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Date: 03 May 2012
Title: SA urges intl community to prioritise road safety
Pretoria - Transport Minister Sibusiso Ndebele has called on the international community to include road safety as part of the global development agenda.
Ndebele was speaking at the Commission for Global Road Safety: Policy & Donor Forum 2012 in New York City on Wednesday.
"Every year almost 1.3 million people are killed and millions more injured and disabled on the world's roads. The importance of including road safety as part of a new approach to sustainable transport cannot be over-emphasized.
"Road safety must be part of the sustainable development agenda, recognising the impact of road traffic injuries on Development Goals," said the minister.
Ndebele said the challenge of road safety had presented the global community a "ticking time bomb".
"Road traffic crashes have become a sheer detriment to Africa's development through the loss of capital, human life and destruction to property. Africa has the highest road injury fatality rate of all World Health Organisation regions.
"By 2015, road crashes will be the number one killer of children aged 5 to14, outstripping Malaria and HIV," he said.
Road crashes are estimated to cost African countries between 1 to3 percent of their Gross Domestic Product.
He further said: "The Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020 must be put firmly within the global development agenda. We cannot afford the economic and human cost of inaction anymore. The global movement against road deaths must be accelerated. The greatest partners in this struggle against road carnage must be those who have lost relatives and friends in road crashes."
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), during the course of the decade (2011-2020), as many as five million lives could be saved and 50 million serious injuries prevented if road safety programmes are implemented worldwide.
The Decade of Action Policy & Donor Forum will address the role of road safety and sustainable transportation in contributing to shared goals for sustainable development, particularly in the context of the forthcoming "Rio+20" UN Conference on Sustainable Development, as well as focusing on the investment case for funding global road traffic injury prevention. - BuaNews