Remarks by UN Secretary General on the appointment of Jean Todt as Special Envoy on Road Safety

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UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has appointed FIA President Jean Todt as his Special Envoy for Road Safety at a meeting held today in Paris.

The Secretary General gave on this occasion the following remarks:

"Mr. Christian Friis Bach, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe,

Dear colleagues,

Ladies and gentlemen,

I welcome all of our distinguished guests, especially Mr. Jean Todt and his wife, Ms. Michelle Yeoh, who are both great friends of the United Nations.

Today I am deeply honoured to appoint Mr. Jean Todt as my Special Envoy for Road Safety. He and his wife, Michelle Yeoh, were just in Nepal during the earthquake. They were there with members of the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile. I am very relieved that all were found safe. I repeat my condolences to the thousands of other victims of the tragedy.

The United Nations is doing everything possible to prevent natural disasters and to build resilience in communities.

At the same time, we have to address man-made health crises, including through road safety. More than a million people are killed on the roads each year, and 50 million are injured. We are now in the middle of the United Nations Decade of Action for Road Safety. I am delighted that I can count on Mr. Todt to help generate political commitment, raise awareness and mobilize funds through strategic partnerships to address this critical issue.

Mr. Todt is a passionate advocate who really knows cars. He had a long professional career in motor sports and he worked for manufacturers before becoming FIA President.

I know Jean Todt well – and I know his commitment to road safety. He is a man of action – and he has been known as a man of speed. So I took a little time to slow him down a bit, together with his charming wife, Ms. Yeoh, who has used her own star power for our United Nations Make Roads Safe Campaign.

She worked to verify his total conversion to safe driving. Now I am delighted to be able to finally appoint Mr. Todt as Special Envoy on Road Safety.  I count on him to push the second half of the Decade of Action for Road Safety to higher ground – with his usual vigor and a little less speed, but higher intensity.

I thank both of you for your commitment to saving lives.

Thank you."