UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Road Safety is in South-East Asia to advocate for safe mobility for all

Friday, 25/11/2022 17:09
(CPV) - The goal of the mission of the Special Envoy, Mr. Jean Todt, is to advocate for more investment in safe and sustainable mobility in one of the regions most affected in the world by road crashes: South-East Asia.

The Special Envoy will meet with Ministers as well as private sector, public sector and NGO stakeholders in Thailand (21-23 Nov.), Cambodia  (24-26 Nov.) and Viet Nam (27-29 Nov.) to advocate for the effective implementation of the Global Plan for the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2021-2030 with the aim of halving the number of victims on the road by 2030. The Special Envoy will also address governments and relevant partners at high-level events during these dates.

Mr. Jean Todt, UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Road Safety. (Photo: Internet)

Road crashes are the leading cause of the fatalities and injuries in South-East Asia. With 1.3 million people killed on the road every year worldwide, road crashes rank as the first cause of death in young people aged five to 29, while more than 90% of road fatalities occur in low- and middle-income countries.

Fifty-eight per cent of the global road deaths occur in the Asia-Pacific region. According to The World Health Organization (WHO 2018),Thailand and Viet Nam are the most vulnerable countries in the region with a fatality rate of 32.2 and 26.4 per 100,000 population, respectively, while in the European Union, the fatality rate is 5.4 per 100,000 population. Particular attention should be paid to motorized two-wheelers which represent 40 % of crash fatalities in South Asia (WB 2022). Moreover, Thailand reports the highest rate of motorcycle-related deaths in the world (WHO 2021). It is therefore urgent to implement proven solutions than can save lives such as wearing a certified quality helmet which could reduce the risk of fatality by 42% and injuries by 69% (WB 2022).

If road traffic death figures in the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) region in 2019 showed an 11 per cent decrease from 2016, efforts still need to be made, combining policy, enforcement and education targeting the most vulnerable on the road.

"In addition to the tragic loss of loved ones, road crashes draw the most vulnerable into a vicious cycle of poverty, from medical costs, material damage, loss of the economic capacity and mobilization of resources", highlights the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Road Safety, Mr. Jean Todt. According to a World Bank report on private investment (WB 2022), road fatalities cost economies $1.7 trillion dollars per year, and from three to five percent of GDP.

According to the World Bank (WB 2016), the cost of road crashes represents 8.9% of GDP in Vietnam, while it costs 5.9% of Cambodia’s GDP (WB 2016).  A 2017 study by the World Bank (2017) reports that if Thailand cuts road traffic mortality rates by 50% over a period of 24 years, it could generate additional income equivalent to 22.2% of GDP. This shows us how investing in road safety matters.

The Special Envoy will start his mission in Bangkok to speak at the opening session of International Transport Forum's first-ever Regional High-Level Dialogue for Asia and at the seventh session of the Committee on Transport organized by the Transport Division of ESCAP, where he will address governments for the endorsement of the Regional Action Programme for Sustainable Transport Development in Asia and the Pacific (2022–2026). 

In Phnom Penh, the Special Envoy will meet government officials and participate in the Achievement Dissemination Workshop on an  Eco-Safe Driver Training Program, organized by the non-profit AIP Foundation, supported by the Deutsche Gesellschaft fϋr Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and the VF Corporation.

The Special Envoy will end in Hanoi where he will meet high-level Government representatives, stakeholders as well as visit a school and a helmet factory./.

Khac Kien