Asia Injury Prevention Foundation (AIP Foundation)
Information
  • Date submitted: 1 Nov 2011
  • Stakeholder type: Major Group
  • Name: Asia Injury Prevention Foundation (AIP Foundation)
  • Submission Document: Download
Keywords: Indicators (1 hits),

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Making Roads Safe at Rio+ 20

A submission to the UN Conference on Sustainable Development by Asia Injury Prevention Foundation (AIP Foundation)

Summary:

? Road traffic crashes are the leading cause of child injury globally, and led to around 262 000 child deaths in 2004- almost 30% of injury caused deaths among children (WHO World Report on Child Injury Prevention, 2008);

? By the year 2030, road traffic injuries are predicted to be the leading cause of death worldwide for all age groups;

? The economic cost of road traffic crashes in developing countries is at least $100 billion a year. In Thailand alone, damage caused by road traffic crashes led to an economic loss of almost 6 billion USD, or about three percent of the country?s GNP (Prince of Songkla University, 2009)

? South-East Asia and the Western Pacific Regions of WHO together accounted for two thirds of all road traffic deaths, and South-East Asia is one of the three regions expected to see the most significant increases in road traffic injuries (WHO World Report on Child Injury Prevention, 2008);

? In May 2011, the United Nations launched the ?Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020?, with a goal to ?stabilize and then reduce the forecast level of road traffic fatalities around the world by increasing activities conducted at the national, regional and global levels.? (UN Road Safety);

? There is a strong relationship between road safety and the MDGs. A study conducted in Cambodia entitled How traffic injuries affect household welfare: An assessment using the MDG benchmarks reveals that households in which one member has been injured by a road traffic accident perform worse than average in a number of MDG Indicators.

? Addressing road safety will also help to achieve environmental objectives. According to the UN Environment Programme, such policies can make ?a large, lasting impact?on fuel use, congestion, air quality and CO2 emissions? It is also one of the most cost-effective actions for saving hundreds of thousands of lives?. In Cambodia, the use of fuel wood (which is linked to forest depletion) increased among surveyed households even though the national average is decreasing;

? While organizations such as the World Bank have recently become aware of the pressing issue that is global road safety, the gap between an institution acknowledging the issue and achieving sustained action must be bridged. We believe the solution to this lies in the inclusion of road safety in the framework of a major international sustainability conference; (Commission for Global Road Safety)

? The priorities agreed at international fora like Rio+20 set the global agenda and issues that are absent from the agenda are subsequently neglected and under-funded. This is why it is so important that action to improve road safety and promote sustainable modes of transport is included in the agenda and outcomes of the Rio+20 Conference. (Commission for Global Road Safety) Safer Roads at Rio + 20 1. Asia Injury Prevention Foundation is a U.S. registered 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization whose mission is to provide life-saving traffic safety knowledge and skills to the developing world with the goal of preventing road traffic crash fatalities and injuries. Founded in 1999 in Vietnam, AIP Foundation has offices in Vietnam, Thailand, and Cambodia. AIP Foundation?s approach focuses on public-private partnerships, mass media awareness campaigns, and school-based helmet use and traffic safety education programs. AIP Foundation?s efforts also include advocacy and the provision of technical expertise. In 2001, AIP Foundation built a non-profit helmet assembly plant that manufactures Protec ?Tropical? Helmets, making affordable high quality helmets widely available. Disabled workers make up 30% of the factory?s workforce.

2. In Vietnam, 30 people die each day from road traffic crashes (National Traffic Safety Committee, 2010). Approximately 36,000 people suffer from serious brain injuries annually as a result of these accidents. In Cambodia, 18,287 casualties caused by road traffic accidents in 2010 represent a 41% increase since 2006. With males representing over 86% of motorcycle related fatalities, thousands of families are being stripped of their sole bread winner. And in Thailand, 34 people die on the road every day (WHO, 2007).

