UN chief calls for more holistic approach to road safety

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UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called for a more holistic approach to road safety.

He made the remarks on Thursday at a high-level meeting of the UN General Assembly on improving road safety, Xinhua news agency reported.

Guterres said that road fatalities are closely linked to poor infrastructure, unplanned urbanisation, lax social protection and healthcare systems, limited road safety literacy and persistent inequalities both within and between countries.

Meanwhile, he pointed out that unsafe roads are a key obstacle to development.

“Traffic accidents can push entire families into poverty through either the loss of a breadwinner or the costs associated with lost income and prolonged medical care,” he said, noting that developing countries lose between 2 and 5 per cent of GDP every year because of them.

UN agencies have set goals of cutting road traffic deaths and injuries by half by 2030 and promote sustainable mobility with safety at its core.

To achieve the goals need more ambitious and urgent action to reduce the biggest risks such as speeding, and increased financing for sustainable and safe infrastructure and investments in cleaner mobility and greener urban planning, the UN chief said.

“And we need to adopt a more holistic approach to road safety,” he added.

“This means better integrating road safety in national policies — from education, health and transport to climate mitigation, land-use planning and disaster response,” he said.

The Secretary-General called on all member states to accede to UN road safety conventions and implement whole-of-society action plans, taking a strong prevention approach.

He also urged all donors to scale up much-needed financial and technical contributions through the UN Road Safety Fund.

“Together, we can save lives, support development, and steer our world to safer roads ahead, leaving no one behind,” he added.

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