Seven Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs) today issued a joint statement outlining a broad package of measures that each would implement in order to reduce an anticipated and alarming rise in the number of road fatalities and casualties in developing countries.

The participating MDBs are the African Development Bank, Asian Development Bank, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, European Investment Bank, Inter-American Development Bank, Islamic Development Bank and the World Bank.

The MDBs said the joint initiatives they will undertake are important steps in a growing program of work they will undertake as international development partners.

The measures to be carried out fall into four broad categories:

  • Strengthening road safety management capacity;
  • Implementing safety approaches in the planning, design, construction, operation, and maintenance of road infrastructure projects;
  • Improving safety performance measures; and
  • Mobilizing more and new resources for road safety.

“All MDB’s are committed to taking a leading role to address what is becoming one of the most significant public health development priorities of the early 21st century,” said Jamal Saghir, Director of Energy, Transport, and Water at the World Bank, speaking on behalf of the participating MDBs. “As development professionals, we will work together to bring this growing epidemic on the roads of low and middle-income countries under control over the coming decade.  We also have a longer-term vision of eliminating these unnecessary and unacceptable deaths and injuries.”

In their joint statement, the MDBs said they welcomed the upcoming First Global Ministerial Conference on Road Safety to be held in Moscow on 19 and 20 November, 2009, as it draws attention to a global issue of increasing importance to the organizations.  Improving road safety, they said, is a development priority in developing and emerging countries.  It calls for scaled-up global, regional, and country responses to bring the growing numbers of road deaths and injuries toll under control.

Over the first 30 years of this century it is estimated that more cars will be produced in the world than during the first hundred years of motorization.  As a result, millions of road deaths and injuries must be anticipated, unless sustained measures are taken to prevent them.  Updated projections of global mortality and the burden of disease made by the World Health Organization indicate that road traffic injuries are set to be the fourth biggest cause of healthy life years lost in developing and emerging countries by 2030, and from 2015 onto 2030 they will be the biggest cause of healthy life years lost for children aged between 5 and 14, unless new measures are taken to prevent them.

GRSF estimates indicate that reducing road fatalities and injuries in low and middle-income countries over the coming decade would save an estimated 5 million lives and avoid 50 million serious injuries, resulting in a huge social benefit.

In the face of this mounting crisis there has been a concerted global call for action to promote a systematic, multi-sectoral response.  There is also the recognition that shared initiatives can accelerate the transfer of road safety knowledge to developing and emerging countries and scale up their road safety investment. 

The MDB signatories to the joint statement say they have an important role to play in this process, given their engagement in the development programs of partner countries through policy dialogue, analytical and advisory services, and lending and guarantee products to the public and private sectors. In particular, increased provision of road infrastructure is essential to development success, but its sustainable safety for users must be assured.

The Joint Statement of the Multilateral Development Banks and media contact points are attached.

For more information, please visit: Global Road Safety Facility

A Shared Approach to Managing Road Safety

Joint Statement by the African Development Bank, Asian Development Bank, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, European Investment Bank, Inter-American Development Bank, Islamic Development Bank and the World Bank

Global call for action

1.    We acknowledge the scale of the public health crisis arising from deaths and injuries on the roads of developing and emerging countries, the recommendations of the World Report on Road Traffic Injury Prevention , the global call for action from World Health Assembly Resolution WHA57.10 (Road safety and health) and UN General Assembly Resolutions 56/289, 60/5 and 62/244 (Improving global road safety).

Systematic, multisectoral response

2.    We recognize that a systematic, multisectoral response is required to address this global crisis including interventions that improve the safety of road infrastructure, vehicles, road user behavior and post-crash services, and we support the principles of the Safe System approach  aiming at (i) developing road transport systems prevention, reduction and accommodation of human error; (ii) taking into account social costs and impacts of road trauma in the development and selection of investment program; (iii) establishing shared responsibility for road safety among all stakeholders; (iv) creating effective and comprehensive management and communications structures for road safety; and (v) aligning safety management decision making with broader societal decision making to meet economic, human and environmental goals, and to create an environment that generates demand for safe road transport products and services. We recognize the relevance of this approach to all countries irrespective of their economic or road safety performance. More specifically, we note that a significant and sustained contribution to fatality reduction will come from road infrastructure safety improvements.

