COMING UP –Sweden 2020: for stronger leadership and commitments for road safety

Posted by: on May 7, 2019 | No Comments

2020 will mark the end of the UN Decade of Action on Road Safety and the deadline for the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target 3.6, it is now time to ensure that road safety remains high in the global political agenda.

Global road safety targets still far from achieved…

The Decade of Action (2011-2020) and the presence of road safety in the SDG framework, namely in target 3.6 which sets to halve the number of road traffic deaths by 2020, have certainly contributed to place greater attention on this important issue. Nevertheless, the number of road deaths and injuries, globally, has not decreased: 1.35 million people die on the roads every year, and 50 million people are injured. While some reductions were observed in middle and high income countries, there has been no reduction in the number of road traffic deaths in any low-income countries since 2013. (WHO, World Status Report on Road Safety, 2018). Leaders must renew their commitments to improve safety and save lives on the roads.

International mobilization to scale up action for road safety

The 3rd Global Ministerial Conference on Road Safety, which will be held in Sweden in February 2020, will mark the end of the UN Decade of Action and the starting point for continued collaboration on road safety. The aim of this Conference is to reach global consensus on guidelines for continued international collaboration on road safety up to 2030.

At the beginning of April, on the occasion of the Meeting of the Global alliance of NGOs for Road Safety, representatives from more than 280 NGOs adopted the ‘Chania NGO Declaration’. The Declaration sets a common vision about road safety beyond 2020 and urges governments to act now. NGOs call for an extension of the SDG target 3.6 until 2030, in order to keep adequate political focus and commitment on road safety, as a major global health and development issue. NGOs also call for significant scaling-up of action on road safety and road traffic victim support, accompanied by adequate financing and a strong accountability system. This Declaration was presented to the Government of Sweden, with a view to ensure that NGOs concerns and stands will be taken into consideration in the process towards the 3rd Global Ministerial Conference. The political relevance of this Ministerial Conference will highly depend on the level of participation of Ministers from both the Global South and the Global North. Sweden has already mobilised its diplomatic representations around the world to invite Ministers, and counts on civil society to further press on their governments to attend. The Ministerial Declaration, which will be the major outcome of this Conference, will represent a political success only if it will be massively endorsed by the world’s leaders and if it will define strong and actionable political commitments.

“Global leaders cannot ignore evidence: vulnerable road users in developing countries are the most affected by the lack of road safety, running a three time higher risk of being killed or injured in road crashes.”, says Eric Remacle, RS Specialist at Humanity & Inclusion.

The political agenda that will guide road safety actions after 2020 needs to place the persons at the center and strengthen efforts and investments in low and middle-income countries.