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Inj Prev 16:213 doi:10.1136/ip.2010.027839
  • WHO update

UN General Assembly calls for decade of action for road safety

  1. M Peden
  1. Correspondence to Dr M Peden, Department of Violence and Injury Prevention and Disability, 20 Avenue Appia, 1211 Geneva 27, Switzerland; pedenm{at}who.int

On 2 March 2010 governments around the world took the historic decision to increase action to address the road safety crisis over the next 10 years. The UN General Assembly resolution proclaiming a Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011–20 (A/RES/64/255)i was tabled by the government of the Russian Federation and co-sponsored by more than 90 countries.

This recent initiative comes on the heels of the First Global Ministerial Conference on Road Safety, hosted by the Russian Federation in November 2009. The ‘Moscow declaration’ii issued by ministers and senior officials from 150 countries underlines the importance of protecting all road users, in particular those who are most vulnerable such as pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists, as identified in the ‘Global status report on road safety’ issued by WHO in June 2009.1

Through the decade of action, Member States, with the support of the international community, commit to actions in areas such as developing and enforcing legislation on key risk factors: limiting speed; reducing drink-driving and increasing the use of seat-belts, child restraints and motorcycle helmets. Efforts will also be undertaken to improve emergency trauma care, upgrade road and vehicle safety standards, promote road safety education and enhance road safety management generally.

A draft plan for the decade, which has been prepared by WHO with support from members of the UN Road Safety Collaboration, is open to all stakeholders, including readers of Injury Prevention, for comments.iii The plan, which will guide the attainment of realistic but achievable targets around the world, encourages countries and organisations to implement activities in five pillars (see table 1), based on the recommendations of the ‘World report on road traffic injury prevention’.2

Table 1

Framework for a decade of action in road safety

The overall goal of the decade is to halt or reverse the increasing trend in road traffic fatalities around the world by increasing activities at the national level. This will be attained through:

  • setting an ambitious target for reduction of road fatalities by 2020;

  • strengthening the global architecture for road safety;

  • increasing the level of global funding to road safety and putting in place a global funding mechanism;

  • increasing human capacity within countries relating to road safety;

  • providing technical support to countries using successful experiences from others;

  • improving the quality of data collection at the national, regional and global levels;

  • monitoring progress on a number of predefined indicators at the national, regional and global levels, including both the public and private sectors.

Key partners in global road safety agree that the time is right for accelerated investment in road safety in low and middle-income countries. Major risk factors are understood, as are the effective countermeasures to address them. Collaborative structures are in place to bring together key international players, funders, civil society, and there is a World Bank funding mechanism to support accelerated investment and activity. These will be the keys to success of the decade of action. For more information please e-mail Dr Margie Peden on pedenm{at}who.int

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