KINGSTON, Jamaica – Jamaica has reaffirmed its commitment to reducing road traffic crashes, fatalities and injuries.
Minister of Transport and Mining, Audley Shaw, gave the declaration in his address at the opening session of the United Nations Road Safety Fund (UNRSF) High Level Meeting on Improving Global Road Safety and First Pledging Conference at the United Nations (UN) Headquarters in New York on Thursday, June 30.
The Minister expressed appreciation to the UN and other stakeholders that support road safety globally through various initiatives.
According to a release, Shaw commended the UN Road Safety Fund and the Secretary-General's Special Envoy on Road Safety for “providing avenues for fiscal and technical support towards critical road-safety interventions that will assist developing countries in addressing road safety issues”.
The Transport and Mining Minister pointed out that road traffic deaths and injuries have a significant negative impact on economic growth, social equity and public health, with specific impact on developing nations.
He cited statistics from the World Bank, which indicate that road fatalities and injuries reduce the gross domestic product (GDP) of low and middle-income countries by an estimated one to five per cent.He contended that if developing nations are to achieve the related UN Sustainable Development Goals, road safety must be addressed collectively and expeditiously.
“We encourage all nations, leaders of business, and non-governmental organisations to pledge their support at the First Pledging Conference and the work of the UN Road Safety Fund to contribute to crucial, much-needed road-safety interventions,” the Minister said, adding that in doing so, millions of lives will be saved.
“The challenges are many, but together we can work to alleviate the negative impacts on the development and growth of the family, community and nation,” the Transport and Mining Minister noted.
The UNRSF First Pledging Conference was designed to mobilise partners and pledges for high-impact road-safety projects between 2022 and 2025.
Pledges will be channelled to low and middle-income countries that are most in need of support, given the reality of road safety being underfunded in most countries.
The Meeting and Conference are being held under the theme ‘The 2030 Horizon for Road Safety: Securing a Decade of Action and Delivery’.
The UNRSF was established in 2018 to provide funding to developing countries to support road-safety projects geared towards improving their road-safety architecture in accordance with the Safe Systems approach, which aims to eliminate fatal and serious injuries for all road users.
This is through a holistic view of the road system that first anticipates human mistakes and second, keeps impact energy on the human body at tolerable levels.