The handshake between Alan Ross, a road safety expert and one of the founders of the Global Road Safety Partnership, and Ibrahim Osman, responsible for bringing road safety to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), and current director of the IFRC Middle East and North Africa zone office, is by no means an ordinary one. The results of what these two men helped create twelve years ago will have an impact on many generations to come.
From the beginning, Ross and Osman have shared a common goal – a world free of road crash and injury – and together they set out on a journey to make it happen. Their shared vision helped launch the Global Road Safety Partnership, and to build a lasting partnership with the IFRC. Meeting once again during the statutory meetings, Ross and Osman had a moment to reflect on the beginnings, the success and challenges ahead:
“In the beginning, I was explaining to everyone that road crash death and injury is a serious problem,” stated Ross. “Eventually with the support of the World Bank, we established Global Road Safety Partnership, and Ibrahim was willing to create a home for it within the IFRC. Without that I don’t think we could have got to where we are today.”
For Osman, the hosting agreement between the IFRC and the Global Road Safety Partnership was a logical decision. “Road safety is a mission,” said Osman. “It should be regarded as a humanitarian issue and not only a technical one.”Ross could not agree more. “Everybody understood immediately once the Red Cross Red Crescent was on board that this is a disaster,” he commented. “There is no common knowledge on what constitutes a road safety expert, and one of the things we needed was identification. Ibrahim helped bring that critical dimension to our work. I thank him for that.”
During the statutory meetings, the main objective for Ross and Osman was to advocate for a renewed commitment to tackling the road safety crisis among 192 States and the 187 National Societies.
“These meetings demonstrate a new beginning. We are involving more than ever before, National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and States in the solution,” explained Osman. “There a growing momentum we can build on here,” added Ross.
Together, Ross and Osman remind us of not only how far we have come in the twelve years since they originally met, but they also remind us that road safety does remain a global problem, and everyone should put their hands together, as Ibrahim and Alan did, to help solve this crisis.