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Setting Regional and National Road Traffic Causality Reduction Targets in the ESCWA Region

Abu Dhabi
Event Type: 

According to the World Report on Road Traffic Injury Prevention, published by the
World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Bank in 2004, road traffic crashes
claim the lives of more than 1.2 million people every year and are responsible for about
40 million injuries. They disproportionately affect low and middle-income countries, with
costs of between 65 billion and 100 billion US$. The World Bank estimates that, if
fatality rates per vehicle in poorer countries were reduced by 30% by 2020, more than 2.5
million lives could be saved and 200 million injuries avoided.

Responding to the enormity of the situation, ESCWA played, with other partners, a
key role in raising awareness about this issue, helping governments design policy
frameworks, publishing evidence on what works best in different settings, and putting the
issue of road safety high on international political and developmental agendas. Knowing
that improving road safety is a very complex phenomenon, the proposed project will seek
to make countries able to set road safety targets and improve the existing ones. Targets
can be formulated in terms of victim reduction or in deviated performance indicators like
safety belt wearing rate, tickets issued for speeding and others. In Bahrain they already
set some targets. Several countries have established road safety councils such as KSA,
Jordan and Syria. Undoubtedly sincere and sustained efforts are still needed to introduce
improvements in road traffic safety. These interventions that many developed countries
have applied, or more easily referred to as good practices, are needed in the ESCWA
region where some very high rates of traffic accidents occur.

It is through the exchange of experience between those countries that are advanced in
applying the good practices and those who are far lagging that scheme for improvements
can be drawn. The Swedish Strategy: Zero Vision, provides a vision of a safe road
transport system which can be used as a guide in the selection of road safety strategies.
ESCWA, in collaboration with the National Transport Authority of UAE, will therefore
organize a two-day workshop for representatives from Member States to discuss the
implementation of road safety targets and review the increase regional collaboration in
this field and support road safety initiatives. This Workshop is the fourth of three
previous workshops on the Implementation of Good Practices in Road Safety (Musqat,
2005), Capacity Building of the National Focal Points of the First UN Global Road
Safety Week (December 2006) and Building the Arab Mashreq Road Safety Partnership
(Doha , 2008).