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Background

Every year, an estimated 1.3 million people are killed and up to 50 million injured in road traffic accidents. This makes poor road safety one of the most pressing social and economic issues of our time. Beyond human suffering, road traffic deaths and injuries impose significant economic and financial losses to individuals and to societies. It is estimated they create a $1.85 trillion burden on the global economy each year. United Nations Member States acknowledged the importance of improving road safety by declaring the years 2011-2020 as the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020. Furthermore, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development include two road safety targets (3.6 and 11.2) in the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Despite some measured progress in recent years, the world is still far from achieving these global targets. Moreover, road safety has not been adequately funded at the national, regional or global levels. Without significant and adequately funded actions in all regions of the world, we cannot anticipate changes in the number of road crash fatalities and injuries.

In recognition of the challenges, the General Assembly in April 2016 adopted resolution 70/260, which requested the Secretary-General “to consider the possibility of establishing, from voluntary contributions, a Road Safety Trust Fund, to support the implementation of the Global Plan for the Decade of Action and the road safety-related Sustainable Development Goals.” Pursuant to this resolution, with the support of the United Nations Secretary-General, the United Nations Road Safety Trust Fund was established.

Programme and Scope

Activities supported by the Trust Fund are expected to contribute to two major outcomes, assisting UN Member states to (a) substantially curb the number of fatalities and injuries from road traffic crashes, as well as (b) reduce economic losses resulting from these crashes. Building on the best practices and expertise developed through the Decade of Action for Road Safety, the Trust Fund will focus on supporting concrete institutional actions that link to achieving the road safety-related SDG targets and align with the five “pillars” of the Decade’s Global Plan:

  • Strengthened road safety management capacities
  • Improved safety of road infrastructure and broader transport networks
  • Enhanced safety of vehicles
  • Improved behaviour of road users
  • Improved post-crash care

The Fund will apply a holistic and integrated approach by recognizing the Safe Systems principles, will promote cost-efficient approaches, and will help to catalyse the transformation of mobility and transport.

Added Value

The partners opted for establishing a United Nations Multi-Partner Trust Fund in order to:

  • Leverage the wide reach and expertise of the United Nations (combining national, regional and international experience);
  • Enhance coordination and coherence of global efforts by reducing the fragmentation of assistance, capitalizing on synergies and providing a platform for a wide partnership where strategic priorities can be identified and agreed jointly;
  • Drive transformative change by tackling key implementation challenges (addressing critical institutional gaps, ensuring efficiency through results-based management);
  • Ensure the highest degree of transparency and good governance.

Governance Structure

The governance structure of the UN Road Safety Trust Fund is composed of an Advisory Board, a Steering Committee, a Secretariat and an Administrative Agent.


The Advisory Board provides strategic direction to the Trust Fund, including advice on criteria for proposals, monitoring and evaluation, on priorities for funding projects, on the organizational structure and consultations. The broad membership of the Board ensures that the strategic guidance provided to the Steering Committee reflects a large consensus among the stakeholders. The World Bank, as the host of the Global Road Safety Facility is a member of the Advisory Board to contribute to improved coordination and coherence.


The Steering Committee has the direct oversight on the Trust Fund and the authority to make decisions such as the approval of projects for funding in line with the strategic direction provided by the Advisory Board. 

The Secretariat, hosted at the UNECE, provides logistical and operational support to the Advisory Board and the Steering Committee. It supports fund mobilization efforts, organizes calls for and appraisal of proposals; and monitors and reports on Trust Fund’s programmatic and operational performance to the Advisory Committee.


The UN Road Safety Trust Fund is administered by the UNDP Multi-Partner Trust Fund Office, acting as the Administrative Agent. The MPTF Office is a UN Facility which administers over 100 UN common funding instruments. It is responsible for Fund design and setup, the maintenance of the Trust Fund account, the receipt of donor contributions, the disbursement of funds and the provision of periodic consolidated reports.