Shared approach

3.    We also recognize that our respective organizations expect to remain significantly engaged in the provision of road infrastructure in developing and emerging countries over the coming decade, and beyond, and we commit to  share our organizational practices and knowledge to support (i) the strengthening of road safety management capacity of our clients; (ii) the implementation of safety approaches in the design, construction, operation and maintenance of road infrastructure projects, particularly  to improve safe access and protection for vulnerable road users who represent a significant proportion of the people served by the projects we finance; (iii) the improvement of safety performance measures; and (iv)  the mobilization of resources for road safety.

4.    To achieve this approach we will share the complementary skills and practices we each develop in our respective operations in the areas of:

(i)    Strengthening road safety management capacity

  • Help establish country-specific mechanisms for improving road safety management functions and safety practices aiming at achieving the sustainable, effective, and cost-efficient reduction of road casualties.
  • Create awareness for safety in order to achieve informed decisions by countries on the planning, design, construction, operation and maintenance of road infrastructure assets and networks.
  • Improve communications, cooperation, and collaboration among global, regional and country institutions in the area of road safety and facilitate the dissemination of up-to-date safety-related information.
  • Provide our staff development and training to facilitate the successful implementation of shared procedures, guidelines and related tools.
  • Contribute to the training of transportation safety professionals in developing and emerging countries by financing efforts such as the development of road safety education programs, manuals and training materials promoting good practices related to road safety, to facilitate the implementation of improved road safety practices and procedures.

(ii)    Implementation of safety approaches in the planning, design, construction, operation and maintenance of road infrastructure projects

  • Develop shared procedures, guidelines and related tools to implement a safety approach to the planning, design, construction, operation and maintenance of road infrastructure projects.
  • Ensure that safety is integrated in all phases of planning, design, construction, appraisal, operation and maintenance of road infrastructure.
  • Promote the adoption of good practice, proactive approaches to improve the safety of road infrastructure including the use of road safety audits, road safety inspections, and road safety impact assessments.
  • Develop specific approaches to address the safety requirements of vulnerable road users (pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists), including a special focus on urban areas where a high proportion of trauma occurs.
(iii)    Improvement of safety performance measures
  • Promote the establishment of sustainable management systems for road crash data collection, entry, verification, storage, retrieving and analysis, including GIS-based applications.
  • Promote the use of good practice quantitative and qualitative indicators to measure safety results.
  • Promote the development, piloting, and objective validation of innovative safety indicators, such as the safety rating of roads.
(iv)    Mobilization of resources for road safety
  • Transfer road safety knowledge and experience across and within our organizations, and to our global, regional and country partners.
  • Support the mobilization of additional domestic and external resources for road safety.
  • Support the mission and goals of the Global Road Safety Facility in its promotion of innovative solutions to road safety issues.
  • Establish as needed an expert technical group comprising staff from our respective organizations and international specialists to assist in the development of shared approaches to road safety.
  • Identify, and pursue opportunities for scaling up road safety in countries strategies.

Timetable for action

5.    We will commence the development and implementation of this shared approach to managing road safety immediately and we will meet in 2010 to assess progress of the implementation of this statement.

1. The findings, interpretations, conclusions and agreements reached in this statement do not necessarily reflect the views of members of the governing bodies of the organizations party to this agreement or the governments they represent.
2. Eds. Peden M, Scurfield R, Sleet D, Mohan D, Hyder A, Jarawan E, Mathers C (2004). World Report on Road Traffic Injury Prevention, World Health Organization, Geneva.
3. OECD, International Transport Forum (2008). Towards Zero. Ambitious Road Safety Targets and the Safe System Approach, Joint Transport Research Centre, OECD/ITF, Paris.