WHO – Coordinating the Decade of Action for Road Safety

“The Decade of Action for Road Safety can help all countries drive along the path to a more secure future… Today, partners around the world are releasing national and citywide plans for the Decade, hosting policy discussions and enabling people affected by road crashes to share their stories widely. Now we need to move this campaign into high gear and steer our world to safer roads ahead. Together, we can save millions of lives”.[2]
Ban Ki-moon UN General Secretary


Under resolution A/RES/64/255 (10 May 2010), the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed the period 2011-2020 as the Decade of Action for Road Safety, with a goal to stabilize and then reduce the forecast levels of traffic fatalities around the world by increasing activities conducted at national, regional and global levels. [3] There is a growing awareness that the current road safety situation constitutes a crisis with devastating social and economic impacts that threatens the recent health and development gains that have been achieved. Road safety is not a new issue but over the last decade activity at the international level has gained new momentum. A number of documents have been developed that describe the magnitude of the road safety injury situation, its social, health and economic impacts, specific risk factors and effective interventions. These have served to provide momentum for the adoption of a number of resolutions that call on EU Member States and the international community to include road safety as a global policy issue making specific recommendations for action. The resolutions have called for international collaboration to be strengthened.

Number of KSIs Worldwide
About 1.24 million people die on the world’s roads each year as a result of road traffic crashes and road traffic injuries are the leading cause of death among young people aged 15-29 years. It is estimated that 91pc of the world’s fatalities occur in low and middle-income countries, even though these countries have approximately half the world’s vehicles. Currently, lack of road safety management capacity in these countries present a formidable barrier to implementing the ambitious Global plan. Half of these dying on the worlds roads are ‘vulnerable road users’ – pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists and without action to stem the carnage, traffic crashes are predicted to result in the deaths of around 1.9 million people by 2020.
Only 28 countries, representing 416 million people – 7pc of the world’s population – have adequate laws that address all five risk factors – speed, drink driving, safety helmets, seat-belts and child restraints. Every year the lives of almost 1.24 million people are cut short as a result of a road traffic crash. Between 20 to 50 million people suffer non-fatal injuries, with many incurring a disability as a result of their injury.

The WHO Response
In 2010, a United Nations (UN) General Assembly resolution proclaimed a Decade of Action for Road Safety (2011-2020). The Decade was launched in May 2011 in over 110 countries, with the aim of saving millions of lives by improving the safety of roads and vehicles, enhancing the behaviour of road users and improving emergency services. It is estimated that 5million lives could be saved on the worlds roads during the Decade of Action. [4] On 29 April 2015, the UN General Secretary Ban Ki-moon announced the appointment of Jean Todt as his Special Envoy. [5] His role is to help mobilize sustained political commitment at Global level towards making road safety a priority worldwide.

Friends of Decade of Action
On the 8 June 2015 the Swedish Government hosted a meeting of the Friends of the Decade of Action, an informal group of Governments and international agencies committed to making the Decade of Action a success. The purpose of the gathering which convened representatives of 12 member states – Brazil, France, Morocco, Oman, Philippines, South Africa , Spain , Sweden, Thailand Turkey, US and Uruguay and seven international agencies, was to provide input on preparations for the 2nd Global High-Level Conference on road safety scheduled for 18/19 November 2015 in Brasilia, Brazil. This was only the second time in history such a meeting was held. Ministers of transport, health and interior and their representative’s convened to address the Global Safety Crisis which was attended by 2,200 delegates from more than 110 countries. Key speakers included Ms. Dilma Rousseff, President of Brazil and Dr Margaret Chan Director General of the World Health Organisation (WHO), who defined the urgent measures needed to achieve the 2030 Agenda for sustainable developments ambitious targets to halve road traffic deaths by the end of this decade. [6]
Participants were updated on Conference preparations by senior officials from the Government of Brazil, including the negotiation of the Brasilia December meeting on road safety, and offered guidance on the draft conference programme. The conference hosted by the government of Brazil and co-sponsored by the World Health Organisation (WHO), was a milestone for global road safety.
The Global Plan for the Decade of Action is organised around five pillars of the ‘Safe System Approach’ The advisory plan endorsed by governments , UN agencies, multilateral institutions and NGOs coming together in the UN road safety collaboration is primarily inspiration and guidance for many countries and organisations working to reduce traffic casualties. The targets and indicators in the Plan covering areas include vehicle regulation, cycling strategies, post-crash care and road user behaviour gives focus to our collective efforts in the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety.

