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Located in South America, Ecuador is a developing middle income economy with the population of 16, 14 million people (World Bank). According to the WHO, Ecuador has strong laws addressing the three of the five risk factors: Speed-limit, child-seat, and seat-belt law. However, the drink-driving and helmet laws need to be improved. There are 3,174 road traffic fatalities reported by the WHO annually. Ecuador has signed but not ratified two of six UN Road Safety conventions and has not acceded to any. The lead road safety agency is National Control and Regulatory Agency of Land Transport, Transit and Road Safety.

In addition to highlight road safety during the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Development, Habitat III, which took place from 17 to 20 October, the Special Envoy met with government officials and road safety stakeholders during his stay in Ecuador.

Mr. Juan Carlos Cassinelli Cali, Minister of Foreign Exports

The Minister shared with the Special Envoy his long-term commitment to improving road safety, as his previous roles within the government has been in transport and road safety. The Minister also shared a new legislation that aims to regulate the quality of vehicles imported into the country. It is currently under review at UNECE and some recommendations for improvement may be communicated to the Ministry. The Special Envoy highlighted the opportunity for the country to be a leader regionally: the country is arguably small in size, has a good foundation for road safety, especially with the surveillance system in place, and has made progress over the years. The Special Envoy recommended accession to the UN Road Safety Conventions especially the vehicle regulations, as Ecuador has only signed but not ratified two of six road safety Conventions. The Special Envoy also informed the Minister of the 2017 Inland Transport Committee Meeting taking place in Geneva 21-24 February. The Minister agreed that Ecuador was in a position to take stronger measures to improve road safety. Minister Cali was interested in learning more of the UN Road Safety Conventions and attending the Inland Transport Committee meeting. 

Mr. Diego Zorilla, United Nations Resident Coordinator 

The Special Envoy met with the UN Resident Coordinator to follow up on last year’s meeting. The Resident Coordinator shared challenges in mobilizing the UN Country Team to conduct road safety activities as road safety is not included in the current United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) for the country. The Special Envoy encouraged the Coordinator to create an informal working group of relevant stakeholders to begin building the framework, interest and momentum for road safety work in the country.

Mr. Cesar Navas Vera, Coordinating Minister for Security 

The Special Envoy met with Minister Vera in the presence of the Director General of 911 Surveillance Centers, Mr. Cesar Andres Sandoval Vargas. The Minister explained that the statistical follow up of all road traffic crashes in Ecuador is under his direct supervision. The 911 centers (there are several throughout the country) dispatch all the emergency services to both rural and interurban roads in the country.  The 911 service in Ecuador is a highly technical operational network of centers meeting rigorous international standards. Minister Vera expressed great interest in promoting road safety within his Cabinet and in raising the issues to the President, starting both in the next cabinet meeting (October 21) as well as a special session on 911-related matters which the President will preside during the first week of November.  Ecuador will hold general elections in a few months and one of the challenges the Minister accepted was to advocate for road safety as a part of the Presidential commitments during the new legislative period. Mr. Vargas arranged a visit to the 911 Surveillance Center for the Special Envoy following the meeting.