• More support needed from governments and donors to achieve UN Sustainable Development Goals.

The Multilateral Development Banks Road Safety Working Group announced today, at a meeting in Leipzig, Germany, that seven of its members had committed $3.6 billion to road safety initiatives in developing countries between 2018 and 2022. Three standalone road safety projects in Bangladesh (World Bank), India[1] (Asian Development Bank and World Bank) and Romania (European Investment Bank) totalled $912 million in financing, which is more than one-quarter of the amount approved by seven of the working group members during this timeframe.

These commitments come in response to a global health crisis that kills 1.35 million people on the world’s roads every year. 93% of these fatalities occur in developing countries.

Despite these sizeable contributions, more is needed to achieve the United Nations’ goal of halving road fatalities in low- and middle-income countries by 2030. As motorisation rates increase across the developing world, already-high fatality rates are likely to escalate. A minimum of $200 billion in additional financing is needed to improve road safety measures and meet the UN goal. Closing the financing gap will be challenging and scaling up the contributions by governments and multilateral development banks will require a commensurate increase in grant funding to support their country engagement process and catalyse action.

“The EIB Transport Lending Policy prioritises support for transport that is safe and helps accelerate the sustainable transport systems of tomorrow. Together with the other multilateral development banks, we remain committed to playing our part in supporting our partner countries’ priorities in halving road fatalities and injuries worldwide by 2030,” said EIB Vice-President Lilyana Pavlova.

“There is an urgent need to increase road safety financing for low- and middle-income countries, and multilateral development banks are already playing a vital leadership role in helping to achieve this,” said Nicolas Peltier-Thiberge, global director for transport at the World Bank. “Increased donor support will be crucial in strengthening their engagement with country counterparts and accelerating the implementation of larger and more effective road safety projects and programmes.”

Established in 2009, the Multilateral Development Banks Road Safety Working Group is made up of ten member institutions[2] that are uniquely positioned to support low- and middle-income countries in reaching their considerable and challenging road safety financing needs. Multilateral development banks are already major financiers of transport projects in these countries and approved a total of $50 billion in road and urban mobility financing between 2018 and 2022, averaging around $10 billion per year. This high level of lending for the road and urban mobility sectors is set to expand and provides a significant opportunity to increase road safety financing.

“Road safety is underfunded in most low- and middle-income countries. As we approach the middle of the second UN Decade of Action, we need to boost financing and coordinate our efforts to drive down the rate of road crash fatalities and injuries, many of which are preventable. The Multilateral Development Bank Working Group will continue to emphasise the importance of this issue and set the course for future collective actions,” said Ana María Pinto, transport division chief at the Inter-American Development Bank.

Multilateral development banks’ engagement with governments and their agencies is the invisible but necessary ingredient to help low- and middle-income countries substantially increase their road safety financing. Ready access to grants that can catalyse road safety investment projects creates strong incentives for countries to work more closely with multilateral development banks. It amplifies and sustains the process and ultimately its financing outcomes. For this reason, increased donor support for engagement with country counterparts will be crucial to future success.

The Global Road Safety Facility (GRSF), a multi-donor trust fund hosted by the World Bank, is well-positioned to support the efforts of multilateral development banks to boost road safety financing. It provides funding, expertise and technical assistance to these banks and governments in low- and middle-income countries. Between 2011 and 2020, the facility disbursed $74 million, which catalysed $2.35 billion in road safety financing under the World Bank’s transport sector lending programme. It is now beginning a new phase in which it aims to significantly increase road safety financing over the coming decade.

The working group members called on governments and the private sector to ramp up funding in line with the UN 2030 goal of halving road crash deaths and injuries. Group members called specifically for additional support for the GRSF and greater donor contributions. In addition, the working group committed to review road safety performance in low-income countries, by promoting lessons learned from large standalone projects, enhancing procedures for tracking road safety financing from multilateral development banks in low- and middle-income countries, and sustaining ongoing efforts to harmonise road safety policies and practices across the banks.

To contribute to road safety, the EIB revised its Transport Lending Policy last year. This aims to support the transport sector’s transition to a decarbonised and clean economy. The policy reflects the contributions of a public consultation and prioritises a secure, accessible, green and efficient way of meeting the growing transport demand in Europe and beyond, moving away from fossil fuels to more sustainable solutions. Eligibility for EIB support for transport projects will continue to be determined by the guiding principles outlined in the Climate Bank Roadmap, which sets Paris-aligned investment criteria.

For more information, please refer to the full report: Multilateral Development Banks Road Safety Financing in Low and Middle-Income Countries: 2018-2022

Multilateral Development Bank Road Safety Working Group members:

African Development Bank, Asian Development Bank, Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, Development Bank of Latin America, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, European Investment Bank, Inter-American Development Bank, Islamic Development Bank, New Development Bank, and World Bank.

[1] The India State Support Program supported by the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank is awaiting approval by the Government of India.

[2] African Development Bank, Asian Development Bank, Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, Development Bank of Latin America, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, European Investment Bank, Inter-American Development Bank, Islamic Development Bank, New Development Bank, and World Bank.