The United Nations General Assembly organized a one-day event in preparation for an upcoming high-level meeting on global road safety. Transport safety is a subject of SDG target 3.6 (by 2020, halve the number of deaths and injuries in road accidents worldwide) and SDG target 11.2 (by 2030, provide access to safe, affordable, accessible and sustainable transport systems for all, by improving road safety, in particular by developing public transport.)
The Global Plan for this decade sets a target of preventing at least 50% of road traffic deaths and injuries by 2030.
A decade of action for road safety is underway from 2021 to 2030. The Global Plan for this decade sets a target of preventing at least 50% of road traffic deaths and injuries – as in the SDG target – by 2030. The Plan also includes voluntary targets, recommended actions and implementation requirements.
Road fatality rates in Africa and Southeast Asia are much higher than in OECD countries. Speaking at the preparatory event on December 3, 2021, UNGA President Abdulla Shahid said this implied a divergence in national road safety capacities and that achieving the global goal would require increased support for low- and middle-income countries.
After the opening session, the preparatory meeting featured panel discussions on: sustainable national road safety financing; sustainable international and private financing for road safety; the role of the private sector, civil society, universities and young people in road safety; and engage the government, regional integration bodies, the UN and other international organizations in road safety. Jean Todt, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Road Safety, said the global road safety crisis could cost the global economy $1.8 trillion between 2015 and 2030. He urged a increased donor engagement with the United Nations Road Safety Fund.
Discussions highlighted potential sources of domestic revenue to advance road safety, such as fuel taxes, vehicle insurance, vehicle customs, registration permits and speeding tickets. . At the international level, options can include private sector resources, philanthropic activities, donations, green bonds and debt-for-nature swaps.
Jamil Ahmad, UN Environment Program (UNEP), said a partnership supported by the UN Road Safety Fund is supporting quality standards in West African countries to combat the export of dangerous and polluting second-hand vehicles. He noted that the EU was reviewing regulations on this issue and that the African Union was consulting with African member states for a continent-wide approach.
Noting that a billion more motor vehicles are expected over the next decade, David Ward, executive chairman of the Towards Zero Foundation, said the auto industry is responsible for ensuring they are safe, clean and comply with the minimum standards for United Nations vehicles.
The High-Level Meeting on Global Road Safety is scheduled for June 30-July 1, 2022 at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, USA. Its theme will be “Horizon 2030 for road safety: guaranteeing a decade of action and achievement”. The meeting is mandated to come up with a pre-agreed political declaration through intergovernmental negotiations, which will be facilitated by representatives from Côte d’Ivoire and Russia.
The high-level meeting will also include a donors’ conference. [Publication: Global Plan: Decade of Action for Road Safety 2021-2030] [UN news story] [SDG Knowledge Hub story on HLM preparations] [Decade of Action webpage]