Deaths from traffic accidents are estimated to be the fourth leading cause of death for people aged 5 to 44 years.
Sharing experiences to improve road safety, more than 100 participants representing nearly 20 African Infrastructure / Transport ministries, National Road Safety Authorities and Councils, African subregional and regional organizations, international organizations, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), academic and research institutions and the private sector follow a two-day workshop on road safety and urban mobility in Accra, Ghana.
The workshop was inspired by the special envoy of the UN Secretary-General for Road Safety, Mr Jean Todt, and the former Secretary-General of the UN, Mr Kofi Annan, who wished to attend the meeting before his sudden illness led him to cancel his trip to Ghana. The meeting on Monday began with a moment of silence with respect for Mr. Annan and in sympathy with his family in his recent death.
"I shared the fate of this great continent with regard to road safety with him and he was, as expected, ready to make a difference … I am honored to continue his legacy through the results of this workshop and in our ongoing efforts to improve road safety in its country and region ", said Mr. Todt about the wish of Mr. Kofi Annan to end the number of traffic fatalities in Africa.
The workshop underlined the links between growing urbanization and the expected increase in the number of fatalities in the region. It was opened by Mr. Todt, Ghana & # 39; s Minister of Transport, Hon. Kwaku Ofori Asiamah, and the Country Director of the World Bank, Mr. Henry Kerali.
Mr Todt was appointed special road safety officer in 2015 and is also the chairman of the International Automobile Federation (FIA).
Participants in the workshop assess how urban mobility can be better integrated within existing road safety frameworks and how road safety can be integrated into the urban planning and infrastructure development process.
They share good practices, evidence-based solutions, progress and challenges, taking into account UN road traffic and road safety-related legal instruments, to support the achievement of SDG objectives 11.2 and 3.6.
Of the 1.3 million road deaths worldwide each year, more than half are responsible in urban areas. Deaths from traffic accidents are regarded worldwide as the fourth leading cause of death for people aged 5 to 44 years.
There are a number of problems that affect the road safety situation in a country, including the quality of the road infrastructure, the level of law enforcement, vehicle safety, road user behavior and post crash crash. In the urban environment, it is crucial to address the safety of vulnerable road users, such as pedestrians, cyclists, children and motorcyclists.
According to Hon. Ofori Asiamah, "[road safety] shortcomings suppress the socio-economic benefits we have gained from investments in the provision of infrastructure and services for urban transport ".
Ms Vera Songwe, executive secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Africa, Addis Ababa, stressed that safety must be "built into" infrastructure investments, because this is much less expensive than retrofitting roads afterwards to be safer.
In addition to the physical infrastructure, the UN Resident Coordinator for Ghana, Mrs Christine Evans-Klock, stressed the need to improve coordination between government agencies, reduce corruption and maintain existing safety regulations and traffic laws.
She also suggested that the main sign of respect of the regional workshop would be to the former Secretary-General of the UN: "the seriousness with which we address this issue of life-and-death and the obligations we follow for road safety and urban improve safety. "
The regional workshop, organized by the Government of Ghana, is designed to support governments in fulfilling their commitments to implement the sustainable development goals. Reducing road deaths is a specific objective under Objective 3 to improve health and well-being, and improving access to safe transport systems is a specific objective under Objective 11 to ensure inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable cities.
As partners of the workshop, the secretariat of the special envoy of the United Nations Secretary General for Road Safety, the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, the Africa Policy for Transport Policy ( SSATP) and the United Nations Settlements Program (UN-Habitat) will continue to work with African governments to meet the challenge of road safety and urban mobility.