A sovereign state in Western Asia, Lebanon is a middle-income country with the population of 5,85 million and per capita income $8,047 (World Bank, 2015). According to the WHO estimate, Lebanon suffers from 1,088 road fatalities annually, and pedestrians represent 43% of deaths on the road, according to the Beirut Traffic Management Centre. According to the WHO, Lebanon has laws addressing all of the road safety risk factors; however, it has not acceded to any of the six UN Road Safety Conventions.
On 16 and 17 February 2017, the Special Envoy met with the below road safety stakeholders in Beirut:
Dr. Ramzi Salamé, Executive Director of the National Road Safety Council of Lebanon
The Special Envoy outlined his recent and upcoming activities, provided an overview of his mandate as well as highlighted the importance of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. Dr Salamé introduced his team and presented the road safety projects that are implemented locally in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme in Lebanon. Dr. Salamé shared the ongoing work on creation of a national observatory for road safety, scheduled to launch in 2019. The Special Envoy encouraged Lebanon to consider acceding to the UN Road Safety Conventions and expressed his willingness to organize a regional road safety meeting in the region to help inspire stronger political will and capacity for road safety.
United Nations Country Team in Lebanon
The Special Envoy gave an overview of his mandate and briefed the United Nations Country Team on the upcoming 2017 Global Road Safety Film Festival in Geneva. He mentioned the involvement of United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid bin Ra’ad Al Hussein in a number of road safety initiatives. The Special Envoy encouraged the UN Country Team to advocate and collaborate with senior officials and government representatives for improved road safety. Among the concerns raised during the meeting were lack of awareness on the road safety issue, lack of data collection tools and lack of consolidated efforts within the UN system. Dr. Yakob, Regional Adviser to the ESCWA and former Syrian Minister of Transport gave a presentation on road safety in Lebanon. The following members of the Lebanon United Nations Country Team participated at the meeting:
Mr. Philippe Lazzarini, UN Resident Coordinator; Ms. Hanna Schmitt, Head of Office, UNRCO; Mr. Hagop Kouyoumdjian, Coordination Officer, UNRCO; Ms. Kristine Najjar, SDG Mainstream Support Officer, UNRCO; Mr. James Fern, Field Security Advisor for Lebanon, UNICEF; Dr. Alissar Rady, National Professional Officer, WHO; Mr. Asif Razzaq, Resource Management Officer, IOM; Mr. Mohamed El Moctar Mohamed el Hacène, Director EDID, ESCWA; Mr. Yarob Badr, Regional Advisor, ESCWA; Mr. Mirsultan Mirzarakhlmov, Senior/Admin Finance Officer, UNHCR; Mr. Frazer J. King, Chief Security Officer, UNSCOL; Ms. Nayla Hajjar, OCHA; Ms. Synne Bergby, Programme Planning Advisor, UN-Habitat; Mr. Ygor Scarcia, Officer, UNIDO; Mr. Sabir Mughal, Chief Security Advisor, UNDSS; Mr. Bashar Al Ali, UNOPS; Mr. Yeran Kejijian, UNV Programme Associate, UNV; Mr. Rawad Rizk, UNDP
Dr. Michel Sheuer, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Saint-Joseph and Dr. Wassim Raphael, Director of the Master’s Program in Road Safety Management
Dr. Sheuer welcomed the Special Envoy and highlighted the importance of the Masters Programme in Road Safety Management in the Middle East and North Africa region. Dr. Raphael presented the objectives of the Master’s program to the Special Envoy, and his students presented their defence theses. The Special Envoy thanked the University management and their students while highlighting the importance of education in reducing road crashes. He also gave an overview of the important work carried out by the United Nations and emphasised the potential establishment of a UN Road Safety Trust Fund. Finally, Mr. Michel Sheuer awarded the Special Envoy with the University medal as recognition of commitment to road safety. The following were the participants of the meeting at the University:
o Dr. Michel Sheuer, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Saint-Joseph
o Dr. Wassim Raphael, Director of the Master in Management of Road Safety (MANSER)
o S.E Mr. Yarob Badr, former Minister of Transport of Syria and Regional Adviser at ESCWA
o Mr. Hervé Sabourin, Regional Director of the Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie
o Students of the Masters programme