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  • Writer's pictureMelo Acuna

Asia-Pacific Road Safety Observatory soon to rise...

Road Safety Observatory for Asia-Pacific expected to reduce crash fatalities

MANILA – The creation of the first regional Road Safety Observatory in the Asia and Pacific region was announced in Stockholm last Tuesday, a day before the 3rd United Nations (UN) Global Ministerial Conference on Road Safety.

The Asian Development Bank in its statement yesterday said the UN conference gathers ministers and policy makers worldwide to set the future direction for road safety action.

The Asia-Pacific Road Safety Observatory (APRSO) will support countries in the region in strengthening their capacity to collect, analyze, and share reliable road crash data with the objective of significantly reducing the number of road deaths and crash injuries in the region.

Estimates disclosed road safety crisis in the Asia-Pacific region reached epidemic proportions as more than 2,000 people die on the road every day while many more sustain serious life-changing injuries.

Road crashes result to massive human suffering and significant economic and social losses. Should the number of fatalities and injuries over two decades decrease, the ADB said it could result in an increase in the gross domestic product (GDP) per capita by up to 22% in some Asian countries as mentioned in a recent research by the World Bank.

Evaluating the performance of road safety interventions is essential to ensure investments are effective. However, the availability and quality of crash data that can benchmark effective policies varies among Asia and the Pacific countries.

The APRSO will address the need for data and promote cooperation, utilizing best practices and the upgrading of effective policies and evidence-based interventions across the region.

It will also use the experience of Latin America and Caribbean Road Safety Observatory (OISEVI) launched eight years ago which was launched in 2018.

It is a joint initiative of the World Bank, Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), the International Transport Forum (ITF), the United nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP), and the Asian Development Bank (ADB). The APRSO receives financial support from UK Aid coursed through the Global Road Safety Facility (GRSF) while technical support comes from the World Health Organization and UNESCAP.

“The gathering of reliable road safety data can drive long-lasting policy changes. I am pleased to see that a joint initiative of the FIA, the World Bank, and the ITF has led to the creation of the Asia-Pacific Road Safety Observatory. I represents a new opportunity for governments in the region to work with their partners in public health, transport, law enforcement, civil society, and the private sector to promote targeted interventions to reduce the number of deaths and injuries on the roads,” said UN Secretary-General’s Envoy for Road Safety and FIA President Jean Todt.

Meanwhile, Guangzhe Chen, World Bank’s Global Director for Transport and Regional Director for Infrastructure in South Asia said the APRSO resulted from a two-year process with the World Bank, Asian Development Bank ITF and FIA with consultations with many countries and regional institutions.

“The consultations revealed that there is strong political will to tackle the road safety crisis in the region, but that solutions must be based on evidence and tailored for each country’s reality. The World Bank and GRSF stand ready to support countries with sound policy advice and investments for safer infrastructure, enforcement and safer speed management, he added.

ADB Vice-President for Knowledge Management and Sustainable Development Bambang Susantono said the Observatory is a product of a “concerted effort from the development community to better support countries in Asia and the Pacific in their efforts to improve road safety.” (Melo M. Acuña)

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