Strengthening Road Safety for Sustainable Cities
UNITAR’s Road Safety Initiative 2017
Every year, nearly 1.3 million people die from road traffic injuries. According to the World Bank’s Global Road Safety Facility, road traffic incidents are the leading cause of death among youths, and the second leading cause among young adults. Road traffic incidents are also the ninth leading cause of death across all ages around the world.
These figures reflect a global need to improve road safety, an imperative reflected in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which includes among its targets the reduction of road traffic deaths and injuries by 50 percent by the year 2020 (SDG 3.6).
In line with this, UNITAR has launched a Road Safety Initiative with the theme of Strengthening Road Safety for Sustainable Cities, focusing particularly on low-income countries, least developed countries and small island developing states with high road traffic death rates.
The Road Safety Initiative has a two-pronged objective:
- To improve road user behavior through advocacy efforts and by increasing awareness of risk factors; and,
- To enhance the capacity of government agencies and municipal authorities to develop and implement road safety strategies and plans in line with SDG 3.6.
In 2017, UNITAR lined up a series of activities on road safety conducted across the globe, starting in February. Workshops were held in Lagos, Nigeria; Durban, South Africa; Jeju, South Korea; Bengalaru, India; and Curitiba, Brazil.
The UNITAR road show on road safety culminated in an international Multi-Stakeholder Conference on Strengthening Road Safety for Sustainable Cities in Manila held on 09-10 November 2017. The conference brought together 150 participants from UNITAR’s international partners, national government agencies and local government units, the private sector, industry associations, media, academe, and youth, among others, in order to discuss the issues, challenges and opportunities in strengthening road safety in the Philippines and the Asia-Pacific region.
The conference focused on three key themes: road safety legislation and regulation, road and transport infrastructure, and citizen responsibility and leadership in road safety. However, aside from spurring discussion of the experiences of Asia-Pacific nations with these themes, the conference also aimed to increase engagement among road safety stakeholders, especially with innovative technological industries and research institutions.
The ultimate goal of the conference was to produce a document which outlines the risk factors, interventions and best practices in road safety in the region.
The multi-stakeholder conference was co-organized by UNITAR, UP CIFAL Philippines, the University of the Philippines Center for Integrative and Development Studies, the UP National Center for Transportation Studies (NCTS), and the UP School of Urban and Regional Planning (SURP), with the support of Diageo.
UP CIFAL Philippines, NCTS and SURP also conducted advocacy campaigns on road safety, specifically targeting youth organizations, transport associations, and local government units.