One Year of the Global Plan: On Track or Off-Target?
28 October 2022
To mark the anniversary of the Global Plan for the Decade of Action 2021-2030 (Global Plan), the Alliance held an online session to review progress so far toward the Decade of Action.
The session comprised remarks from keynote speakers and a panel discussion featuring leaders from government, private sector, youth, and an NGO. It looked at progress toward the Decade of Action: what has happened so far, is it enough, and what needs to be done to stay or or get back on track?
Keynote speakers included Serghei Diaconou, General Secretary for the Ministry of Interior, Moldova; Nhan Tran, Head of Safety and Mobility, WHO; and Saul Billingsley, Executive Director, FIA Foundation.
The panel was moderated by Bella Dinh-Zarr, Traffic Injury Research Foundation (TIRF) and FIA Foundation, and former US National Transport Safety Board Vice Chairman/Acting Chairman. The panelists were Saul Alveano Aguerrebere, Safe System Coordinator, Ministry of Transport, Jalisco, Mexico; Sarika Panda Bhatt, Raahgiri Foundation; Simon Patrick Obi, Greenlight Initiative and Global Youth Coalition for Road Safety; and Kristin Smith, Head of Global Road Safety Policy, Uber.
We are probably not on track but it’s still possible to achieve the target
42% of session attendees thought that we were probably not on track to achieve the 2030 target (and 30% thought we were definitely off track), while only 25% thought we were probably or definitely on track.
Nhan Tran: “In terms of the pure number of deaths, it’s unlikely that, unless we take a game changing strategy, that we will achieve the targeted reductions based on the current trends. But it doesn’t mean that we cannot take or make a game changing strategy.”
Serghei Diaconu: Moldova was one of the few countries to halve road deaths in the first Decade of Action: “This was hard work, it was teamwork: government, NGOs, and society united … it wasn’t a simple as we were thinking from the beginning.”
Serghei Diaconu: “It’s only possible when you have a lot of determination with a really good plan. You need to have the support of government at all levels, you need all the stakeholders to support you. You cannot do it without NGOs and mass media, or without a clear understanding of the populations that they want it. You need to convince people outside that it’s important for them because it’s about their lives, their happiness.”
Nhan Tran: “One of the ways that we will stay on track is to have these regular stock takes.”
Other competing issues are putting pressure on governments (for example, security, energy crisis, climate change). These challenges are also opportunities.
Serghei Diaconu: “50% sounds not very bad on paper but in real life, having right now a lot of different threats — security issues, the energy crisis — are somehow putting a lot of pressure on governments and instead of only making progress in some areas, Governments are thinking about a lot of areas and threats.”
Nhan Tran: “I think those [the war and the energy crisis] are examples of the fact that road safety is interconnected to a number of other development issues. Framing road safety in the context of sustainable development provides us both challenges, but it also provides us opportunities. For example, reframing the energy crisis could also be something quite positive for road safety. It’s an opportunity for us to remind the world that having less cars on the road [and making investments in public transport] is a great way of not only addressing the climate crisis and improving the health of the population, it is also a way of actually improving the safety of roads.”
Involving all sectors, including private sector and with civil society in a different but stronger role will be essential:
Nhan Tran: “One group that we haven’t talked much about is the role of the private sector: who influences mobility and transport in these countries? Ultimately private sector organizations have a tremendous influence.”
Nhan Tran: “In this decade, civil society must play a bigger role, but a different role. We need to learn from other fields where civil society is playing a much more forceful role.”
We are looking at the targets in the wrong way:
Saul Billingsley: There are plenty of good examples coming from countries, such as Mexico’s recognition of safe mobility as a right, US investment in safety strategy, 5-star vehicles in India.
Saul Billingsley: “I think that talking about the 50% global target is the wrong way of looking at it. We all need to be looking at what we are doing in our own countries. We take each battle and win that, and then the next, according to our own priorities. And that is what, aggregated, will help us to achieve the global target.”
Nhan Tran: “One of the things that I think has emerged over the past few years is that there are a lot of things about transport and mobility that we don’t know. Mobility is evolving and constantly changing. Part of what needs to happen in the next decade is for us to continually evolve and to generate new knowledge about what we can do: how do we mitigate the increase in mobility in a way that doesn’t produce more negative externalities”
We are looking at funding in the wrong way:
Saul Billingsley: “There’s not some cavalry coming over the hill to achieve transformational amounts of international donor funding. Funding is vanishingly hard to get. So, what we have to do is to look at how governments can make better use of their own domestic budgets. The money is there, it just needs to be spent better”
Nhan Tran: “The call for funding is distracting us from what we need to do. There are literally billions and trillions of dollars that are being invested in one way or the other in transport and mobility around the world either nationally by national governments and/or through multilateral development loans so I think that the issue is not that there isn’t money, it’s that money is being spent in a way that results in safety.”
Nhan Tran: “Even if someone tomorrow says they are going to give us a billion dollars for road safety, I don’t think that’s going to solve the problem because you are still going to have the same investments being in ways that produce transport systems that are unsafe.”
Bella Dinh-Zarr: “The reason that people are focusing on funding is that it’s practical. I think that people are expressing a frustration with how funding is done. They are requesting more funding and they are demanding that as a way to show that there is political will. I think that’s a way that people are using as a proxy for showing that they would like to have more political will.”