In 9 video messages, high-level representatives of different international organisation such as EU Ambassador Walter Stevens, Olga Algayerova, Executive Secretary of UNECE, Director-General of WHO Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, as well as UN Special Envoy for Road Safety Jean Todt reminded of the importance of investing in road safety measures to avoid preventable tragedies and to save thousands of needlessly lost lives every year.
While the EU and the UN have been working closely together to promote multilateral actions to make roads safer, EU Ambassador Stevens underlined: “We know the solutions. We know that we need safer roads, safer vehicles, stronger policies and stronger enforcement. We need to do more, and we need to do better to make our roads safer.”
The campaign also shed light on the many different policy dimensions that are linked to the issue of road safety, such as health and sustainability. The European Coordinator for Road Safety and Sustainable Development Matthew Baldwin, as well as EU Commissioner for Transport Adina Valean highlighted the sad fact that young people in low- and middle-income countries are particularly often victims of accidents on the road. The number of children injured or disabled as a result of road traffic crashes is estimated to be 10 million each year. The EU has been taking concrete action to tackle these issues worldwide, including road safety programmes in African countries.
David Boyd, UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and the Environment put emphasis on the fact that today’s transportation system is completely unsustainable, contributing to air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, while these impacts violate the rights to live in a healthy environment. “We need to shift to sustainable transportation, by rethinking the way we design and build cities, investing in zero-emission vehicles and improving road safety,” he stressed in video message.
As the last day of the campaign week, the 20th November, marked the 31st anniversary of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, a video message by UNICEF illustrated that road safety and the rights of the child are closely interlinked – road traffic injuries being the top cause of death and disability among children 5-18 years old.
Besides the important key message “Remember. Support. Act”, the joint initiative sent another strong signal: “We are joining multilateral forces in making the world’s roads safer to save many lives each day.”