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Embed a Road Safety Culture and Lead by Example, by Olga Algayerova

Olga Algayerova, UNECE Executive Secretary

Embed a Road Safety Culture and Lead by Example

The launch of the UN Road Safety Strategy in February 2019 highlights that road safety requires leadership, and partnerships. With 1.35 million people dying on the world’s roads every year and numbers on the rise globally, we need new ways of approaching this human tragedy.


Road crashes affect the most vulnerable groups, particularly children who pay un unbearable toll: 500 children die every day on the roads. Road crashes destroy lives, leave families and entire communities in poverty and are a major hindrance to sustainable development.  Their cost is estimated at USD 1.85 trillion every year; meaning that this money is not available to fund the thousands of schools, universities or hospitals that are badly needed all over the world.


Yet, road safety has so far not received the political attention and, critically, the financial support in deserves.


We must urgently step up efforts to realize the transformative road safety vision of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.


The UN Road Safety Fund takes a decisive step in this direction, bringing all stakeholders around the table to mobilize much needed resources and strengthen joint action.


To achieve this, the Fund introduces a holistic Global Framework Plan of Action for Road Safety. This will guide the Fund’s activities, assist countries to build well-functioning national road safety systems and embed a road safety culture.


As a participating organization of the UN Road Safety Fund and host to the Fund’s Secretariat, UNECE will lead by example, leveraging its practical tools and technical knowledge to embed a global road safety culture.


Since the 1950s, UNECE has played a leading role in developing road safety standards, advocating for their use, and providing technical assistance to countries so these resources may be implemented across the globe.


The United Nations legal instruments administered by UNECE constitute practical tools to address the major causes of road crashes. These key instruments contain internationally harmonized provisions covering road traffic rules, road signs and signals, vehicle construction, the transport of dangerous goods and more.


Many countries around the world are already Contracting Parties to these legal instruments and benefit from their implementation. UNECE is committed to supporting all UN Member States to join and put these lifesaving instruments into action. We also work with countries to keep these international road safety conventions up-to-date, through platforms including UNECE’s Global Forum for Road Traffic Safety and World Forum for the Harmonization of Vehicle Regulations.


UNECE also supports the exchange and promotion of best practices and awareness raising to improve road safety. We work to build capacities on the ground through training and education, helping to embed a road safety culture that can reach the most vulnerable groups.


This is how UNECE will leverage its expertise to support holistic, multi-stakeholder action through the UN Road Safety Fund.