The World Health Organisation (WHO) recently released a declaration called Time for Results recommending focusing more on road safety as a key measure towards the realization of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.
The declaration was developed during the Second Global High-Level Conference on Road Safety in Brasilia, Brazil and was based largely on the expertise of WRI Ross Centre for Sustainable Cities on the connection between sustainable mobility and road safety.
Crude road safety statistics also provided a partial basis for the development of the WHO declaration. As it stands right now, more than 1.25 million people worldwide lose their lives in road crashes, most of which are preventable. Of this, more than 20 percent are children aged 18 and below, earning road traffic fatalities a place at the top there with HIV/AIDS and tropical diseases as one of the deadliest culprits behind untimely deaths.
So here’s how road safety and sustainable development are connected. Firstly, as we you can see, children below the age of 20 are the most affected by road traffic related accidents. The world, according to the UN Global Safety Collaboration committee, is thus losing a significant proportion of a future adult generation that is supposed to play a role in the implementation of the agenda’s goals and targets. The committee believes that if something could be done to reduce the number of lives of children on the threshold of adulthood that the world loses every day, attainment of SDGs and their targets would be even more realistic and likely.
WRI Ross Centre for Sustainable Cities, which is part of the United Nations Global Road Safety Collaboration, recommends that cities – the biggest venues for traffic fatalities – be improved by adapting ‘stricter’ street designs. “We encourage cities and countries to embrace comprehensive safety policies that heighten the role of public transport, walking and cycling. These policies can make the city safer for all, especially children, the elderly and those with disabilities,” read a statement from WRI Ross Centre’s director, Health and Road Safety.
Specifically in support of Sustainable Development Goals 3 and 11, world leaders during the September global summit in New York discussed road safety and committed to ensuring that highly populated cities across the world get an improved public transport system. This was done with nothing else but the sheer safety of pedestrians, cyclists and motorists in mind. But now that there is one more reason to consider improving the safety of our roads, particularly in large cities, SDGs 3 and 11 should categorically be moved steps up the priority list.