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Launch of United Nations Road Safety Trust Fund

An estimated 1.25 million people are killed every year in road traffic crashes, and up to 50 million more are injured, often seriously.

Beyond human suffering, road traffic deaths and injuries cause significant economic losses to individuals and societies, keeping millions of people in poverty and creating an estimated $1.85 trillion burden on the global economy each year. This makes addressing road safety one of the most pressing social, economic, health and development challenges of our time.
While the need to improve road safety is gaining increasing recognition, targeted efforts have not been adequately funded at the local, national, regional or global levels. As such, we are far from being on track to halve the number of road traffic deaths by 2020– the target set out in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 
The United Nations Road Safety Trust Fund, launched on 12 April 2018 in New York City, aims to accelerate progress in improving global road safety by bridging the gaps in the mobilization of resources for effective action at all levels.

Established at the request of the Secretary-General following the suggestion made by United Nations Member States, the Fund will mobilize resources from governments, intergovernmental or non-governmental organizations, the private sector, philanthropic organizations and individuals.
UNECE estimates that every $1,500 contributed to the Road Safety Trust Fund could:

  • save one life
  • prevent ten serious injuries
  • leverage $51,000 in road safety investment
The scaling up of resources is essential if we are to achieve the SDG road safety targets. Speaking at the launch of the Fund, the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Road Safety Jean Todt, said “I strongly welcome the establishment of the United Nations Road Safety Trust Fund, which has the potential to galvanize our global efforts to address the road safety situation, building on the progress made and experience gained over the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020. I call on the support of all partners in mobilizing the resources necessary to reduce the number of fatalities on the world’s roads”. Jean Todt is also President of the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA).
UNECE Executive Secretary Olga Algayerova stated “The United Nations Road Safety Trust Fund will serve as a catalyst for much-needed progress towards the road safety targets of the Sustainable Development Goals. UNECE is honoured to host the Secretariat of the Trust Fund, and, as home to both the United Nations road safety conventions and the Secretariat of the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Road Safety, is committed to working with all stakeholders to multiply the impact of global action to improve road safety”.

By bringing key stakeholders together, the United Nations Road Safety Trust Fund will support increased action and enhanced impact in addressing critical road safety challenges. In this spirit, important pledges to contribute as founding donors were made at the Fund’s launch by the FIA Foundation, and two members of the FIA High Level Panel for Road Safety, Total and 3M, who build on a long history of support to concrete initiatives and innovation to improve road safety. A number of governments have also expressed their support for the activities of the Fund.
Saul Billingsley, Executive Director of the FIA Foundation, said “The launch of this first ever United Nations Fund for global road safety is an important recognition that our collective efforts to tackle road safety must be scaled up. Governments have provided the mandate for action, but not yet the resources to deliver it. We urgently need a massive increase in funding, commensurate to the scale of the problem. With this $10 million pledge, the FIA Foundation is stepping up. Now we call on others to do the same!”
Emphasizing the vital role of civil society, Ms Lotte Brondum, Executive Director of the Global Alliance of NGOs for Road Safety, stated “The approval of the United Nations Road Safety Trust Fund represents an important milestone for the NGO community. We now have both the political will and a structure for financing our efforts. Momentum is with us, and it is our responsibility to grasp hold of it and scale up those activities that have been proved to be effective. We encourage NGOs to seek strong partnerships with key stakeholders and serve as agents of accountability.”
The United Nations Road Safety Trust Fund will focus on strengthening the capacity of government agencies, local governments and city authorities to develop and implement road safety programmes, prioritizing projects in low and middle-income countries.

As a broad partnership mobilizing expertise and resources across different sectors - including government authorities, civil society organizations, multilateral development banks, United Nations entities, other international organizations and academia – the Fund will support a coordinated and holistic approach to improving global road safety.