3. AIP Foundation?s 2007 public awareness campaign was credited with influencing the Vietnamese government?s decision to bring forward the new nationwide mandatory helmet legislation and also played a role in ensuring an astonishing 98% compliance rate when the law was introduced. Within one year following the passage of the mandatory helmet law, injuries dropped by 24% and fatalities by 12%. By the end of 2010, this law resulted in 780 million USD saved (AIP Foundation calculations based on National Traffic Safety Committee data, 2007 and 2008).

  4. This success can be reproduced in countries throughout the developing world. In 2009, AIP Foundation, in collaboration with the FIA Foundation and the World Bank, launched the Global Helmet Vaccine Initiative (GHVI), an international movement with the objective of ?putting a helmet on every head in the ?Decade of Action for Road Safety.?? The Initiative brings AIP Foundation programs to developing countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Obtaining governmental cooperation and securing adequate funding are the most challenging components of these projects.

5. AIP Foundation strongly believes that global road safety must be addressed at the Rio+20 Conference, as it is one of the most important sustainability challenges facing the world today. The improvement of safe roads and road users can significantly contribute to the success of the MDG?s and to tackling environmental issues. In turn, the international visibility that the issue will gain from its inclusion in the conference?s ?Outcomes Document? will help institutionalise road safety programmes within middle and low-income governments and organisations like the World Bank.

6. We additionally believe that the absence of road safety from the agenda of the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, and the subsequent disregard for the issue in the following international fora, has contributed to the growing number of fatalities and injuries on South-East Asian roads.

7. In May 2011, the United Nations launched the ?Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020?, with a goal to ?stabilize and then reduce the forecast level of road traffic fatalities around the world by increasing activities conducted at the levels? 1 . national, regional and global UN General Assembly Resolution A/RES/64/255 could save 5 million lives and 50 million serious injuries if its goals are attained (?Make Roads Safe: A Decade of Action for Road Safety?, Commission for Global Road Safety, 2009).

8. In its Resolution proclaiming the Decade of Action for Road Safety, the United Nations General Assembly described road traffic injuries as a "major public health problem with a broad range of social and economic consequences which, if unaddressed, may affect the sustainable development of countries and hinder progress towards the Millennium Development Goals". According to leading development experts and international agencies, the impacts of failure to address road safety can go beyond the immediate toll of death and disability to undermine policies on poverty alleviation, child survival and development, and climate change. (Commission for Global Road Safety)

9. In a study entitled How traffic injuries affect household welfare: An assessment using the MDG benchmarks (Erickson, M. and Kim, P., 2009), road traffic injuries? impact on Cambodia?s progress toward the MDGs was measured through a survey of households in which one resident suffered a road traffic injury. In terms of poverty (MDG1), injuries resulted in a 21% loss of income for the household. Those mostly severely affected were those with a seriously injured resident as well as the poorest households. Primary education (MDG2) dropout rates were 8 times the province average. The gender (MDG3) income gap widened by 28% and women bore 88% of the burden of care for the injured. The infant mortality (MDG4) rate was more than double the province?s average rate, and the maternal mortality rate (MDG5) was 15 times the national average. The households also recorded rates of priority diseases (MDG6) at twice the national average. There was no indication of an organized partnership (MDG8) for road transport programs which make provision for traffic injuries.

10. Of particular relevance to the Rio+20 Conference are the negative environmental outcomes (MDG7) for households in which one resident had suffered a road traffic injury. While the national Cambodian population?s access to improved water sources between 2000 and 2007 increased from 38% to 65% (World Bank, 2009), the surveyed households? access stagnated rather than increased.  

11. A serious environmental concern is Cambodia?s high incidence of fuel wood dependency, which is a notable factor in its forest depletion (MoP, 2007b). Wood fuel also causes respiratory diseases, burns, and other negative health effects (Mishra, Retherford and Smith, 1999). While the national trend is one of reduced household use of wood fuel (MoP2007b), 26 out of 100 surveyed households reported using an increased amount of wood fuel.

