Ensure that Paraguayan children have safer ways to get to and from school; strengthen the post-crash medical response in Bangladesh; developing streets for safer and lower carbon mobility of pedestrians and cyclists in East Africa; and strengthening road safety data management and policy design in the Arab region are some of the goals of the 10 new projects funded by the United Nations Road Safety Fund (UNRSF).

To mark the launch of these new projects, UNRSF invited five well-known personalities from diverse backgrounds to discuss the main road safety challenges their countries currently face and to highlight the role that advocacy can play in improving road safety. . The virtual event “Safe and sustainable mobility in developing countries”, presented by Jean Todt, Special Envoy of the United Nations Secretary General for Road Safety and by Olga Algayerova, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), will take place on October 15 as high-level side event of the Second United Nations Global Conference on Sustainable Transport is held in Beijing, China. This event will be a unique opportunity to hear from Paraguayan journalist and UNICEF ambassador Mercedes Barriocanal; Rahman Rezaei, former Iranian national football player; Sergey Ghahramanyan, Armenian activist, founder of “Driver’s friend”.

According to Olga Algayerova, “The Decade of Action for Road Safety 2021-2030 and its Global Plan is a new opportunity to put road safety at the heart of the SDG agenda”. With more than 1.3 million deaths worldwide each year and nearly 50 million serious injuries, road accidents are the leading cause of death among young people aged 5 to 29. Road fatalities remain unacceptably high in Africa and Southeast Asia, where they significantly exceed the global average of 18.2 per 100,000 population. In some African countries, the rate reaches 31 per 100,000 inhabitants. In contrast, the average in OECD countries is around 5 to 7 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants. In addition to human losses, crashes cost countries 3-5% of their gross domestic product (GDP), which keeps millions of people in poverty and undermines countries’ prospects for sustainable development. “The time until 2030 is running out and we cannot afford to delay action,” concludes the Executive Secretary of UNECE, home to the United Nations road safety conventions that offer proven tools to help governments to legislate and take concrete measures to combat the main causes of accidents.

The UNRSF was established in 2018 as an innovative partnership to directly support the achievement of two SDGs that address road safety (in addition to impacting a number of others): SDG target 3.6 on halving the number of road deaths and injuries worldwide; and SDG target 11.2 on access to safe, affordable, accessible and sustainable transport systems for all. Today, UNRSF has a portfolio of 25 projects, implemented by 11 UN agencies in 30 countries.

As detailed in his new results brochure, the Fund has provided hundreds of kilometers of safe cycle and pedestrian paths, supported safer access to schools for children in several countries and is gradually working to provide 400 million people with safer and cleaner vehicles. UNRSF projects are a “proof of concept” of how funding road safety for proven interventions can save lives and reduce injuries. For example, in Brazil, thanks to funding from UNRSF, the traffic enforcement system was strengthened, contributing to a decrease in the rate of road deaths per 100,000 inhabitants from 17.03 in 2019 to 15.64 in 2020, according to UNECLAC.

Despite significant progress towards improving road safety performance in developing countries, it remains a glaring challenge to mobilize adequate levels of national and international funding.

UNRSF is currently receiving contributions from the public sector, including the Russian Federation, France, the European Commission, the Kingdom of Bahrain, Monaco, Hungary, Slovakia, Cyprus and Mauritius, and from private sector companies such as the FIA ​​Foundation, the Total Foundation , the Michelin Corporate Foundation, Pirelli, 3M, Essilor, Keep Fighting Foundation and La Nuez Production. However, despite these and other sources of investment, the level of funding for road safety in developing countries is far below current needs, especially in light of the ambitious Global Plan of Action for the Second. Decade of Action on Road Safety (2021 – 2030). According to Nneka Henry, head of the UNRSF secretariat, “with an available budget of $ 4 million for the 2020 UNRSF call for proposals, these 10 new projects will increase the capacity of the Fund to respond to the growing demand from countries for support to improve their road safety performance. With country demand for UNRSF support exceeding USD 14 million in 2020, UNRSF was only able to fund one third of country requests. With more national leadership and a stronger commitment to partnership, UNRSF will help governments save many more lives in many more countries.

Partnerships for a catalytic fund

Starting with country-led priorities and targeted results, UNRSF draws on the expertise of participating UN organizations and also brings together a wide range of implementing partners to help governments achieve these results. .

Through this collaborative approach, UNRSF seeks to use its funding in a catalytic fashion, leveraging its unique position as a United Nations global fund to trigger new domestic and international investments, ensuring impact far beyond from its own subsidies. For example:

  • There was an 83% increase from 2019 to 2020 in projects that offered co-financing agreements and / or the recruitment of newly established national road safety focal points.
  • A UNICEF-implemented project in the Philippines targeting 100 high-risk schools as models for designing safe streets in cities will be scaled up with additional national funding.
  • This is also the case with the project implemented by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and UNECE in Rwanda which will improve the government’s capacity to test and certify the safety of motorcycle helmets.

Registration for the high-level side event “Safe and Sustainable Mobility in Developing Countries” at the 2nd United Nations World Conference on Sustainable Transport.

/ Public distribution. This material is from the original organization / authors and may be ad hoc in nature, edited for clarity, style and length. The views and opinions expressed are those of the author (s). here.

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