OPINION: What Next for NGOs after the High-level Meeting

Following the High-level Meeting on Improving Global Road Safety, the Alliance’s Advocacy and Partnerships Director, Valeria Motta, has written an article on how NGOs can make sure that their governments take forward the outcomes of the High-level Meeting. Read it here:

“The first ever UN High Level Meeting on Improving Road Safety (the HLM) has just finished.

“It was set as a great opportunity to discuss the way forward to save lives on the roads. The efforts of the President of the 76th General Assembly and WHO should be recognized for  coordinating this meeting, involving the Member States, leading and negotiating a Political Declaration, and securing three checkpoints in 2023, 2025, and 2026 to assess the progress on road safety. However, the statements made by Member States, although they all recognized road safety as a key issue, revealed gaps in  understanding of road safety as a social issue and political will to address it.

“So I asked myself, what is next? How do we move forward? How can we ensure that we see real progress during the UN General Assemblies in 2023 and 2025 where road safety will be reported, and the second High-level Meeting in 2026?

“As NGOs we have to be resourceful, and make the best out of these three upcoming UN meetings that we have in front of us. Let’s develop a progressive plan defining what we want to see from each of these meetings; 

“NGOs, the ball is in our court, and there are several immediate actions we can take to make sure that the outcomes of the High-level Meeting are taken forward and used to build momentum in our countries:

  • Find out if your country made a statement and if they did, re-listen to it and analyze it against the Global Plan for the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2021-2030 and your national road safety strategy (if your country has one);
  • Check if the statement mentions targets, evidence-based interventions, in particular, any topic that you are working on, and any budget allocation;
  • Engage with your relevant Ministry and the road safety agency to follow through on what they said in the statement and make sure they are aware of the contents of the Political Declaration and the commitment it makes on their behalf;
  • If your country did not make a statement, use this as your opener: why did they not take an active part and what does this say about commitment to saving lives on your country’s roads? Remember that they are still signatories via the silence procedure to the Political Declaration so you can still use this to remind them of their commitments;
  • Start engaging with your road safety authority to report on progress on the implementation of the Political Declaration at the 2023 General Assembly  and for the Global Status Report on Road Safety;
  • Use the Global and Regional Calls to action to back up your asks and put pressure to move the agenda forward.

“Alongside this, we must maximize our coordination with other sectors working on other areas, such as climate, gender, and equity, to leverage joint areas of agreement and build their understanding of and support for safe mobility to enabler to achieve their targets. We must use media effectively to inform society and empower them to keep our leaders accountable for their commitments. 

“Opportunities are scarce, so let’s make sure that we, the NGO community, are ready to maximize it, support our governments, and watch their progress. At the next High-level Meeting we don’t want to hear how many lives are lost every year, we want to hear how many lives were SAVED.”