On the Road!


On the Road!

Excuse the "UNDiplomatc" humor that we have added to the very serious subject of road safety and cutting road accidents and road related deaths.

Seven multilateral development banks today announced a joint initiative to improve road safety and stem rising road deaths and injuries in developing countries, and meet targets of the UN Decade for Road Safety 2011-2020.

Actress Michelle Yeoh, Global Ambassador of the Make Roads Safe Campaign and one of the speakers at today’s meeting at World Bank headquarters in Washington said that “roads are there to facilitate and to make our lives better, not to take them” and added that “the right policies” need to be put in place in order to save lives.

SOUNDBITE (English) Michelle Yeoh, Actress and Global Ambassador of the Make Roads Safe Campaign:
“Every few seconds someone gets killed on the roads in the world. And the roads are there to facilitate and to make our lives better, not to take them. And we need to have the right policies in place. It’s implementation, it’s enforcement, so everyone needs to work together, given that there are some places who has a much better policy because they’ve made the mistakes.”

With 1.3 million people killed and up to 50 million injured every year in road crashes, 90 percent of them in developing countries, traffic accidents have become the leading cause of death for young people aged 5 to 29. Road crashes now kill more people worldwide than malaria.

World Bank Group President Robert B. Zoellick urged countries to invest in road safety, and called on donors to provide funds through the new initiative.

SOUNDBITE (English) Robert B. Zoellick, World Bank Group President:
“Roads are essential to development because they connect families with schools and health centres; they connect farmers to markets; they connect the hinterland to seaports. So, supporting road safety has to be part of the global development challenge.”

Zoellick said that leaders of the Multilateral Development Banks’ Road Safety Initiative are committed to building partnerships and raising funds from governments, the private sector and voluntary organizations to support projects in developing countries. The initiative has been coordinated by the Global Road Safety Facility.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg noted that momentum is “really starting to build” on this issue and said that “we really can make a difference. Let’s not waste it.”

SOUNDBITE (English) Michael Bloomberg, New York City Mayor:
“With the momentum really starting to build, this really is our opportunity to save millions of lives, or if I can boast a little bit, the way the Bloomberg School of Public Health phrases it, saving millions of lives, millions at a time. We really can make a difference. Let’s not waste it.”

The goal is to reduce the forecast 2020 level of road deaths by 50 percent, from 1.9 million to under one million a year. Achieving the 2020 target could save up to five million lives and prevent 50 million serious injuries.


Language: English

Year of Production: 2011

Length: 2 mins

Country: United Nations


  • Mo Sacirbey UNTV-World Bank


  • Susan Sacirbey