Failure to include road deaths in the Millennium Development Goals framework is resulting in millions of unnecessary deaths and increased poverty, a new report from the FIA Foundation warns.
As world leaders prepare to meet in New York for the MDG summit, a leading UN development adviser, Dr Kevin Watkins from the Global Economic Governance Programme, Oxford University, warns that while the world rightly focuses on MDG goals including saving the lives of children under five, the international community risks ignoring hundreds of thousands of children of school age who are being killed or injured on dangerous roads.
Kevin Watkins said:
"It doesn't take rocket science to work out that primary school kids should not be crossing six-lane highways to get to school. Likewise, setting targets for cutting mortality rates among children aged up to five and then turning a blind eye to road deaths, one of the biggest killers of five to 14-year-olds, is not just irrational, it is ethically indefensible."
'The Missing Link - road traffic injuries and the Millennium Development Goals' reveals the true scale of the road injury epidemic in developing countries, and the impact poor road safety is having on delivery of the MDGs:
3500 people are killed every day on the world's roads and developing countries account for 3,000 of these deaths. This is forecast to rise to 5700 a day by 2020.
133,000 children of primary or early secondary age are killed on the roads of developing countries each year - another million are seriously injured. One of the MDG goals is to achieve universal access to primary education.
Road crashes cost developing nations at least £100 billion a year. The report estimates at least 70 million people are stuck below the poverty line as a result. One of the MDG goals aims to reduce extreme poverty.
The UN has begun to recognise the dangers of the road death crisis, announcing a 'Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020' with 100 governments already committing to work to reduce road deaths by 2020, an objective that could potentially prevent 5 million deaths. Yet campaigners argue that until road injuries are recognised as a global killer on the scale of HIV/AIDS or Malaria, the issue will continue to be neglected and underfunded.
Lord Robertson, Chairman of the Commission for Global Road Safety, said:
"The UN has at last recognised that road traffic injuries represent a global public health crisis that, left unchecked, will hinder progress towards the Millennium Development Goals. The international community, and governments across the world, now needs to wake up and make a real commitment to save millions of lives during the Decade of Action for Road Safety."
'The Missing Link - road traffic injuries and the Millennium Development Goals' which is authored by Dr. Kevin Watkins for the FIA Foundation’s Make Roads Safe campaign will be presented to a high level meeting at the UN MDG Summit in New York on 22 September 2010. This event will also see the announcement of the official symbol for the worldwide Decade of Action for Road Safety.
The Make Roads Safe campaign will also participate in a ‘Stand Up Against Poverty’ event in New York on Sunday 19th September, organised by the Global Call to Action Against Poverty (GCAP) which includes NGOs such as Oxfam, Save the Children, and ActionAid, as well as the FIA Foundation. See here for details.
Download The Missing Link - road traffic injuries and the Millennium Development Goals >
Read 'Road deaths among children spiralling in poorest nations, says report' (The Guardian) >
Listen to Kevin Watkins on the BBC Radio 4 'The World Tonight' programme >