Global leaders call for unified action to prevent traffic deaths

By Beatrice Obwocha

Leaders attending the the 3rd Global Ministerial Conference on Road Safety in Stockholm, Sweden, have called for unified action to prevent traffic deaths and injuries.


The leaders, led by King of Sweden Carl XVI Gustaf called for a unified approach to address road safety challenges. The Stockholm Declaration was also presented at the event.

“We need to tackle these challenges together. And we need to remember that the overwhelming majority of road traffic deaths and injuries are preventable,” said King Gustaf as he officially opened the conference attended by over 1,700 delegates from 140 countries.

He said the conference offers an opportunity to link the road safety to other sustainability challenges such climate change, health, equality, poverty and human rights.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the conference will help the world to embrace a new agenda to radically reduce the number of lives lost on roads and re-think how to provide access to safe, affordable, accessible and sustainable transport systems for all.

“It is unacceptable price to pay for mobility. Most road traffic deaths and injuries can be prevented using tried and tested strategies,” he said. 

Speaking at the forum, UN Special Envoy for Road Safety Jean Todt called for political good will and commitment from countries, especially in financing and implementing road safety initiatives.

WHO Director of Social Determinants of Health Dr. Etienne Krug said the Stockholm Declaration will pave the way for the necessary political will and additional innovative approaches to drive progress towards halving global road traffic deaths and injuries by 2030.

“Let’s hope the right decision is taken now, so that we can move quickly towards a safe, healthy, and clean transport system for everyone,” he said.

The role of the youth was also emphasized at the opening ceremony, with Ms.Omnia El Omrani,Co-Chair of the 2nd World Youth Assembly for Road Safety saying they are key stakeholders in the road safety agenda.

“We say enough is enough to traffic deaths. We demand safer and sustainable transport systems that ensure our safety and are friendly to the environment. The youth have a role to play in road safety revolution,” she said.

While reading the Stockholm Declaration that would be forwarded to the UN General Assembly for adoption, Swedish Minister for Infrastructure Mr. Tomas Eneroth said commitment towards achieving Vision Zero in road safety should be embraced by all.

He urged the UN General Assembly to endorse the recommendations that will set new objectives for road safety in the next decade.

The 3rd Global Ministerial Conference on Road Safety sets the stage for a new global mandate on road safety for the next 10 years as the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety ends this year.

The Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011–2020, whose main target was to reduce by half traffic deaths,  was officially proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in March 2010 following a successful first Global Ministerial Conference held in Russia in November 2009.