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18 April 2024

UN Road Safety Fund a step in right direction


The launching by the United Nations of a trust fund to spur action that could save lives and prevent the loss of opportunity associated with road accidents is a timely and sensible step, a UAE newspaper has said, commenting on the UN Road Safety Fund.

"Some 1.3 million drivers, passengers and pedestrians die each year on the world’s roads, and this is a shocking figure," said The Gulf Today in an editorial on Sunday.

It added, "According to the UN Economic Commission for Europe, the Organisation’s development arm in the continent, which is also the secretariat for the Trust Fund, every US$1,500 contributed to the Fund could save one life; prevent 10 serious injuries; and leverage $51,000 towards investments in road safety."

The Sharjah-based daily explained, "The UN Sustainable Development Goals seek to halve the number of global deaths and injuries from road traffic accidents and to provide access to safe, affordable and sustainable transport systems as well as improve road safety for all. That’s certainly a noble goal.

"As UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed points out, the world has a chance to save the precious lives of millions of people and to prevent injuries and loss of opportunity associated with road accidents through such a programme.

"Interestingly, the Trust Fund will support efforts along the five pillars of the Global Plan for the Decade of Action for Road Safety, which include strengthened road safety management capacities; improved safety of road infrastructure and broader transport networks; enhanced safety of vehicles; improved behaviour of road users; and improved post-crash care."

"It is sad that road safety receives 1,000 times less than other causes with a similar fatality rate like AIDS, tuberculosis or malaria," noted the editorial comment, adding,"UN officials have rightly suggested that vehicle safety regulations should ensure that all new motor vehicles meet applicable minimum regulations for the protection of occupants and other road users, with seat belts, airbags and active safety systems fitted as standard equipment."

In conclusion, the paper said, "There is a need for greater efforts to reduce road traffic deaths worldwide. Stakeholders should step up efforts to achieve global road safety targets."