UN General Assembly calls for Ministerial meeting on road safety

31 MARCH 2008 - In the United Nations General Assembly in New York today, 31 March 2008, His Excellency, Ambassador Fuad Al-Hinai of the Sultanate of Oman introduced a new draft resolution entitled Improving Global Road Safety (A/62/L.43). The Resolution - based on the Secretary-General's Report on the road safety crisis (A/62/257) prepared by WHO and the UN Road Safety Collaboration and sponsored by more than 90 countries - was later adopted unanimously.

Ambassador Al-Hinai introduces Resolution a/62/L.43 to the General Assembly
WHO, M Peden
Ambassador Al-Hinai introduces Resolution a/62/L.43 to the General Assembly

This historic resolution reaffirms the importance of addressing global road safety and encourages States to strengthen commitment. It calls for the further implementation of the recommendations of the World report on road traffic injury prevention, for political commitment, capacity building, and advocacy including through observance of the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims. Also included in the resolution is an invitation to the UN Road Safety Collaboration to promote multisectoral collaboration by organizing Global Road Safety Weeks and global stakeholders' fora. Fleet-owning organizations in both the private and public sectors are encouraged to develop and implement policies and practices that would reduce crash risks. The Resolution welcomed the offer by the Russian Federation to host and provide financial support for the first Global Ministerial Conference on Road Safety in 2009.

The following countries/organizations addressed the assembly: Oman, the Russian Federation, Costa Rica, Jamaica, Slovenia (on behalf of the European Union), the United Kingdom, Mexico, Iceland, VietNam, Thailand, the Ukraine, India, Kazakhstan, the United States of America, Benin, the Holy See and the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

David Ward (FIA-F), Karla Gonzalez (Costa Rica), Lord Robertson (Commission for Global Road Safety), the Secretary General, Michelle Yeoh (Filmstar and Make Road Safe ambassador) and Etienne Krug (WHO)
WHO, M Peden
David Ward (FIA-F), Karla Gonzalez (Costa Rica), Lord Robertson (Commission for Global Road Safety), the Secretary General, Michelle Yeoh (Filmstar and Make Road Safe ambassador) and Etienne Krug (WHO)

During his speech, Lord Robertson of Port Ellen, on behalf of the United Kingdom, said that if the resolution were to be adopted "today we can begin to turn the tide". The resolution was adopted unanimously.

Lord Robertson presented to the Secretary-General an open letter to the United Nations calling on all UN member governments to support the call for a UN Conference on Global Road Safety. The letter is signed by Jimmy Carter, Oscar Arias Sanchez, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Sonia Gandhi, Mary Robertson, Lord Robertson and others.

Speakers address a 150 strong audience at a briefing following the UN General Assembly discussion on road safety.
WHO, M Peden
Speakers address a 150 strong audience at a briefing following the UN General Assembly discussion on road safety.

Following the General Assembly a briefing organized by the Make Roads Safe campaign briefly discussed next steps, including the future Global Ministerial Conference on Road Safety. On the speaker panel were: His Excellence Ambassador Fuad Al-Hinai (Sultanate of Oman), General Victor Kiryanov (Head of Road Safety Inspectorate of the Russian Federation), Lord Robertson (Chairman of the Commission for Global Road Safety), Anthony Bliss (World Bank), Karla Gonzalez (Minister of Transport, Costa Rica), Etienne Krug (WHO) and Michelle Yeoh (Actress and Make Roads Safe campaign ambassador). The discussion was moderated by Mark Rosenberg (Director of the Task Force for Child Survival).

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