The Global Road Safety Partnership may be a relatively small global organization, but its partnership approach has translated into an impressive global reach, with a wide range of actions, projects and programmes in 35 countries.
That was the impression that many attendees took home from GRSP’s annual meeting, held at Hotel de la Source, June 1-2 at Renault’s famed World Series auto event at the Francorchamps circuit in Spa, Belgium.
“The scope and breadth of what the Global Road Safety Partnership is doing is quite impressive,” said Matthias Schmale, Under Secretary General of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and member of GRSP’s executive board. “I was impressed by how much this organization is doing by working with its many partners around the world.”
Representatives from GRSP partnerships and projects in Latin America, Southeast Asia, Africa, Europe, the Middle East and North Africa addressed the gathering, recounting the progress made on a variety of fronts:
- In-country partnerships of private business, civil society groups and government agencies reported on drinking-and-driving initiatives in Poland, seat-belt campaigns in Hungary, child safety projects in South Africa and comprehensive road safety systems in Brazil, among many other examples.
- The second phase of the Global Road Safety Initiative, the world’s largest private-sector road safety collaboration (administered by GRSP) has expanded into Africa while continuing its range of targeted road safety interventions and capacity building efforts in Asia, Brazil and China.
- Through the Road Safety in Ten Countries (RS-10) project, funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies, GRSP is working to build the capacity of agencies in 10 low- and middle-income countries to enhance data collection, improve strategic enforcement and create more effective social marketing campaigns, among other actions.
- As part of the RS-10 project, GRSP is also involved in new advocacy efforts aimed at helping legislators improve national road-safety laws. “It’s about trying to strengthen and improve road-safety laws and legislation through influencing high-level decision makers, opinions makers and the public,” said Ryan Duly, the Mekong programme manager for GRSP based in Bangkok, Thailand.
- Participants also learned about the Road Safety Grants Programme, a new GRSP-administered project launched in 2012 as part of RS10. The grants programme seeks to strengthen the capacity of NGOs to advocate for improved road-safety policy and action. (Applications are restricted to RS-10 countries: Brazil, Cambodia, China, India, Kenya, Mexico, Russia, Turkey and Vietnam).
- Meanwhile, a new European Union-funded programme being administered through GRSP’s Middle East and North Africa zone seeks to build up road safety institutions and management in Southern Mediterranean countries, from Morocco to Lebanon. “The EuroMed Transport programme focuses on delivering materials and tools about good-practices to key decision makers,” said Sandra Arbid, a junior road safety specialist for GRSP’s MENA zone. “We are encouraging decision makers to form multi-sector advisory groups so they can move forward, implement result-oriented pilot projects and improve road safety situation.”
- Building on the success of GRSP’s presence at last year’s International Conference of the Red Cross Red Crescent, numerous Red Cross and Red Crescent National Societies have signed pledges, submitted by GRSP, to work with their country governments to improve road safety management (see related story). GRSP also recently became a reference center of road-safety expertise for the global Red Cross Red Crescent network.
These are just some of the projects and achievements discussed at the meeting (for more, please see www.grsproadsafety.org). But GRSP leaders also acknowledged at the meeting that the organization itself needs to increase its capacity in terms of funding, membership and new partners in order to meet the growing demand for road safety expertise around the world.
“The achievements have clearly been great,” said Patrick Lepercq, Chairman of the Global Road Safety Partnership, who addressed the gathering. “But there are still many challenges we have to face in order to achieve our goals. We need to do more and do better to make sure our families, communities and countries will be able to enjoy safer roads and safer travel.”