Todt's road safety mission takes him to Kazakhstan | Federation Internationale de l'Automobile

Todt's road safety mission takes him to Kazakhstan

Jean Todt was in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan today, in his roles as President of the FIA and the UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy for Road Safety, which meant his day was packed with meetings.
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The first took place in the morning with Asset Issekeshev, the Mayor of the city, as well as various members of the Kazakh government, who all underlined their efforts in supporting the #SaveKidsLives campaign. Then in the afternoon, Todt took part in a round-table discussion organised by the Ministry of Investments and Development on the theme of road safety. 

Todt stressed in particular the fact that the United Nations goal of reducing road deaths by half by 2020 was possible as part of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG.) “Our goal is daunting, but I am encouraged by all the positive efforts taking place globally and the willingness of stakeholders like you to get involved,” said Todt. “Everyone has a role to contribute to change. At the national level, we need governments to take action, because they have the primary responsibility to introduce new effective legislation, and to ensure that rules are enforced. At the city level, we need to encourage authorities to implement ambitious road safety programmes, and follow the Vision Zero goals, which others have set, like Mexico City and New York City.

At the regional level, we need to encourage cooperation with all multi-lateral banks and institutions to improve data collection, to improve the coordinated use of funding, and to learn from the experience of other neighbouring countries. And at a global level, we need to ensure road safety is included as a key political priority, and treated at the same level as other challenges like AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. There is progress being made around the world to further road safety. My role is to help ensure that the momentum is harnessed and accelerated. We can succeed. Many parts of the world have had spectacular results over the past 30 years. We now need to extend that success to all countries, including yours. With the right political will, cooperation, visibility and financing, I know that we can reach our goals and make safer roads a reality for all.”

Todt is well aware of the need to drastically increase the economic resources dedicated to road safety at every level: “We know that in comparison to other leading causes of fatality, which raise billions of dollars each year in donor support globally, road safety is falling far behind. The World Bank’s dedicated fund for road safety has a budget of only some 3 million dollars per year. Some private companies and philanthropists are making a very commendable effort, but clearly this is not enough and very far from what is needed.

Encouraging more private sector players to commit to road safety is a key priority and we need to be creative in our approach.  Imagine for example if for every car sold, a minimal contribution of let’s say just one dollar, went to a new fund for road safety. And imagine if the scheme was then extended to other products and services linked to the automotive industry. A contribution as small as one cent could be linked to sales of insurance, tyres, helmets, navigation devices, car rentals, and so on. With around 75 million cars sold each year that could revolutionise the means we have to tackle the road safety global health and development challenge. A focus on raising new resources for road safety actions should be a key part of our strategy at all levels to address road safety. As I mentioned earlier, I with UNECE and other partners are exploring the establishment of new UN Global Road Safety Fund, which I hope your government will provide feedback on and support. Making strides on road safety is about more than keeping the figures and funding in mind. It is truly about human life and holding it at the highest value.”

President Todt’s visit to Astana ends tomorrow, after he takes part in the fourth edition of the Forum of Kazakhstan Mechanical Engineers when the topic will be “Impact of new automotive products to improve road safety.”