Entitled “A Partnership for Safer Journeys”, the United Nations Road Safety Strategy is based on a safe-system approach that manages the interaction between speed, vehicles, road infrastructure and road-user behaviour to prevent crashes from resulting in deaths and serious human injury. “In line with the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020, established by the General Assembly, this strategy guides United Nations organizations in developing a new approach towards safer journeys,” says United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres.
Road traffic crashes are a leading cause of death and serious injury for United Nations personnel, according to the 2018 Secretary-General’s report on safety and security of humanitarian personnel and protection of United Nations personnel. In the five-year period from 2013 to 2017, the United Nations experienced over 600 fatalities and injuries related to road crashes of United Nations vehicles. Sixty of those resulted in the loss of United Nations personnel.
“This strategy is a game changer because it’s the first time we’ve been able to bring a coordinated approach to road safety across the United Nations,” said Peter Drennan, Under-Secretary-General for Safety and Security. “In the most simple terms, it gives us the opportunity to save lives by preventing crashes from happening.”
Thousands of United Nations personnel around the world, operate in dangerous and often treacherous conditions. The risks they face on the roads every day – both to themselves and to members of the public – are the impetus behind the introduction of the first United Nations-wide Road Safety Strategy.
“Two years ago, I was transporting three UNICEF colleagues to a Syrian refugee camp. We nearly died in a road crash that day, along with 60 other people on a bus with which we nearly collided. It was a terrifying experience. I am confident that my driver training is the reason we’re alive today,” said Elias Mizyed, a driver with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)-Jordan who will give a personal testimony at the launch event in New York.
More than 15 senior United Nations leaders will participate in the launch, in New York, Geneva or through video statements. Chef-de-Cabinet Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti, representing the Secretary-General; the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Road Safety, Jean Todt; Michelle Yeoh, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Goodwill Ambassador; UPS Foundation; and the City of New York will be among special guests of the New York event, organized in collaboration with the FIA Foundation. Interactive and innovative road safety activities will be offered to all United Nations staff in the staff lobby during the day.
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