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Ambitious road deaths cutting target gets nod

THE 3rd Global Ministerial Conference on Road Safety on Wednesday adopted a landmark declaration that among other resolutions, calls upon countries to ensure a 50 per cent reduction of road traffic deaths over the next ten years.

The document, dubbed Stockholm Declaration, called on member states to address road fatalities in line with the United Nations pledge to continue action on the road safety related SDG targets, including 3.6 after 2020.

Governments around the world are also implored to set targets to reduce fatalities and serious injuries, in line with the UN commitment made during HighLevel Political Forum on Sustainable Development last year, for all groups of road users and especially vulnerable road users such as pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists and users of public transport.

“We reaffirm our commitment to the full implementation of the 2030 Agenda, recognizing the synergies between the SDG policy areas, as well as the need to work in an integrated manner for mutual benefits,” read the Declaration presented by the Swedish Minister for Infrastructure Mr Tomas Eneroth.

The ministers recognized that SDG target 3.6 would not be met by 2020, arguing that significant progress could only be achieved through stronger national leadership, global cooperation, implementation of evidence-based strategies and engagement with all relevant actors including the private sector.

They also resolved to address the connections between road safety, mental and physical health, development, education, equity, gender equality, sustainable cities, environment and climate change.

“We resolve to address social determinants of safety and the interdependence between the different SDGs, recalling that the SDGs and targets are integrated and indivisible,” Mr Eneroth informed the over 1700 participants, from 140 countries.

The adopted declaration on the other hand, calls upon member states and the international community to address the unacceptable burden of road traffic injury on children and young people as a priority, increasing political commitment, by ensuring that the Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health delivers necessary action on road safety.

It also underscored the need for strong political commitment and responsibility at the highest level while calling for the establishment of regional, national and sub-national strategies and action plans for road safety.

With the new declaration, member states are supposed to commit contributions from different governmental agencies as well as multi-sectoral partnerships to deliver the scale of efforts required at regional, national and sub-national levels in order to achieve SDG targets, and importantly make the strategies and efforts transparent and public.

“We encourage member states that have not yet done so to consider becoming contracting parties to the UN legal instruments on road safety as well as applying, implementing and promoting their provisions or safety regulations and ensure that legislation and standards for road design and construction, vehicles, and road use are consistent with safe system principles are enforced,” said the Swedish minister.

Another intervention towards curbing crashes will be to include road safety and a safe system approach as an integral element of land use, street design, transport system planning and governance, especially for vulnerable road users and in urban areas.

This will be achieved by strengthening institutional capacity with regard to road safety laws and law enforcement, vehicle safety, infrastructure improvements, public transport, post-crash care and data, resolved the ministers.

Countries are also urged to speed up the shift toward safer, cleaner, more energy efficient and affordable modes of transport and promote higher levels of physical activity such as walking and cycling as well as integrating these modes with the use of public transport to achieve sustainability.

With post-crash response cited a huge setback towards reduction of road deaths, the Stockholm Declaration emphasizes on timely access to high quality emergency and longterm health care services for the injured.

“We recognize that an effective post-crash response includes also mental, social and legal support for victims, survivours and families,” noted Mr Eneroth, adding that countries need to put more focus on speed management as a way of addressing road crashes.

“This includes the strengthening of law enforcement to prevent speeding and mandate a maximum road travel speed of 30 km/h in areas where vulnerable road users and vehicles mix in a frequent and planned manner, except where strong evidence exists that higher speeds are safe.”

“Efforts to reduce speed in general will have a beneficial impact on air quality and climate change as well as being vital to reduce road traffic deaths and injuries,” he noted.

It was further resolved that all vehicles produced and sold for every market by 2030 should be equipped with appropriate levels of safety performance, and that incentives for use of vehicles with enhanced safety performance are provided where possible.

The declaration called for road infrastructure improvements and investments to observe an integrated road safety approach and minimum safety performance standards for all road users.

MASSIVE investments in road infrastructure ...

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Author: ABDALLAH MSUYA in Sweden

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