Last week, 3 December, the United Nations held and broadcasted the General Assembly of the High-level meeting on Global Road Safety – an interactive multi-stakeholder hearing. The hearing gathered representatives of Member States, observers of the General Assembly, parliamentarians, and other sectors to discuss the road safety agenda for the new Decade. Laura Daniela Gomez (Colombia), Youth Leadership Board of the Coalition joined the hearing under the multi-sectoral panel with representatives from other civil societies.
The UN General Assembly: High-Level Meeting on Road Safety
The hearing was held in New York City, in the United Nations headquarters as a supporting event to the High-Level Meeting on global road safety happening next year, 2022, from June 30 to July 1.
This year's high-level meeting is themed "'The 2030 horizon for road safety: securing a decade of action and delivery" where a political decision for road safety is expected as the result. The high-level meeting aims to address gaps and challenges, mobilize political leadership, promote multi-sectoral and multi-stakeholder collaboration, and assess the progress made in attaining the objectives of the road safety-related SDG targets.
To prepare, an initial hearing was held. During this hearing, different stakeholders talked about prioritizing financing and multi-stakeholder engagement for ensuring safer roads around the world by implementing these strategies on a ground level.
The session was kicked off by United Nations General Assembly President, Abdulla Shahid where it was emphasized that there is still “much to do” to stop road-related deaths and injuries on a global scale. “90% of road deaths are recorded from low and middle-income countries. The realization of global targets & related #SDGs will require increased support to these countries,” he said.
Word Health Organization (WHO) Director-General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, agreed with the statement and called on governments to develop national road safety plans with targets and funding, drawing inspiration from Global Plan for the new Decade of Action for Road Safety 2021-2030.
“Each and every day, thousands of families, like mine. are plunged into tragedy due to road crashes On behalf of these families I implore you to take action: use the Global plan of action, implement the solutions to make your streets safe.” - Zoleka Mandela, Child Health Initiative
WHO Director of the Social Determinants of Health, Dr. Etienne Krug, emphasized the urgency in which Member States and all stakeholders should address road crashes. Echoing the message of Dr. Tedros, Dr. Krug urged leaders to implement the Plans and commitments made during the hearing to achieve a 50% reduction of road-related deaths and injuries by the end of the Decade. He also invited the attendees to attend and participate in the upcoming High-Level meeting on road safety at the most senior level.
Following messages from the high-level dignitaries, the hearing facilitated a panel between different sectors where the representatives gave concrete road safety actions implemented within their sectors. Each was also asked to give one specific point that they want to be included and prioritized during the high-level meeting.
The panel included; Executive Director of Global Alliance for NGOs - Lotte Brondum, President of Toward Zero Foundation - David Ward, Senior Associate Dean of George Washington University - Adhnan Hyder, Executive Vice president and Sustainability Officer of Autoliv - Per Ericson, Representative of Asociación Madres del Dolor - Viviam Perrone, and Youth Leadership Board Member of the Global Youth Coalition for Road Safety - Laura Daniela Gomez.
The panel discussed concrete road safety initiatives being implemented by their respective sectors as well as highlighting specific points each wants to see discussed and prioritized within the agenda of the High-Level Meeting on Road Safety happening next year.
From the academe to the private sector, the panel emphasized the importance of equally engaging with all stakeholders and the general society in order to create and implement solutions that are not only effective on a global scale but are also efficiently utilized by all countries at the ground level.
During her intervention, Daniela talked about the need to look for more alternative solutions to addressing the issues around safety and mobility. Noting the importance of meaningfully engaging with young people, Daniela said, “If we want to get different results in road fatalities, we need to do things differently. We want to create new alternatives to save lives – we need to involve new people like young people. If you want to prevent young people from being the most affected, you - the ones who are here today - you have to involve us in the design and implementation of solutions”.
More about the High-Level Meeting on Road Safety