DHAKA, September 22, 2019 — The World Bank Vice President for the South Asia Region, Hartwig Schafer, and the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Envoy on Road Safety, Jean Todt will arrive in Bangladesh tomorrow to discuss the challenges and opportunities to improve road safety in the country.
During the two-day visit, they will meet the Honorable Finance Minister, Honorable Roads, Transport, and Bridges Minister, other senior government officials, and civil society representatives. Mr. Schafer and Mr. Todt will also participate in the “Road Safety for All” event in Dhaka on September 24, 2019, which is part of the South Asia Regional Program on Road Safety which includes Bangladesh.
“Road accidents are life-shattering experiences for families. Apart from the enormous human toll, road safety has a major economic impact; globally, annual crash-related costs are estimated at 2 to 5 percent of national Gross Domestic Product,” said Schafer. “I welcome this partnership between the United Nations and the World Bank in support of countries, like Bangladesh, to make traffic safer and help accelerate growth, reduce poverty and promote shared prosperity”.
Road safety is a global development challenge. Every year, 1.35 million people worldwide lose their lives while driving, cycling, or walking on the road and another 50 million are seriously injured. A recent World Bank study has shown that for South Asia as a whole, a 50 percent reduction in road deaths would generate an estimated gross benefit of about $1.2 trillion.
"Along with the World Bank, I look forward to a productive discussion with our partners in Bangladesh on the path for achieving the Sustainable Development Goal of significantly cutting the number of road fatalities over the coming years,” said Todt. “I call on Bangladesh to join and fully implement the key UN legal instruments on road safety, which can enable the country to address many major causes of road crashes.”
The World Bank and the United Nations are offering to countries a number of tools and support modalities to tackle road safety problems. This includes consideration in the upcoming call for proposals of the recently established UN Road Safety Fund, as well as technical support in the accession to the UN legal instruments related to road safety, administered by UNECE.
The World Bank was among the first development partners to support Bangladesh following its independence. Since then the World Bank has committed more than $30 billion in grants, interest-free and concessional credits to Bangladesh.