With a new Decade of Action for Road Safety 2021-2030, (proclaimed in UNGA Resolution A/74/299), the 6th UN Global Road Safety Week (GRSW), 17-23 May, was an opportunity to raise visibility of the cause on the global scale.
6th UN GRSW kick-off event
The Special Envoy participated in the kick-off event advocating a call to action for the global community and support to the UNRSF. The Director-General of the WHO and the UN Deputy Secretary-General also contributed to this effort. The Special Envoy was one of the nine UN senior officials to sign a ‘Streets for Life: For People, For Planet’ pledge which was featured in the New York Times on 17 May, International Section, p. A9.
Streets for Life Campaign
This year’s theme, #StreetsforLife, promoted reducing speeds to 30km/h in urban areas where there is mixed traffic. The focus of the Streets for Life campaign is to promote low speeds, particularly to protect the vulnerable, to prevent road traffic injury and to help encourage walking and cycling. An outcome of the initiative was to raising attention at the local and national level for road safety measures on speed reduction.
Special Envoy's contributions to the 6th UN GRSW
• On 11 May, the Special Envoy contributed to the French for ‘Radio Lac’ podcast. Mr. Todt highlighted road safety as a development challenge and advocated for achieving safe mobility as a definitive path towards the SDGs and making cities inclusive and resilient. An ONU Info programme, episodes receive 500 downloads – mainly in Switzerland, France, Belgium, USA, Canada, and West Africa.
• On 14 May, the Special Envoy contributed to the ‘Comprehensive Approach to Trauma Care’ event for AO Alliance and AO Foundation, Harvard University, G4 Alliance, and CURE International. The Special Envoy spotlighted the importance of building health systems for prevention and mitigation, with robust trauma care for post-crash response.
• On 17 May, Mr. Todt also participated in an Inter-Generational Dialogue on road safety between Youth Leaders and Ministers. Moderated by Youth Organizations for Road Safety (YOURS), the Special Envoy advocated for young people to collaborate with governments to drive action for prioritizing road safety, low-speed and livable streets.
• On 18 May, the Special Envoy contributed with opening remarks to the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) Regional Workshop on Road Safety in the Arab countries. The Special Envoy noted the sharing of best practices for strengthening national road safety management systems, promoted the draft of the Global Plan for the Second Decade of Action and praised the concept of a Road Safety Observatory for the Arab region to strengthen data collection.
• On 18 May, the Special Envoy also addressed through video message the Joint Roundtable of the Transport Community and Global Alliance of NGOs on Road Safety. The Special Envoy commended the event as an opportunity to bring together decision-makers and NGOs representatives to discuss speed reduction in urban areas.
• On 18 May, the Special Envoy virtually participated in an interview with the UN French News Service. The Special Envoy reflected on his continued commitment to road safety and raising public awareness. He highlighted why it was necessary to change the mentality of road users on speed reduction, noting urban streets at 30 km/h where there is mixed traffic can lead to safe, healthy, green and liveable cities.
• On 19 May, the Special Envoy participated in a ‘High-Level Panel on Saving Lives on the Roads Through Safe Speeds’ hosted by the World Bank. The Special Envoy shared his views on how the COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the world’s mobility sector as well as the role of safe and sustainable mobility in COVID-19 recovery and the climate agenda. The live event had 1,757 viewers.
• On 19 May, the Special Envoy delivered an opening message during the Africa Continental Workshop organized by the African Union and the UN Economic Commission for Africa on overcoming the challenges of reducing road deaths by half in Africa for 2030. The meeting set the strategic priorities and road safety action plan for Africa for the next decade.
• On 20 May, the Special Envoy participated in the event, ‘Looking Ahead to Road Safety Action in 2030: the EU, Portugal and Africa,’ hosted by the European Commission, the European Transport Safety Council and Portugal’s National Authority for Road Safety. Mr. Todt delivered remarks on the important role that the EU plays in regions like Africa, to support the less developed countries transform their infrastructure and road safety culture.
• On 20 May, The Special Envoy delivered a video message for the inauguration workshop of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Alliance of NGOs for Road Safety. Mr. Todt encouraged participants to be involved and collaborate with government sectors on various regional initiatives including a post-2020 African Road Safety Action Plan, UN road safety conventions, an African Road Safety Charter and efforts to build a Regional Road Safety Observatory to improve data collection. A meeting outcome was to set strategic priorities in road safety for southern Africa.