The biannual Fifth Global Meeting of Nongovernmental Organizations Advocating for Road Safety and Road Victims took place in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The Honorable Dato’ Sri Liow Tiong Lai, Minister, Ministry of Transport Malaysia, officiated the Meeting’s opening on 5 April, followed by a press conference at the Sama-Sama Hotel.
The Global Meeting was organized by the Global Alliance of NGOs for Road Safety (the Alliance), and the Ministry of Transport, Malaysia, and hosted by the World Health Organization (WHO). More than 200 road safety NGOs and stakeholders from 70-plus countries renewed their commitment to enabling governments and communities to achieve the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goal to halve the number of global deaths and injuries from road traffic accidents by 2020.
The Global Meeting featured the kickoff event for the upcoming Fourth UN Global Road Safety Week in May. A speed bump was repainted by school children in the community of Selangor on 4 April as a symbol of the Week’s 2017 theme of speed prevention: #SlowDown.
During the four days of the Global Meeting, attendees participated in capacity building sessions, networking and sharing activities, and planning for advocacy events.
Opening of the 5th Global Meeting
The Honorable Dato’ Sri Liow Tiong Lai; Professor Wong, Director General, Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (MIROS); Dr. Etienne Krug, Director, Department for Management of Noncommunicable Diseases, Disability, Violence and Injury Prevention, WHO; Mr. Jean Todt, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Road Safety; Mr. Marc Shotten, Program Manager, Global Road Safety Facility (GRSF), World Bank; and Saul Billingsley, FIA Foundation, offered valuable presentations, focusing on the importance of coordination and partnerships to foster concrete results.
There is significant evidence that road safety measures, including speeding interventions and use of helmets, seat belts, and child restraints have a big impact on the survival rate of road traffic victims. However, these interventions are not universally implemented everywhere.
Alliance member NGOs are critical to tackling road carnage in multiple ways. They can activate communities to engage with the cause, identify local problems and speak up for the solutions. They can raise awareness by speaking out in the media and countering any local opposition to the implementation of road safety laws, policies and their enforcement, and provide valuable insights and information during government-led consultation processes, for example relating to road building or alternate sustainable mobility solutions. They also often provide support for road crash victims and knowledge-building programmes within institutions such as schools and companies.
Some of the delegates to the Fifth Global Meeting by Ali Zayerzadeh (Iranian Road Safety Pioneers).
The Global Meeting featured a prize-giving ceremony, including an award from FedEx to honor NGOs that exhibit commitment, engagement with the Alliance, and willingness to learn.
The Declaration of Malaysia was signed on the final day of the Global Meeting by all participants. The Declaration states the commitment of the road safety community to implementing practical, evidence-based measures to improve road safety and post-crash response and calls upon all other stakeholders to partner meaningfully in these efforts.
Lotte Brondum, Executive Director, Global Alliance of NGOs for Road Safety, said:
“People are dying on the roads. In some countries, for children to walk to school safely each day is a triumph of survival. We cannot stand aside and watch. We know the interventions that save lives. Last year the UN and its member states adopted a resolution to improve road safety. This resolution has strengthened our mandate. It gives Alliance members license to partner with their governments to implement the measures that work and to hold them to account. Ultimately, that means that more men, women, and children will return safely home every day”.
“The Alliance is the bridge between road safety NGOs and bilateral, and multilateral partners, such as WHO and the UN, both of whom we are fortunate to welcome as part of our Global Meeting program in Kuala Lumpur. We thank them and our sponsors: FedEx, the FIA Foundation, the Global Road Safety Facility, the Prudential Foundation, Dorel, Allianz and TM for enabling the Global Meeting to happen.”
Professor Wong, Director General, MIROS, said:
“The Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research is committed to evidence-based approaches to road safety. We share the Alliance’s view that road safety interventions should focus on the activities that have been proven to save the most lives. We welcome this opportunity to be a part of the Global Meeting of NGOs Advocating for Road Safety and Road Victims and to share our findings with the global road safety community.”
“The signing of the Malaysia Declaration demonstrates the importance of partnership between NGOs, governments, academia, corporations, and bi- and multilateral stakeholders to tackle the issue of road safety. For Malaysia, it is a strong sign that we take road safety seriously and that we are moving forward together.”
Dr. Etienne Krug, Director, Department for Management of Noncommunicable Diseases, Disability, Violence and Injury Prevention, WHO, said:
“Every day 3400 people die on the world’s roads. Urgent action is needed to implement well-known solutions like better laws and enforcement on speed, drinking and driving, helmets, seat-belts and child restraints, as well as improvements in roads, vehicles and post-crash response”, notes Dr. Krug. “NGOs have a crucial contribution to make, including by demanding more action by their governments. Through its convening power, the Global Alliance of NGOs for Road Safety helps to amplify the voices of NGOs, increasing the likelihood that they result in real change in countries.”
Mr. Jean Todt, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Road Safety:
“Too many people lose their life unnecessarily in road crashes daily. We urge governments to strengthen their strategies to protect road users, including implementing the United Nations Road Safety Conventions.”
“As the UN Secretary-General's Special Envoy for Road Safety, I’m committed to work with all key players to significantly reduce the number of road traffic fatalities in the coming years. The Global Meeting has been a great opportunity to discuss with NGOs on how we can accelerate and enhance our efforts in this task. I congratulate the Malaysian Government for their collaboration and commitment to making roads safer.”
Mr. Marc Shotten, Program Manager, Global Road Safety Facility, World Bank said:
“Civil society can play a critical role in helping create major public policy changes. Evidence based solutions in which communities have been a part of the design have proven to be very effective. Fundamentally, partnerships between governments, NGOs and the corporate sector can help achieve sustainable solutions. We are pleased that the Global Alliance is building bridges and creating synergy among partners to help meet the challenge laid out under the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal targets for road safety.”
Mr. Saul Billingsley, FIA Foundation’s Executive Director said:
“You can sense there is real momentum and commitment here to halve road deaths by 2020. Can we achieve it? Only if the governments that signed up to the SDG targets put their money where their mouth is. So NGOs have a vital role to play in holding leaders to account, and ensuring there is focus and real delivery on safe infrastructure, minimum vehicle standards, reducing speed and ensuring safe school journeys, and enforcing the laws we know can save lives: drink driving, motorbike helmets, seat belts.”
Mr. Shane O’Connor, FedEx Communications Advisor, said:
“At FedEx, our road safety initiatives connect people to the opportunity to be safe on the road and have walkable neighborhoods. We are proud to collaborate with the Alliance as part of our FedEx Cares commitment to invest $200 million in over 200 global communities by 2020. We congratulate all three award recipients for their efforts in road safety.”