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A Chance to Demonstrate the Power of Road Safety Partnerships, by Luciana Iorio

Luciana Iorio, UNRSF Advisory Board Chair | Chair of the Global Forum for Road Traffic Safety (WP.1)


A Chance to Demonstrate the Power of Road Safety Partnerships  

We know the numbers. We repeat them too often. Every year, road crashes claim the lives of some 1.35 million people, and seriously injure more than 50 million. But these figures are not just numbers. They were once lives, childhoods, dreams and expectations. 
As a road safety policy-maker, I have known many lives abruptly interrupted or irreversibly changed by road crashes. All of them had a future before it all came to a stop on the road:  a job interview to attend, a holiday to plan, a wedding dress to fit; a business project to start after years of saving money, the first date with the high school sweetheart. 
The UN Road Safety Fund provides an opportunity to ensure that we do not only look at those statistics, but we do enable new actions to revive hopes and ambitions, and fund new approaches creating the right policy conditions to fight the immeasurable social and economic cost incurred by road crashes.   
The UN Road Safety Fund presents a new momentum to address the current poor road safety record through the power of partnerships. It gathers all relevant road safety actors under one roof in order to finance and leverage further funding for high-impact projects to improve road safety, where most needed: in low and middle -income countries.
Its multi-stakeholder character allows it to gather knowledge on ongoing road safety projects and initiatives through links with different actors; as a multi-partner fund that is hosted at the UNECE headquarters in Geneva, which is also home to the UN conventions on road safety and the secretariat of the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Road Safety, the Fund is uniquely placed to achieve meaningful operational coherence and to maximize focus and effectiveness by relying on the knowledge, expertise and reach of all its partners. 
Both the UNECE Executive Secretary and the Special Envoy for Road Safety are working relentlessly to promote partnerships and generate commitment to the Fund. During its first year of existence, the Fund has already gathered nearly USD 20 million in pledges, which is a testament of its great potential and ability to foster partnerships across the private and public sectors. 
But in order to turn that potential and ability into a real impact on the ground, the Fund needs more funding and resources. It needs not only political declarations from governments and expressions of good will from the private sector, but concrete financial commitment and support to the implementation of the Fund’s projects. 
It is only through partnering with as many stakeholders as possible that the Fund will be able to build a world where everyone can move safely on the roads.
The clock is ticking. We are still receiving those alarming road fatality figures, and the situation is increasingly alarming in some regions of the world.  We need to act fast. We must strive to eradicate road casualties in the same way that we succeeded in eradicating some pandemic diseases. 
We therefore call on governments and the private sector to partner with us to improve national road safety systems. Together, we can turn the page, change the story, and ensure a safe journey for everyone, everywhere.