Foundation urges road safety at UN Open Working Group on post-2015

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The FIA Foundation has led NGO efforts to include road safety in a post-2015 health goal at the UN this week.

During the eleventh session of the post-2015 Open Working Group at UN headquarters in New York, where countries meet to negotiate the content of the future UN development goals, the Foundation’s US Director and UN representative, Bella Dinh Zarr, made a statement on behalf of several groups, including the NCD Alliance, SLoCaT, the Stakeholder Group on Ageing and the Women’s Major Group.

Through intense advocacy by the FIA Foundation and other organisations, several governments and groups of governments represented at the meeting supported the call for road safety to be included in the Health Focus area as well as the Sustainable Cities focus area and the focus area on Education. These governments included Lesotho (on behalf of the African Group); Nicaragua (on behalf of Nicaragua and Brazil); Singapore (Cyprus, UAE) troika; Thailand (Bhutan, Viet Nam) troika, and Malaysia. Costa Rica also called for recognition for the importance of sustainable transport.

Read Bella Dinh Zarr’s statement below:

Thank you, Honorable Co-chairs. My name is Dr. Bella Dinh-Zarr with the FIA Foundation and I also speak on behalf of the Partnership for Sustainable Low Carbon Transport, the Women’s Major Group, the Stakeholder Group on Ageing, and the NCD Alliance, a diverse group which reflects the cross-cutting nature of transportation itself, as you recognized in the 7th OWG.

We appreciate your efforts to limit the number of SDGs. At the same time, we urge that vital cross-cutting issues, such as safe sustainable transportation, are not forgotten.

As you recommended, I will provide specific language, which will add very few, but very important, words to the targets.

Focus area 3. Health and population dynamics

First and most importantly, we urge you to put a road traffic injury target back in the Health Focus Area. Road safety was included in the Secretary General’s health recommendations for the Post-2015 Agenda, and on April 10, the General Assembly passed the resolution “improving global road safety” to address the 1.2 Million annual deaths worldwide, especially in low- and middle-income countries.

Safe, sustainable, affordable transportation is clearly integral to a healthy life for all ages. Therefore, we urge you to specify road traffic injuries, as given in the Health Intervention, so that the NCD target reads:

  • By 2030, achieve a 34%[1] relative reduction in premature mortality from NCDs; reduce road traffic injuries and fatalities by 50%; and promote mental health and well-being.

Focus Areas 4 and 5

People of all ages need safe transportation for education and gender equality. The Global Burden of Disease research shows that traffic injuries are the leading cause of death for school-aged children, and are also a Top 10 cause of death for women and girls aged 1-44. We recommend the simple addition of the word “safe” in front of “access” so that…

Target 4(A) would read:
By 2030 ensure universal, free, equitable AND SAFE access to and completion of quality primary and secondary education…

And Target 5 (C) would read:
By 2030 ensure equal AND SAFE access to education at all levels.

Focus area 8. Economic growth, employment and infrastructure

  • 3.3 billion people live in rural areas and lack of transportation contributes to extreme poverty. Target 8(G) should read: “Develop sustainable infrastructure accessible to all, with attention to the needs of countries in special situations, and by 2030 provide access for 100% of rural populations to safe, sustainable transport”.

Focus area 10. Sustainable cities and human settlements

We strongly support target 10(A): By 2030, provide access to safe, affordable, accessible and sustainable transport for all, improve road safety and urban air quality.

And we add that sustainable transport should also mean walking and cycling, which can create a cascade of health benefits, AND, with mass transit, contribute to lower air pollution.

Finally, we would like to re-emphasize our recommendation to include a target for road traffic deaths in the Health Focus Area.

Detailed information can be found in the briefs which will be submitted to the Secretariat.

We encourage maintaining an open & transparent process for the final stages, to guarantee participation from all stakeholders. Thank you for the opportunity to speak and thank you for your leadership to ensure that safe, clean, fair and green mobility is included to help achieve the health, social, and economic goals of the post-2015 agenda. Your leadership will save lives, save money, and help people have longer, healthier, and happier lives. Thank you.

View the video about the statement:

View the film 'UN debates global road safety':