World Bank and UN Partners Boost Action on Road Safety

April 17, 2012

New initiatives announced to help tackle 1.3 million yearly death toll

WASHINGTON, DC, April 17, 2012 ---The World Bank hosted the 15th UN Collaboration on Road Safety meeting in Washington, DC on April 16-17 aimed at strengthening efforts to support road safety action in the developing world ahead of a UN General Assembly debate on road safety on April 19.

As part of a growing international effort to help tackle the 1.3 million yearly death toll on the world’s roads, new initiatives were announced ranging from a road safety observatory for Latin America to the establishment of a road policing organization in Singapore.

“Road safety is a development issue that affects poor populations in developing countries disproportionately,” said Rachel Kyte, World Bank Vice President for Sustainable Development, in a video message at the opening session of the meeting.  “Currently, 1.3 million people are killed on the world’s roads each year and 90 percent of these deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries, with an economic cost that can exceed total overseas aid flowing in. The World Bank is committed to taking bold action on this agenda.”

The UN Collaboration partners reviewed progress on the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020, which aims to save 5 million lives and prevent 50 million serious injuries by helping countries around the world improve their road safety outcomes, for instance through better road safety management, safer vehicles and roads, and post-crash care.  The World Bank is supporting this effort through the Global Road Safety Facility, a donor-funded program that coordinates an  initiative between seven multilateral development banks (MDBs) looking to harmonize their approaches to country road safety interventions.

"The development banks can play a key role during the Decade of Action by ensuring that the safety of citizens is prioritized in loans for road building,” said Dr. Etienne Krug, Director, WHO Department for Violence and Injury Prevention and Disability.

The UN Collaboration meeting announced several new developments aimed at boosting the road safety capacity of low- and middle-income countries, including CAF (development bank of Latin America) joining the MDB Road Safety Initiative and the launch of a new road safety observatory for Latin American countries.

“CAF is pleased to be joining this Initiative. We work on providing safe and environmentally sound infrastructure to our clients, and road safety continues to be a problem that must be solved,” commented Mr. Antonio Juan Sosa, CAF Vice President of Infrastructure.

The Government of Singapore and the World Bank Global Road Safety Facility (GRSF) are also establishing a new International Road Policing Organization (RoadPol) Secretariat in Singapore.

"Road safety policing in the developing world needs greater support to achieve results in protecting citizens. I am confident that RoadPol will play an important role in promoting higher standards," said Mr. Anselm Lopez, Director, Ministry of Home Affairs, Singapore.

On April 18, the Global Road Safety Facility and Safe Kids Worldwide will host a discussion with civil society organizations to explore how they can become more involved in action and advocacy on road safety.  This meeting will be webcast live on the World Bank’s external website.

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