UN Launches Road Safety Trust Fund to Address Road Traffic Deaths

UNECEOn April 12, the United Nations released a statement announcing the launch of the United Nations Road Safety Trust Fund. The purpose of the fund is to bridge the gap of the mobilization of resources focused on decreasing the number of deaths and injuries related to traffic crashes.

“An estimated 1.25 million people are killed every year in road traffic crashes, and up to 50 million more are injured, often seriously,” said the UN statement released by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and a copy of which was sent to The Media Express.

The UN had a target of halving the number of road traffic deaths by 2020, which was defined by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This fund is meant to accelerate the progress in improving global road safety by addressing the gaps that limit effective action at all levels. The fund will use capital from governments, intergovernmental or non-governmental organizations, the private sector, philanthropic organizations and individuals.

“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,” said Jean Todt, the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Road Safety and President of the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA).

Bringing the stakeholders together is meant to increase the action on this issue and enhance the impact of those resources in addressing this issue. The fund dovetails with a resolution by the General Assembly in April 2016 to consider the creation of just such a fund.

Several international leaders in the realm of road safety weighed in and praised this action as a jumping off point to finance various efforts around the globe.

A disproportionate 93% of all road fatalities occur in low and middle-income countries, but these countries have less than half of the world’s vehicles. The growth of the global population, along with growing economies, has put pressure on governments to address challenges like road safety, but these countries often lack the resources.

3M announced that it would be a founding donor of the fund, with a $250,000 commitment.

“With 3M’s nearly 80-year history of contributing to safer roads, we know that it takes all stakeholders working together to address issues surrounding transportation and mobility, and to drive real and lasting improvement,” said John Riccardi, Vice President, 3M Transportation Safety Division. “Together, with the combined and collaborative efforts of government agencies, safety associations, and advocacy groups around the world, we strive to reduce traffic fatalities globally and help save lives.”

The Global Alliance of NGOs for Road Safety (the Alliance) issued a statement supporting the launch of the fund.

“Funding is our NGOs’ biggest worry and their greatest constraint. The UN Road Safety Trust Fund is a major milestone in our work to save lives on the world’s roads. The fund will facilitate more durable and productive partnerships…and it will make scaling up national and local road safety interventions more feasible,” said Lotte Brondum, Executive Director of the Alliance. “We encourage NGOs to seek strong partnerships with key stakeholders and serve as agents of accountability.”

The hope is that with the announcement of this fund, other organizations will contribute and that capital can be used to address road safety in countries that desperately need the assistance.

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