Road accidents are still responsible for 1.3 million annual deaths and 50 million injuries all over the world, but the United Nations has a Global Plan to halve road deaths and injuries by 2030.
The plan is a key part of the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2021-2030 and was discussed, on Friday, at an event supporting the High-Level Meeting on Global Road Safety at the General Assembly in New York.
“Road accidents are entirely preventable, and our priority must be exactly that, to implement preventive measures”, he continued.
Mr. Shahid highlighted the importance of the Global Plan, but warned that “unless it is implemented, it is nothing more than a plan of action.”
Looking ahead, he said implementation by national and local governments will require two main elements: financing and the engagement of relevant actors.
With a notable funding gap in most countries, 90% of road deaths happen in low and middle-income countries.
For Mr. Shahid, this means that achieving the targets will require increased support to these countries.
Road traffic crashes are also the leading killer of children and young people worldwide, aged five to 29.
As things stand, they are set to cause a further estimated 13 million deaths and 500 million injuries during the next decade.
During Friday’s event, Member States heard from families who lost loved ones, politicians that led the way, grassroot youth working on advocacy programs, and both government and non-governmental organizations.
For the President of the General Assembly, “each is a story that will foster greater understanding and knowledge on how we can better engage on global road safety.”
Mr. Shahid invited Member States, civil societies, and the international community to use these exchanges “as an opportunity to build collective commitments and strengthened partnerships”.
“Global road safety is a shared responsibility that must be prioritized and integrated”, he argued.
For him, achieving safety would contribute to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals under education, health, and the environment, among others.
The High‑Level Meeting on the topic will be held in July next year, under the theme “The 2030 horizon for road safety: securing a decade of action and delivery”.