ADDIS ABABA, August 22 (Xinhua) – The Economic Commission for Africa of the United Nations (ECA) said on Wednesday that the African continent is most affected by the challenges attributed to road safety, as it is estimated that more than 300,000 people die as a result of traffic accidents. year.
When the European Court of Auditors became acquainted with the African region with only 2 percent of the registered vehicles in the world, it revealed that a disproportionate 16 percent of road deaths in the world took place in the region.
According to the ECA, the death of road accidents is estimated to be the fifth-leading cause of death of people aged 5 to 44 worldwide, including the African continent.
Vera Songwe, executive secretary of the European Court of Auditors, emphasized that safety must be "built into" infrastructure investments, because this is much less expensive than retrofitting roads afterwards in order to be safer.
The ECA, in cooperation with other UN agencies, has also brought together more than 100 participants representing almost 20 African Ministries of Infrastructure and Transport, National Road Safety Authorities and Councils, African subregional and regional organizations, international organizations, academic and research institutions. and the private sector mainly to share experience in improving road safety, with particular emphasis on urban mobility.
The workshop underlined the links between the growing urbanization and the expected increase in the number of fatalities in the region, according to the ECA.
According to the ECA, more than half of the 1.3 million road deaths worldwide occur annually in urban areas.
"In the urban environment it is crucial to tackle the safety of vulnerable road users, such as pedestrians, cyclists, children and motorcyclists," stressed the ECA.
The quality of the road infrastructure, the level of law enforcement, the safety of vehicles, the behavior of road users and post-crash care are among the problems that affect the road safety situation in Africa and beyond.
Better integration of safe urban mobility within existing road safety frameworks and integration of road safety in city planning and infrastructure development processes are also mentioned as the main goals of the meeting as part of the UN initiative.
Experts and policy makers are expected to primarily share good practices, evidence-based solutions, progress and challenges, taking into account UN road transport and road safety related legal instruments, to support the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The ECA also stressed the need to cooperate between UN agencies – the secretariat of the UN Security Secretary General's Special Envoy, the UN Economic Commission for Europe, the Transport Transport Program ( SSATP) and the UN Human Resource Program (UN-Habitat) – to work with African governments to address the challenge of road safety and urban mobility was noted.
Reducing road deaths is a specific objective of the global SDGs 3 aiming to improve health and well-being and improve access to safe transport systems, while Objective 11 seeks to ensure inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable cities. to ensure.