United Nations, New York, USA, April 12 2018 – Jean Todt (C), UN Special Envoy for Road Safety and President of the Federation Internationale de lAutomobile (FIA), Stephane Dujarric (left), Spokesman for the Secretary-General and Olga Algayerova, United Nations Economic Commission for Europe addresses a press conference on the establishment of a Road Safety trust fund today at the UN Headquarters in New York City.
Photo: Luiz Rampelotto/EuropaNewswire
by Kurt Wheelock
The president of the International Automobile Federation (FIA) Jean Todt on April 12 at the United Nations announced and praised the launch of the UN Road Safety Trust Fund, to help countries make their roads less dangerous.
The UN Economic Commission for Europe, working with the Trust Fund, estimates that every $1,500 contributed to the Road Safety Trust Fund could save one life, prevent ten serious injuries, and leverage $51,000 in road safety investment.
Todt as the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Road Safety said in launching the Fund, “I strongly welcome the establishment of the United Nations Road Safety Trust Fund, which has the potential to galvanize our global efforts to address the road safety situation, building on the progress made and experience gained over the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020. I call on the support of all partners in mobilizing the resources necessary to reduce the number of fatalities on the world’s roads.”
The French energy company Total quickly announced that as a founding member it will contribute $1 million — which, according to UNECE’s calculations could save some 667 lives. Total’s CEO Patrick Pouyanné said, “Safety is one of the Group’s values, and prevention of road traffic accidents is a priority commitment. Transportation is indeed a major part of Total’s operations, which has given us extensive expertise in road safety and prevention. Through today’s commitment, we are expressing, alongside the others who will join us, our belief that accidents do not have to happen. Awareness, education and improving standards are the keys to change. The United Nations Road Safety Fund is a response to this challenge that concerns all human beings all over the world.”
An estimated 1.25 million people are killed every year in road traffic crashes, and up to 50 million more are injured, often seriously.
The UN General Assembly in April 2016 adopted resolution 70/260, which requested the Secretary-General “to consider the possibility of establishing, from voluntary contributions, a Road Safety Trust Fund, to support the implementation of the Global Plan for the Decade of Action and the road safety-related Sustainable Development Goals, as appropriate, and to report thereon to Member States.”
UNECE Executive Secretary Olga Algayerova said, “The United Nations Road Safety Trust Fund will serve as a catalyst for much-needed progress towards the road safety targets of the Sustainable Development Goals. UNECE is honoured to host the Secretariat of the Trust Fund, and, as home to both the United Nations road safety conventions and the Secretariat of the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Road Safety, is committed to working with all stakeholders to multiply the impact of global action to improve road safety.”
The Secretariat of the United Nations Road Safety Trust Fund will be hosted by UNECE, and the Administrative Agent is the United Nations Multi-Partner Trust Fund Office based at UNDP.
Lotte Brondum, Executive Director of the Global Alliance of NGOs for Road Safety, said that “the approval of the United Nations Road Safety Trust Fund represents an important milestone for the NGO community. We now have both the political will and a structure for financing our efforts. Momentum is with us, and it is our responsibility to grasp hold of it and scale up those activities that have been proved to be effective. We encourage NGOs to seek strong partnerships with key stakeholders and serve as agents of accountability.”
Saul Billingsley, Executive Director of the FIA Foundation, concluded that “the launch of this first ever United Nations Fund for global road safety is an important recognition that our collective efforts to tackle road safety must be scaled up. Governments have provided the mandate for action, but not yet the resources to deliver it. We urgently need a massive increase in funding, commensurate to the scale of the problem. With this $10 million pledge, the FIA Foundation is stepping up. Now we call on others to do the same!”