BRASILIA: The second high level conference currently held in Brasilia is a “fantastic opportunity” for some 120 countries’ delegations to discuss reducing traffic deaths, Etienne Krug told The Cairo Post on sidelines of the conference Wednesday.
Krug, the Director of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Department for Management of Non-communicable Diseases, Disability, Violence and Injury Prevention (NVI,) said that the international meeting aims to “discuss actions that should be taken in order to achieve progress in reducing the number of the road deaths globally.”
As 1.25 million people die every year in traffic–related incidents, Krug said “the plateau is a progress, because it has to be seen in the context of the continuous increase in the number of vehicles on the roads.”
Further, he considers the meeting is important since it was preceded by the adoption of the 2030 sustainable development agenda two weeks ago. The agenda has “an ambitious road safety target to reduce by half the number of deaths in the world.”
Regarding the decade of action 2011-2020, Krug noted that many countries have taken actions, adopted new laws and worked on infrastructure, “but we still need much more of that to raise the reduction.”
Some 79 countries have seen a decrease in the rate of road traffic deaths since 2010, while 68 have seen a rise, according to the latest report released by WHO.
In her opening speech, Margaret Chan, the Director-General of WHO, considered this year a “special and important year for road safety,” as she pointed out coordination of multiple sectors of governments between over 100 countries.
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff also highlighted, in her opening remarks of the conference, the importance of such international meetings to give an opportunity to accommodate the problem and share common solutions among states.
On the sidelines of the conference, Adel Abdel Baqi, head of the Egyptian Automobile and Tourism Club told The Cairo Post that there are some new issues that are gaining more focus during the conference, including issues related to child health as affected by the road traffic.
At one of the side sessions, the achievements of the Decade of Action 2011-2020 were discussed by some of the member countries. Egypt is part of the program, which aims to reduce the number of road deaths by 50 percent by 2020.
Egypt has not been officially represented in the high level road safety conference, which is held for the second time in history after the first time was in Russia in 2009.
On Nov. 18-19, around 1,500 delegations from governments, U.N. representatives and civil societies are participating in the event.
Thursday, the last day of the conference, is expected to witness the adoption of the “Brasilia Declaration” regarding future actions on road safety, after several meetings by countries to draft the resolution.