Government commitment is crucial for enabling action towards the reduction of road crash death and injury.
The Ukrainian Road Safety Association, working in cooperation with the Global Road Safety Partnership, recognizes the importance of visible government leadership in road safety. At the beginning of summer this year, the Ukrainian Road Safety Association (URSA), submitted a simple request to the Prime Minister’s Office of Ukraine for a meeting between heads of state and the heads of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) working on road safety in the country. The purpose of the meeting was to report to the Prime Minister on the current situation on the roads, with a view to developing strategies to combat the growing road safety problem.
The meeting took place on July 20 this year at the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine. Acting Director of the Bureau of the World Health Organization in Ukraine, Igor Pokanevych and president of URSA, Mikhail Berlin (seen here, left, with Prime Minister Mykola Azarov), reported on the road safety situation to the Prime Minister, who in direct response said: “The situation on the roads is gaining epidemic proportions. Therefore, we must act immediately”.
The participants agreed to hold a special meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine on road safety, the body responsible for making government decisions regarding road safety. This meeting was held just two weeks later on August 8, and concluded with approval for the concept of a State Target Programme, designed to improve road safety in Ukraine until 2016.
The Prime Minister has further set a task to ministries and other government agencies to develop a detailed, long-term national plan of action on road safety until 2020, that is in line with the United Nations Decade of Action plan 2011-2020. The Prime Minister has instructed the government agencies to seek comments and advice from NGOs including URSA.
In a demonstration of the power of positive advocacy, the Ukrainian Road Safety Association (URSA), in cooperation with Global Road Safety Partnership, is now actively working with the state executive and legislative authorities responsible for road safety in Ukraine with direct input into decisions made by government.