MENA: A regional road safety approach kicks off

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Introducing a culture of road safety in the Middle East and North Africa region has never been easy. Yet it has never prevented the Global Road Safety Partnership from making efforts, and now the hard work of previous years has crystalized into an active work plan for 2012, coupled with a financial commitment to make it happen.

With one million Euro, the European Union is entrusting the Partnership to carry forward a three-year, capacity building and support project in ten countries: Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, the Palestinian Authority, Syria and Tunisia. This project will be further supported by the renewed collaboration with the leading global company, Shell, and their provision of USD 100,000 in addition to critical staff and logistical support in the region.

“The investment that the Partnership has put into road safety over the years will undoubtedly strengthen our efforts. And the current support provided both by the EU and Shell serves as an important catalyst to advance road safety in the region”, explained Sandra Arbid, Junior Specialist at the Global Road Safety Partnership based in Beirut.

The renewed commitment by Shell coupled with support from the EU will create an efficient synergy, and help extend the reach of the Partnership in MENA. With additional staff and logistical support from Shell, the Partnership will have the opportunity to work with countries in the region that are not covered by the EU project, such as Iraq and Oman.

To help carry the work forward, a highly motivated team of four staff are now on board supporting the MENA Regional Manager to achieve the short and long-term goals. Together, they share an immense sense of dedication, and are driven by the belief that the reduction of road crash deaths and injuries in the region is possible.

“With such a strong partnership, we are confident that decision makers involved in road safety at the highest level will be on board with our efforts”, continued Arbid. “We look forward to bringing all actors together and being a part of this tremendous change for road safety in the region.”

The team will encourage beneficiary countries to envisage a regional collaboration, which complements existing programmes and strengths of each partner, in order to ensure sustainable results.

During the first phase of the E.U. project, taking place in the beginning of 2012, a series of visits will be made with the support of Shell to the selected countries, in order to collect data and conduct a needs-assessment. Implementation of the project will kick off once the assessment and planning phase is concluded, and including regional workshops on road safety management. The first workshop is scheduled to take place in mid-April. The overall aim is to build in-country partnerships that lead road safety programmes towards a common goal.

The collaboration between the Global Road Safety Partnership in MENA, Shell and the European Union not only provides a confident start to 2012. More importantly, it demonstrates the strength of placing partnership at the core of tackling the road safety crisis, revealing the potential impact that we can have when road safety actors come together – ultimately making a difference on the roads, and in the lives, of families everywhere.

For more information please contact Samar Abouraad, MENA Regional Manager

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