Brice Lalonde discusses road safety and Rio+20 with Kevin Watkins and Jo Confino at a Make Roads Safe event in May
The Commission for Global Road Safety has welcomed the inclusion of road safety in the Rio+20 Outcome Document, and a multi-billion dollar commitment for sustainable transport by the multilateral development banks.
The Rio+20 Outcome Document, ‘The Future We Want’, which is expected to be formally approved by world leaders on 22nd June, recognises “the importance of the efficient movement of people and goods, and access to environmentally sound, safe and affordable transportation as a means to improve social equity, health, resilience of cities, urban-rural linkages and productivity of rural areas. In this regard, we take into account road safety as a part of our efforts to achieve sustainable development”.
Also at the Rio+20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development the African Development Bank, Asian Development Bank, CAF Development Bank of Latin America, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, European Investment Bank, Inter-American Development Bank, Islamic Development Bank and the World Bank have together announced a Commitment to invest $175 billion in loans and grants for sustainable transport over the next decade. The banks “call upon the international community to embrace sustainable transport as a key sectoral focus of the new global agenda for sustainable development”.
“Rapid motorization is creating more congestion, air pollution, traffic accidents and greenhouse gas emissions – especially in developing countries,” said ADB President Haruhiko Kuroda, speaking on behalf of the MDBs at a news conference in Rio de Janeiro. “Developing countries have the opportunity to leapfrog to a greener future of less motorization, shorter commutes, and more energy efficient transport systems.”
In their statement, issued at Rio+20, the MDBs commit to “supporting the UN Road Safety Decade of Action, 2011–2020 by scaling up our support for road safety, undertaking joint operations, and adopting common approaches and indicators…We expect that particular aspects of the sustainable transport agenda – such as improving access and mobility for the poor, reducing transport-related GHG emissions, and improving road safety – will justify the establishing of special financing facilities by donor countries and, potentially, sovereign wealth funds and the private sector”.
“This large MDB commitment on transport is an important contribution towards putting in place collaborative long term finance for the transport sector. Together with the other transport-related voluntary commitments made by members of the SLoCaT partnership, the MDB commitment can help effective measurable implementation of Sustainable Development,” said Brice Lalonde, Executive Coordinator of the Rio+20 Conference.
David Ward, Executive Secretary of the Commission for Global Road Safety, and Director General of the FIA Foundation, welcomed the developments. “This is a significant day for sustainable transport and road safety. For the first time we have these issues recognised and included as mainstream sustainable development issues by the international community. We have campaigned for road safety to be included within the remit of the Rio+20 framework and congratulate the Russian Federation on its role in securing inclusion of road safety during the negotiations. We also welcome the new high level policy leadership that the multilateral development banks are providing and hope this will be sustained and will result in measurable delivery, with funding for the MDB’s Road Safety Initiative and a paradigm shift in the way roads are designed and built to put safety and sustainability at the centre of decision making. The work of the International Road Assessment Programme (iRAP) demonstrates that there is huge potential for saving lives and delivering impressive financial returns on investment if roads and transport systems are designed with safety as a core principle. Rio+20 can be an important step forward in this process”.
‘The Future We Want’ – Outcome Document of the Rio+20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development >
‘Commitment to Sustainable Transport’ – Joint Statement of the Multilateral Development Banks at Rio+20 >
‘Safe & Sustainable Roads – An agenda for Rio+20 >