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Why a UN Fund for Road Safety?

Every year, 1.35 million people die in road crashes - more than from AIDS and malaria combined. More than 50 million are seriously injured. The cost to society and the suffering of individuals and families are staggering. Most road crashes affect young people and more than 90 per cent take place in developing countries.

Yet, by putting in place a national system for road safety that includes setting and enforcing speed limits and preventing drunk driving, using helmets and safety belts, vehicle and infrastructure safety, post-crash care, and facilitating safer mobility environments, among other key elements, we can reduce and ultimately prevent death and serious injury in road crashes.

By preventing traffic-related injuries, millions of people can pursue productive lives, and in doing so, drive economic growth and build their communities.

Safe mobility is the biggest single "quick win" the world can achieve in reducing mortality in low- and middle-income countries and in reaching the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on health, cities and infrastructure, where road safety plays an important role.

Recognizing the importance of improving road safety, the UN General Assembly in April 2016 adopted resolution 70/260, requesting the Secretary-General to consider the possibility of establishing, from voluntary contributions, a road safety trust fund, to support the implementation of road safety-related SDGs.

Pursuant to this resolution, with the support of the Secretary-General, the United Nations Road Safety Fund (UNRSF) was established in 2018 as a UN Multi-Partner Trust Fund. The Fund was officially launched in UNHQ New York on 12 April 2018, in the presence of the UN Deputy Secretary-General, the Secretary-General's Special Envoy for Road Safety and representatives from UN agencies, Member States, private sector as well as other road safety stakeholders. 

>> Video: Save Lives with the UN Road Safety Fund

Who We Are 

The vision of the UN Road Safety Fund is to build a world where roads are safe for every road user, everywhere. All road users, regardless of where they live or what they earn, should be safe when they use the world's roads, whether they are working, or going to school, or using the roads for leisure. 

Its mission is to finance - and leverage further funding for - high-impact projects based on established and internationally recognized best practices that increase road safety and minimize and eventually eliminate road crash trauma for all road users. 

The Fund was created to finance actions in low- and middle-income countries to a) substantially reduce death and injuries from road crashes, and b) reduce economic losses resulting from these crashes.  

As a unique and multi-stakeholder financing instrument, the Fund gathers concerned UN organizations, governments, private sector, academia and civil society under one umbrella and for common purpose. By bringing together these actors for joint action the Fund also aims to unify and coordinate priorities for road safety efforts in low- and middle-income countries. 

The Fund seeks to use its funding in a catalytic way, leveraging its unique position as a UN fund to trigger further domestic and international investments, thus ensuring an impact far beyond its own grants. Together and over time, the projects financed by the Fund can help save millions of lives. 

Ensuring safer roads is an investment in a better future for all and everyone will benefit from contributing to the Fund. Already, the private sector has stepped in to become a major source of funding, and its commitment to financing the Fund is driving innovation in resource mobilization. 

What We Do 

Guided by its Global Framework Plan of Action for Road Safety the Fund finances projects in low- and middle-income countries that will have concrete institutional actions and that will assist countries in developing and addressing key gaps in their national road safety systems. Through this approach, national systems will be bolstered by international support to achieve results on the ground. 

The Global Framework is the basis for funding criteria and priorities for the Fund's activities. With its detailed action-oriented five pillars for road safety (road safety management, safe user, safe vehicle, safe road, and effective post-crash response) it serves as the benchmark for establishing functioning national road safety systems.

In line with the Global Framework, the Fund's ongoing projects focus on scaling up safe street designs, improving road traffic fatality data, enhancing legal frameworks for road safety, strengthening speed management, and capacity development in child responsive urban planning and sustainable urban transport.

Added Value of the UNRSF

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development recognizes that road safety is a prerequisite to ensuring prosperous lives, promoting well-being and making roads inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.

Relying on the convening power and technical expertise of UN organizations, the Fund can strengthen collaborative efforts in helping improve road safety across the globe by:

  • Gathering knowledge on different aspects of road safety in ongoing projects and initiatives through links with various UN organizations, governments, NGOs, private sector and academia;
  • Identifying gaps and linking priorities in order to achieve synergies and maximize impact;
  • Ensuring complementarity and avoiding duplication of global road safety initiatives;
  • Coordinating priorities for road safety efforts under a comprehensive framework plan;
  • Enhancing partnerships by bringing together all major stakeholders;
  • Leveraging financing support and pooling resources;
  • Ensuring oversight and accountability.