High-level meeting of the UN General Assembly on Road Safety

Assistant Director-General, WHO Office at the UN (ADG WUN), Stewart Simonson, represented WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros, at the High-Level Meeting (HLM) on Improving Global Road Safety, convened by the President of the UN General Assembly (PGA), on 30 June and 1 July, on the overall theme of “The 2030 horizon for road safety: securing a decade of action and delivery”. The Meeting comprised of an opening segment, a plenary segment, three multi-stakeholder thematic panel discussions and a brief closing segment. As one of only a handful of previous HLMs to ever address a specific public health concern, Member States and their partners sought to mobilize political leadership, identify gaps and challenges and promote multisectoral and multi-stakeholder collaboration in favor of streets for life. The HLM also served as an occasion to assess progress made in implementing the Global Plan for the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2021-2030 and attaining SDG target 3.6 to reduce road traffic deaths and injuries by 50% by 2030. It convened representatives of Member States, including 20 ministers or vice-ministers from 20 countries; parliaments; city governments; relevant UN entities; NGOs, including youth-led organizations; academia; and the private sector. Around 80 Member State representatives delivered formal statements and approved a concise and action-oriented Political Declaration agreed upon in advance by consensus through intergovernmental negotiations and submitted by the President of the General Assembly. The Political Declaration recognizes and strengthens the role of WHO in the implementation and follow-up process. ADG WUN also participated in the opening segment and the panel discussion, emphasizing the need for a transition from the traditional approach to road safety that focuses on crashes or specific interventions, to a comprehensive approach that focuses on safe mobility systems and healthy and environmentally sound modes of transport. Dr Etienne Krug, WHO Director of the Department for Social Determinants of Health, who delivered closing remarks, called on all countries to set their own mortality reduction target for 2030 and develop a plan to achieve it with clear roles and funding. He also encouraged delegates to inform their heads of government and finance ministers about the HLM and the urgency to act and appoint national focal points to work with WHO. Several pre and side events were hosted by various members of the WHO-chaired UN Road Safety Collaboration, including Youth for Road Safety (YOURS), Towards Zero Foundation, Global New Car Assessment Programme, UNICEF, UN Road Safety Fund, and the International Road Federation, as well as the Government of Sweden. The HLM represented an excellent opportunity to communicate widely about the urgency to address road safety with a focus on solutions and promote safe, affordable, accessible and sustainable mobility for all.

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