An estimated 1.25 million people are killed every year in road traffic crashes, and up to 50 million more are injured, often seriously.
Beyond human suffering, road traffic deaths and injuries cause significant economic losses to individuals and societies, keeping millions of people in poverty and creating an estimated $1.85 trillion burden on the global economy each year. This makes addressing road safety one of the most pressing social, economic, health and development challenges of our time.
While the need to improve road safety is gaining increasing recognition, targeted efforts have not been adequately funded at the local, national, regional or global levels. As such, we are far from being on track to halve the number of road traffic deaths by 2020– the target set out in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The United Nations Road Safety Trust Fund, launched today in New York City, aims to accelerate progress in improving global road safety by bridging the gaps in the mobilization of resources for effective action at all levels.
Established at the request of the Secretary-General following the suggestion made by United Nations Member States, the Fund will mobilize resources from governments, intergovernmental or non-governmental organizations, the private sector, philanthropic organizations and individuals.
UNECE estimates that every $1,500 contributed to the Road Safety Trust Fund could:
- save one life
- prevent ten serious injuries
- leverage $51,000 in road safety investment.
The scaling up of resources is essential if we are to achieve the SDG road safety targets. Speaking at the launch of the Fund, the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Road Safety Jean Todt, said “I strongly welcome the establishment of the United Nations Road Safety Trust Fund, which has the potential to galvanize our global efforts to address the road safety situation, building on the progress made and experience gained over the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020. I call on the support of all partners in mobilizing the resources necessary to reduce the number of fatalities on the world’s roads”. Jean Todt is also President of the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA).
UNECE Executive Secretary Olga Algayerova stated “The United Nations Road Safety Trust Fund will serve as a catalyst for much-needed progress towards the road safety targets of the Sustainable Development Goals. UNECE is honoured to host the Secretariat of the Trust Fund, and, as home to both the United Nations road safety conventions and the Secretariat of the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Road Safety, is committed to working with all stakeholders to multiply the impact of global action to improve road safety”.
By bringing key stakeholders together, the United Nations Road Safety Trust Fund will support increased action and enhanced impact in addressing critical road safety challenges. In this spirit, important pledges to contribute as founding donors were made at the Fund’s launch by the FIA Foundation, and two members of the FIA High Level Panel for Road Safety, Total and 3M, who build on a long history of support to concrete initiatives and innovation to improve road safety. A number of governments have also expressed their support for the activities of the Fund.
Saul Billingsley, Executive Director of the FIA Foundation, said “The launch of this first ever United Nations Fund for global road safety is an important recognition that our collective efforts to tackle road safety must be scaled up. Governments have provided the mandate for action, but not yet the resources to deliver it. We urgently need a massive increase in funding, commensurate to the scale of the problem. With this $10 million pledge, the FIA Foundation is stepping up. Now we call on others to do the same!”
Emphasizing the vital role of civil society, Ms Lotte Brondum, Executive Director of the Global Alliance of NGOs for Road Safety, stated “The approval of the United Nations Road Safety Trust Fund represents an important milestone for the NGO community. We now have both the political will and a structure for financing our efforts. Momentum is with us, and it is our responsibility to grasp hold of it and scale up those activities that have been proved to be effective. We encourage NGOs to seek strong partnerships with key stakeholders and serve as agents of accountability.”
The United Nations Road Safety Trust Fund will focus on strengthening the capacity of government agencies, local governments and city authorities to develop and implement road safety programmes, prioritizing projects in low and middle-income countries.
As a broad partnership mobilizing expertise and resources across different sectors - including government authorities, civil society organizations, multilateral development banks, United Nations entities, other international organizations and academia – the Fund will support a coordinated and holistic approach to improving global road safety.
Note to editors
About the road safety targets of the Sustainable Development Goals
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by United Nations Member States in 2015, contains targets on road safety in two of its 17 Sustainable Development Goals:
Sustainable Development Goal 3
“Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages”.
Target 3.6: By 2020, halve the number of global deaths from road traffic accidents.
Sustainable Development Goal 11
“Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable”.
Target 11.2: By 2030, provide access to safe, affordable, accessible and sustainable transport systems for all, improving road safety, notably by expanding public transport, with special attention to the needs of those in vulnerable situations, women, children, persons with disabilities and older persons.
The General Assembly in April 2016 adopted resolution 70/260, which requested the Secretary-General “to consider the possibility of establishing, from voluntary contributions, a Road Safety Trust Fund, to support the implementation of the Global Plan for the Decade of Action and the road safety-related Sustainable Development Goals, as appropriate, and to report thereon to Member States.” Pursuant to this resolution, UNECE was tasked by the Secretary-General to be the lead entity in developing a proposal for establishing such a fund in collaboration with key stakeholders.
Following extensive consultations between November 2016 and August 2017, a proposal was presented to the Secretary-General in September 2017.
The Secretary-General formally expressed his support for the establishment of the United Nations Road Safety Trust Fund, dated 29 December 2017, requesting for UNECE and his Special Envoy for Road Safety to take all necessary steps to establish the Fund in line with the submitted proposal.
The Secretariat of the United Nations Road Safety Trust Fund will be hosted by UNECE, and the Administrative Agent is the United Nations Multi-Partner Trust Fund Office based at UNDP.
The Fund will support concrete actions aligned with the five pillars of the Global Plan for the Decade of Action for Road Safety, namely:
1. Strengthened road safety management capacities
2. Improved safety of road infrastructure and broader transport networks
3. Enhanced safety of vehicles
4. Improved behaviour of road users
5. Improved post-crash care.
About the FIA High Level Panel for Road Safety
The FIA High Level Panel for Road Safety has been established by the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) with the goal of engaging both the public and private sectors to build much-needed new momentum for road safety actions in low and middle-income countries. It brings together senior decision-makers from the global business community, international institutions and non-governmental organisations to find innovative solutions to address the global road safety challenge.