Articles & Indicators
Articles over the Decade of Action should take place at national, regional and global levels, but the focus will primarily be in national level actions. Within the legal constructs of national governments, countries are encouraged to implement activities according to the five pillars below.
Pillar 1: Road safety management
Encourage the creation of multi-sectoral partnerships and designation of lead agencies with the capacity to develop national safety strategies, plans and targets, underpinned by the data collection and evidential research to assess countermeasure design and monitor implementation and effectiveness.
Pillar 2: Road safety design
To use road infrastructure assessment rating and improved design to raise the inherent safety band protective quality of road networks for the benefit of all road users, especially the most vulnerable.
Pillar 3: Safer vehicle design
To encourage universal deployment of improved vehicle technologies for both passive and active through a harmonisation of relevant global standards, consumer information schemes and incentives to accelerate the uptake of new technologies.
Pillar 4: Safer road users
To develop comprehensive traffic safety programmes to improve road user behaviour.
Sustained or increased enforcement of traffic laws, standards and rules combined with public awareness / education activities (in both the public and private sectors, as well as non-governmental organisations) that will improve compliance with key road safety rules that reduce the impact of the key risk factors – speeding, drink driving, non-use of motorcycle helmets, seat-belts, child restraints and unsafe commercial vehicle operators.
Pillar 5: Post crash care
To increase responsiveness to post crash emergencies and improve the ability of health systems to provide appropriate and adequate emergency treatment and longer term rehabilitation for crash victims. Initial estimates suggest that funding of up to US $500b each year is spent on road infrastructure by the world’s road authorities. Dedicating even a small proportion of these funds towards meeting the objectives of the Decade of Action should be a priority for countries. Progress towards achievement of the DOA goal will be monitored and evaluated throughout:
· Monitoring of indicators
· Tracking milestones linked to the DOA and
· Mid-term and end-term evaluation of the DOA
A number of global milestones will mark progress through the decade. The decade and implementation of this plan will be evaluated at regular intervals by the WHO and the UN regional commissions, within the umbrella of the UN Road Safety Collaboration. Baseline data will be obtained through country surveys conducted for the “Second Global Road Safety States Report on Road Safety” published in 2012 and other regional and sub-regional statistics. A third report was published in 2014 and should funding be secured – additional states reports will be developed. The states reports and other monitoring tools implemented at national, regional and global review events. At national level each country will set its own monitoring system. It is hoped that countries will develop and publish national reports and organise events to discuss progress and adopt plans. [7]
Although Ireland had a national plan for the DOA, it didn’t appear in the UN Road Safety Collaboration, but the Road Safety Authority created a slogan – ‘Make Roads Safer’. The RSA announced a series of activities that took place around the country to mark the UN DOA, and a major campaign was set for late 2011.
One particular RSA initiative was partnering Motorsport Ireland and the Federation Internationale D L’Automobile (FIA) to target young people attending and viewing motorsport events. RSA campaigns encouraged people to continue their support for road safety by making public commitment to change their behaviour on the roads for the better and make the roads safer for all road users.
In the UK, the Strategic Framework for Road Safety [8]the specific actions that the government proposes to take forwards include:
· Improved road safety Together – Empowering Local Citizens and Local Service providers
· Education – Developing Skills and Attitudes (Dept. for Transport)
· Targeted Enforcement and Sanctions
· The Vision for Road Safety – Strategic Framework for Road Safety (72 page document)
N. Ireland and Scotland also have initiatives for the Decade of Action.

Achieving long-term road safety results require long-term governmental ownership, leadership and political will manipulated in the form of ambitious goals, achievable targets and sufficient human and financial resources. Countries such as Sweden’s successful experience in work-related safety, clearly illustrates that strong government lead agency’s presence is necessary. This is vital to unlocking the huge potential for the successful engagement of all stakeholders to achieve improved road safety results.
Substantial investment in road safety management capacity is vital to success in reducing KSIs on a global scale but requires a staged approach related to the learning and absorptive capacity of the country concerned. Road safety knowledge in low to middle-income countries will strengthen their capacity to improve road safety results. The creation of the UN DOA has been an extraordinary effort. Ten years of advocacy requiring hard work, vision and commitment, has been demonstrated by the key global players. However, setting goals and targets is one thing, meeting them is another? Moving forward will require deeper consideration of how improved road safety performance is produced and the institutional dimension to this process. Meeting the management challenges of the DOA for road safety will require many success factors to be addressed, if its ambitious goal is likely to be achieved.

[1] World Health Organisation
[2] UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. Message at the launch of the DOA of Road Safety. (11 May 2011).
[4] WHO. Saving millions of lives, Geneva, 2011.
[5] Mr. Todt is President of the Federation Internationale de L’Automobile (FIA). He was a former world championship rally co-driver. After leaving Peugeot, he joined Ferrari racing. In 2011, he was named Grand Croix D’Honoeur, the highest honour of the French Republic.
[6] . www.who.int.roadsafety/decade_of_action/en/
[7] 2nd Global High-Level Conference on Road Safety. www.who.int.roadsafety/decade_of_action/en/
[8] Foreword by Philip Hammond, Secretary of State for Transport (2010-2011), Department for Transport. 75 page document can be downloaded at https:// gov.uk

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