12. The UN Environment Programme is currently urging a transformation of the way transportation is organized and planned in developing nations, to improve the safety of pedestrians and bicyclists. UNEP argues that ?designating road space for pedestrians and cyclists in proportion to the demand for non-motorised transport is crucial. It is also one of the most cost-effective actions for saving hundreds of thousands of lives.? (?Share the Road: Invest in Walking & Cycling?, UN Environment Programme and FIA Foundation, 2011).

13. WHO reports that in Thailand, no formal audits are required for the construction of new road construction projects, and no regular audits take place of existing road infrastructure (2009).

14. A pedestrian research study conducted in Dong Nai Province, Vietnam, revealed that in only six months, approximately 5,824 primary school students were hit by a vehicle while walking around, to, or from school (Pedestrian Research Report, AIP Foundation, 2011). Almost 1000 accidents per month in just one province out of 64 is a clear display of the immediate need for improved road infrastructure to protect these children on their daily routes to school.

15. While many regulations exist and are in place to ensure that cars and their passengers are as safe as possible on the road, many low and middle income country residents do not own a car. According to the WHO, up to 80% of road traffic deaths are among vulnerable road users (pedestrians, cyclists, or users of motorized two-wheelers) in low and middle-income countries. In Vietnam, 95% of registered vehicles are two-wheelers (National Traffic Safety Committee, 2008). In   Thailand, 70% of fatal road crashes involved motorcycles (WHO, 2007). According to the CDC, the number of autos in use in rapidly emerging economies is expected to expand six-fold by 2018, potentially without corresponding improvements in road infrastructure or traffic safety. Middle and low income country transportation methods must be taken into account in reviewing global road safety advances.

16. CDC recently recognized increased awareness and response for improving global road safety as one of the 10 great public health achievements of the decade worldwide. CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden said, ?There are still far too many people who die from conditions that are easily preventable. Continued investments will help millions more live healthy and productive lives while helping to protect our own country from health threats." This report highlighted the Decade of Action for Road Safety goals that, if achieved, could save 5 million lives and $3 trillion, and prevent 50 million serious injuries. 

17. The Rio+20 Conference can play a critical role in encouraging such action. As we have shown above, there is growing recognition that road traffic injuries are a public health and sustainable development challenge that needs to be addressed, and that doing so will benefit the wider agendas of tackling climate change and working towards the Millennium Development Goals. Yet, despite this growing consensus, road safety and wider issues of sustainable mobility remain on the margins of public policy, lacking vocal advocates within government aid agencies and major institutions and consequently denied the resources needed to assist developing nations to improve their institutional capacity, skills and policies. (Commission for Global Road Safety)

18. It is our view that this gap between the growing acknowledgement of the issue and achieving sustained action can be bridged if, for the first time, road safety is included within the framework of a major international sustainability conference. Identifying road traffic injury as a new challenge at the Rio+20 Conference will be invaluable in raising the profile of the issue and helping to institutionalise road safety programmes within middle-income and low-income governments and organisations like the World Bank. As we have seen in the powerful response to climate change and environmental protection following the first Rio summit in   1992, and in the united focus on achieving the Millennium Development Goals that was the major outcome of the Johannesburg Summit in 2002, the priorities agreed at these international fora do set the global agenda and issues that are absent from the agenda are subsequently neglected and under-funded. (Commission for Global Road Safety)

19. Until road safety can be integrated into the mainstream of sustainability policy, millions of people will be condemned to unnecessary and preventable violent, painful deaths, and lives blighted by severe disability or loss of their primary income generator. This is why it is so important that action to improve road safety and promote sustainable modes of transport is included in the agenda and outcomes of the Rio+20 Conference. (Commission for Global Road Safety)

20. We urge and encourage the secretariat, member nations and participants to include reference to safe and sustainable road mobility in the ?Outcomes Document? of the Conference. (Commission for Global Road Safety)

Contact:

Ms. Mirjam Sidik

Executive Director

AIP Foundation

18bis/21 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai Street

District 1

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Tel: (84) 8-6299-1409

Fax: (84) 8-6299-1408

Email: mirjam.sidik@aipf-vietnam.org

Website: www.asiainjury.org
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