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Justin Runji's picture Justin Runji
Country commitments towards road safety

Was the decision by African Ministers of Transport requiring countries to increase funding for road safety by setting aside 5% of road maintenance and 10% of road investment resources too ambitious?
 
At the Second African Road Safety Conference in November 2011 convened by the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) the African Road Safety Action Plan 2011-2020 was formulated.  The action plan was subsequently endorsed by the African Union Conference of Ministers of Transport and adopted by the Heads of States in Luanda in January 2012. The overarching objective of the Plan was, and still is, to reduce road traffic crashes by 50% by the year 2020. Under the Pillar 1 of the UN Decade of Action on Road Safety Management, countries agreed to established and strengthened road safety lead agencies as one of the strategies towards achieving the objective.  
 
To actualize the strategy, the Plan requires countries to allocate 5% of road maintenance resources and at least 10% of road infrastructure investment to road safety. The success indicator for the implementation of this particular decision was the number of countries that would have allocated 5% of road maintenance resources to road safety by 2016. The responsibility to implement and monitor process was saddled with the member countries, ECA, WB, AfDB, GRSF.
 
It could be argued that, by default, most of road maintenance work and a significant portion of road development cost relate to road safety improvement and that the contributions would equal to well over the 5 and 10 percent of the respective resources. However, this decision would not have been necessary if the existing approach was efficacious. The intention of the decision was to seek for more clarity and focus in funding and implementing road safety interventions - over and above the basic engineering inputs. Such additional interventions would include provision of more pedestrian friendly road environment, awareness creation, improved enforcement, and post-crash mitigations.
 
Two years before 2016, the monitoring cut-off date, it is not evident that member countries are aiming to implement this single aspect of the African Road Safety Action Plan. Could it be that the decision was too ambitious?