Representing the value of NGOs to cities

To profile the value of engaging with NGOs to make cities safer and more livable, the Alliance organized a side-event at the International Transport Forum’s Safer City Streets conference last week.

Safer City Streets is a global network of around 50 cities seeking to improve their urban road safety performance. NGOs are natural partners for city and municipal governments. The side event, titled NGOs Driving Change: Key elements of effective advocacy, brought forward lessons from Alliance member NGOs, Centrico, Mexico; Despacio, Colombia; iRAP, and Victimas de Violencia Vial, Mexico, as well as a Jalisco local government perspective on working with NGOs. 

  • Edgar Zamora, International Road Assessment Programme (iRAP) highlighted speed as the most relevant factor in the likelihood and severity of crashes and how cities can prevent deaths and injuries through lowering speed limits and speed calming infrastructure design. 
  • John Fredy Bustos López, Despacio, shared how the NGO is facilitating young people in Colombia to be engaged in public spaces and to demand safe infrastructure that promotes a healthy lifestyle for young people and meets their needs to move around safely. 
  • Alejandra Leal, Centrico, shared how a coalition of NGOs drove the adoption of a national mobility law in Mexico and continues to scrutinize the implementation process to ensure safer speed limits are adopted at each state level. She also presented how a partnership advocacy resulted in safer infrastructure designs that consider pedestrian needs and safety. 
  • Débora Semadeni, Víctimas de Violencia Vial A.C., shared how civil society has been participating in decision making in the city of Guadalajara to help government utilize speed camera fines to build public transport as well as help government to implement safer crossings and sidewalks for pedestrians. 
  • Saúl Alveano Aguerrebere, Secretaría de Transporte, Jalisco, noted the importance for NGOs of understanding internal government processes. He advised them to demand safe speeds and infrastructure and to stand against victim blaming. To achieve results, he recommended partnering with those who have technical capability, will, passion and a strategic mindset to influence government more effectively.

See the presentations HERE.

NGO leaders, including the Alliance’s Director of Research and Accountability, Chika Sakashita, were featured throughout the conference, demonstrating the increasing recognition for what civil society can offer. 

Chika highlighted NGO accountability to demand implementation and funding of evidence-based interventions to help deliver the global road safety target to reduce deaths and injuries by at least 50% by 2030. She gave examples of speed management interventions that can help city authorities to save lives and prevent injuries while also preparing for the rapid urban growth anticipated in the coming years. 

Chika further described the NGO advocacy journey: from advocacy, to obtaining commitments from decision makers, to implementation of evidence-based interventions, to continual tracking and scrutiny of government actions until actual implementation of the commitment occurs, followed by promoting implementation successes, which is vital to push for scale up and to ensure that interventions are sustained for the long-term. The Alliance is developing and piloting a tracking tool to measure this journey, to help NGOs to track government actions, to hold governments accountable with data, to demonstrate NGO accountability, and to find ways to continually improve our advocacy efforts to more effectively influence actions at country levels.