Nepal Puts Road Safety on its Annual Priorities

In Nepal, the National Alliance for Safe and Sustainable Mobility, which includes Alliance members Swatantra Abiyan Nepal (SAN) and NASA Nepal, has been advocating to keep citizens’ rights to safe journeys in the spotlight following the 3rd Global Ministerial Conference on Road Safety in Sweden. Hon. Basanta Nembng, Minister of Physical Infrastructure and Transport, attended the conference and delivered his commitment to promote road safety in Nepal.

SAN has been in direct discussion with federal and provincial parliament members to push for actions including development of a road safety council; trauma centers; minimum standards for roads, transport, pedestrian safety, and driver training; and standards for helmets, sea belts, first aid, and pre-hospital care; and reintegration of crash victims into society.

The advocacy push has reaped welcome rewards. On 15 May 2020, the Nepalese Government announced its Annual Policy and Program Statement 2077/78 (2020-2021). The statement, which forms the basis of the national government’s priorities and work for the coming fiscal year, marks a strong commitment to road safety leadership and the safety of citizens from both national and regional government and success for the NGOs’ advocacy. It incorporates provision for:

  1. An integrated ambulance service accessed via a three-digit emergency number
  2. An extension of trauma services on major highways
  3. Highway construction to include road safety inspections and safety and aesthetic infrastructure in highway development
  4. Public Transportation to be more accessible, easy, user friendly, trustworthy and safe
  5. Encouragement of electric transportation
  6. Establishment of a Public Transportation Authority to regulate and improve the effectiveness of public transport

At regional level, all seven provinces of Nepal have included road safety elements including trauma and injury response centers, a regional road board and action plans, establishment of a vehicle inspection office, new footpaths, cycle lanes, and other infrastructure to improve road user safety, increased use of technology, and awareness campaigns.

Now the focus turns to analyzing the federal and provincial annual budget statements to make sure that the money needed for these plans is allocated and that the government continues to stay accountable for the admirable commitments that it has made for safer roads and the rights of road users.