GRSP CEO Andrew Pearce’s end-of-year message: Increasing alignment in road safety brings results

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Two and a half years ago, I was asked what it was that I felt was holding back the global road safety movement.  “Fragmentation and lack of investment”, I said, “and it’s the fragmentation that causes the lack of investment, so all we really need to do is create alignment!”

Two years on, and with the really hard work of many organizations, we are seeing global alignment happening at an ever-increasing pace, and we are seeing additional investments as well.

We’ve seen the alignment around the November 2009 Moscow Ministerial Conference, and over 100 countries co-sponsoring the UN Resolution “Improving Global Road Safety” of March 2010.  There is a growing recognition that it is the energy in the vehicle (or our own bodies) that does the damage in a road crash, and that the Five Pillars for Action outlined in the resolution give us a framework for response. The resolution recognises the key role of multi-sector partnership that is needed in order to bring effort on the five pillars all together into a coherent whole.   And of course we now have acknowledgement on the significant role that organizations play in improving the quality of work-related road safety.

On the ground, we’ve seen the alignment (and the increased investment) around the “Road Safety in Ten Countries” project, the important global collaboration with the World Health Organization, Johns Hopkins University and others involved in that work.  We are creating collaborations around the second five year phase of Global Road Safety Initiative witha more focused approach in supplementary regions.

We have leading European partners in the Save our Lives multi-country project. We see increasing alignment among the key on-the-ground delivery organizations, like iRAP and ourselves.  We are seeing new sources of energy visibly joining up to the global alignment, such as the Red Cross/Red Crescent National Societies, our new partners like Sesame Workshop and the World Rescue Organisation.

We’ve seen countries, regions and cities aligning around the concept of business, government and civil society partnership using the Global Road Safety Partnership model – we have gone  from 12 countries in 2007 to nearly 25 countries in 2010, in addition to another 20 city or regional partnerships. Partnership not only works, once people get the taste for it, they like it too!

Alignment bringing results

Most important, we are seeing alignment in results.  We see that using good practice approaches in partnership result in real changes on the ground: Seat Belts in Russia, drinking/driving reductions in China and Poland, Safe Routes to School in South Africa, Helmet Wearing in Thailand and Cambodia, and city partnerships in Brazil.

In the last six weeks I have been in Nigeria, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Australia. Every single one of these countries is directly and purposefully aligning its road safety plans with the Decade of Action. And of course my own travels reveal just the tip of the iceberg. It is a visible, tangible, exciting piece of alignment of which GRSP is an integral part.

We can be proud of what our team has achieved so far, and how we are gearing up for the future. The launch of the Decade in May 2011 is going to open the door to many concrete, measurable results on the ground. My prediction?  We are going to change the game and exceed even our own expectations. Partnership will play a crucial role in overcoming this 100 per cent man-made crisis.  Let’s go for it!

Together we can save millions of lives.
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