WHAT IS THE DECADE OF ACTION?
On 11 May 2011, the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020 was launched in more than 100 countries, with one goal: to prevent five million road traffic deaths globally by 2020. Moving from the Global Plan for the Decade to national action, many countries have taken measures towards improving road safety, either by developing national plans for the Decade (e.g. Australia, Mexico, the Philippines); introducing new laws (e.g. Chile, China, France, Honduras); or increasing enforcement of existing legislation (e.g. Brazil, Cambodia, the Russian Federation), among other concrete actions. The recent UN General Assembly resolution on global road safety sponsored by more than 80 countries gives further impetus to the Decade by calling on countries to implement road safety activities in each of the five pillars of the Global Plan. (Source: WHO Web page).
The Decade was approved by the Moscow Ministerial in 2009 and UN General Assembly in 2010. It was launched by a global relay of events on 11th May. A Plan for the Decade has been prepared based on five pillars:
- Building Management Capacity
- Encouraging Safer User Behaviour
- Building Safer Roads
- Building Safer Vehicles
- Improving Post Crash Care
Each pillar includes indicative and interim targets to progress towards the Decade’s overall goal which is to ‘stabilize and then reduce the level of road fatalities’. This requires a 50% reduction in the forecast level of fatalities by 2020 which could avoid 5 million deaths, 50 million injuries and save $3 trillion in social costs. (Source: FIA Presentation).
The targets publicised by the World Health Organisation are shown below, set at 5,000,000 lives saved. This target is notional, that is, there is no clear scientific basis for the prediction but it would be a good thing to achieve.
The following table is drawn from the figures in the graph above.
This is a 31% reduction overall NOT a 50% reduction overall.
WILL AFRICA ACHIEVE ITS TARGETS?
This author wrote to all of the Africa Decade of Action Focal point contacts (http://www.who.int/roadsafety/decade_of_action/focal/en/index.html ). Of the 23 countries participating only 2 responded. This shows a lack of general interest.
Will Africa achieve its goals? If the response above is reflected in the outcome, then the answer at this stage must be a very resounding NO!