krug, Director of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Department for Social Determinants of Health

We asked Etienne what he hopes to see at the conference. He said, “The 3rd Global Ministerial Conference on Road Safety is a pivotal event! It comes at a time when the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011–2020 and Sustainable Development Goal target 3.6 are nearing their end. The Ministerial Conference will allow us to draw lessons from our successes and help identify areas where we could do better. It will also help to generate the political will needed at the highest levels of governments to ensure that this happens! I expect that delegates will return home with the understanding that we are in the midst of a very exciting transport revolution that will reshape the way we move ourselves around the world – especially in cities – and that safety is fundamental to this movement towards more sustainable mobility. I also hope that delegates will find themselves stronger in their knowledge about what works to prevent road traffic deaths and injuries and that they will feel the support of an international community that is poised to assist in achieving results over the next decade. The Ministerial Conference is also an opportunity to celebrate some of our successes and energize all of us around the world to take more action.”

We asked Etienne if he has any fears about the conference. He said, “The Ministerial Conference would be a disappointment if delegates return home and it’s business as usual. I am entirely convinced that this event will be transformative for road safety and for sustainable mobility more generally, and this implies that delegates will leave Stockholm emboldened with the idea that they need to do more and sometimes do things differently. Let’s hope that, with the forward-looking vision of the Ministerial Conference, they will be inspired to act and will act with conviction in the future.”

Finally, we asked Etienne if he has any advice for NGOs, both those attending and those not attending the conference. He said, “I have such great faith in the NGO community and am so proud of what the NGO community has achieved, with its passion and dedication to road safety and justice for road traffic victims. NGOs help to keep things real, and, for me, are a constant reminder of why it is so very important to persist in doing what we do, but to do it more effectively. My advice? Continue to lend your voice to the cause by advocating relentlessly towards government and continue to identify champions, organize events, engage with the media and guide communities around evidence-based interventions to save lives.”