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The United Nations Road Safety Trust Fund, launched in April 2018, takes an important step towards becoming operational, with the first meetings of its Advisory Board on 9 August and Steering Committee on 10 August taking place in Geneva.

The Trust Fund aims to catalyze efforts to address the critical global road safety situation by bridging the gaps in the mobilization of resources and ensuring the effective coordination of action at all levels.

Representatives from five Member States representing each of the United Nations Regions – Argentina, Lebanon, Nigeria, Russia, Sweden – have been appointed to the Fund’s Advisory Board, alongside UN, private sector donor, civil society and academic partners, enshrining the Fund’s broad partnership-based approach to improving road safety.

The Global Framework Plan of Action for Road Safety was introduced as a basis for funding criteria and priorities for Trust Fund activities. The Framework adopts the “safe system” approach, integrating the Decade of Action for Road Safety’s Pillars of safe users; safe vehicles; safe roads; and effective post-crash response, together with good management across these areas, as well as the United Nations global voluntary targets for road safety.

This Framework could guide the Trust Fund’s activities to assist low-and middle-income countries in developing and addressing key gaps in National Road Safety Systems. Through this approach, National Systems would be bolstered by international support to achieve results on the ground – including for countries’ accession to and application of the provisions of the UN road safety conventions and coordinated actions among United Nations agencies.

Participating in the Advisory Board’s first meeting, Nigerian Transport Minister Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi welcomed the Global Framework Plan of Action for Road Safety, stating “In Nigeria, we are working hard to improve the road safety situation, but major challenges remain to reduce its death toll and heavy economic burden, which stands at approximately 3% of GDP. We are confident that through the comprehensive approach introduced today, the United Nations Road Safety Trust Fund will help to address critical road safety challenges faced on the ground, in countries like Nigeria.”

Important contributions have been made since the launch of the Fund. Pirelli has recently joined the first donors (FIA Foundation, Total Corporate Foundation, 3M), bringing the amounts pledged to the Fund to 11.85 million USD to date. Further contributions from private and public-sector donors are expected over the coming months.

With the need to build on this initial momentum to urgently scale-up the resources required for effective action, fundraising was high on the agenda of the Fund’s Advisory Board, who in principle endorsed to a framework for a fundraising strategy and policy to leverage further resources including from the private sector, Member States and innovative financing mechanisms.

The UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Road Safety Jean Todt stated that “I warmly thank our partners on the road for leading the way with their generous contributions to the UN Road Safety Trust Fund. The commitments made so far are a vital first step in our efforts to address the global road safety situation and symbolize the opportunity we have to garner the support needed to help countries most affected. But much more is needed. I therefore call on all stakeholders, including across relevant industries such as the automotive and insurance industries, to step up to the challenge and play their part in addressing the critical funding gaps”.

“Transforming the global road safety situation, which represents 1.25 million deaths and an estimated economic cost of $1.85 trillion every year, urgently requires the strengthened involvement of a wide range of partners and the enhanced coordination of global efforts”, highlighted UNECE Executive Secretary Olga Algayerova. “Today, the United Nations Road Safety Trust Fund takes a significant step in this direction, bringing key stakeholders around the table and introducing the holistic Global Framework Plan of Action for Road Safety to guide its activities. As the organization hosting its Secretariat, we look forward to supporting the implementation of the Trust Fund’s actions moving forward”. 

The next meeting of the Trust Fund’s Advisory Board and Steering Committee will be held in Geneva on 21 and 22 November 2018 respectively.