For the first time in South Africa, the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), in collaboration with eThekwini Municipal Academy, the International Training Centre for Authorities and Leaders in Durban (CIFAL Durban) and AB InBev, hosted the two-day “Road Safety Africa Conference” in Johannesburg.
According to United Nations statistics, 1.25 million people die on the world’s roads each year, and up to 50 million are left injured or disabled. In Africa, the estimated road traffic fatality rate is the highest in the world at 26.6 per 100,000 population. Half of all road traffic deaths in the region occur among vulnerable road users, including cyclists, motorcyclists and pedestrians. In fact, according to World Health Organization statistics, the African region has the highest proportion of pedestrian deaths (39 percent).
These road traffic–related deaths and injuries have unparalleled health and socioeconomic implications on society, particularly in areas with such high rates of death and injury. Given this, United Nations member states have set the goal of reducing road traffic deaths and injuries by 50 percent by the year 2020 as part of the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development.
In this context, UNITAR, alongside private- and public-sector partners, has committed to strengthening government officials’ and key stakeholders’ capacities to improve road safety through concrete measures.
At the “Road Safety Africa Conference,” senior government authorities, private sector executives, academics, international organizations’ representatives, road safety experts and civil society leaders gathered to exchange knowledge and best practices to improve road safety, leading to collaboration on and implementation of targeted interventions in the African region. The event also sought to empower government officials by providing them with the technical know-how and management skills to implement interventions that improve road safety, as well as mobilize stakeholders from different sectors to support road safety interventions in the region.
To support these goals, UNITAR introduced the “Network of Universities on Road Safety” initiative during the Conference. This project aims to provide a platform to promote research into road safety and exchange best practices while contributing to the development of policy proposals and road safety strategies. UNITAR’s objective is to leverage this Network’s academic expertise to assist government officials in developing multi-stakeholder strategies and interventions in support of road safety.
The Network will meet regularly to review ongoing work, provide key insights on how academic institutions are contributing to road safety and highlight the impact this network has on providing practical solutions to addressing current challenges.
During the Road Safety Africa Conference, representatives Estrella Merlos from UNITAR and Catalina Garcia, Vice President of Corporate Affairs; Zoleka Lisa, Director of Corporate Affairs; Pamela Nkuna, Harm Reduction Manager; and Antonio Totaro, Director of City Pilots from AB InBev worked alongside Thandi Moya, Director of Road Safety Programs for the South African National Department of Transport, and David Tembe, Chief of Police of the Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department, among other important stakeholders, to introduce key pillars of the Partnership for Action on Road Safety and its local applications in Africa.
The Road Safety Learning and Partnership Platform is a global collaborative initiative that aims to support countries in designing and implementing systematic, recurrent and result-oriented road safety learning. This platform gathers materials, trainings and case studies to support countries in the development and implementation of road safety interventions. The platform is available at: www.un-roadsafety-learn.org.
The Conference concluded with a meeting of the Global City Pilot Steering Committee,where participants reviewed the initiative’s progress, defined next steps to implement targeted interventions and discussed impact-oriented road safety solutions.
UNITAR – AB InBev Partnership
The alliance between UNITAR and AB InBev, through the Partnership for Action on Road Safety, seeks to educate and inform on the importance of road safety. It also facilitates the exchange of experiences and best practices that result in a long-term collaboration within different factors in society, to generate concrete measures that contribute to improving the mobility and road safety at a global level, and ultimately, save lives.
The partnership’s key objectives are: contribute to the advancement of Global Road Safety Performance Targets, mobilize stakeholders in support of road safety initiatives, facilitate knowledge and experience sharing, conduct innovative road safety intervention in cities with high road traffic death rates, and support and advise governments and other partners with knowledge-related services, as well as practical tools and solutions.
The alliance also seeks to develop projects on road safety that incentivize taking measures that reduce the various risk factors, such as exceeding the speed limit and irresponsible driving, as well as the design of the vehicles and the road infrastructure. The initiative intends to socialize this methodology of road safety with governments around the world and support them in the design and implementation of local solutions.