By Margarita Plotnikova
On 7 December 2011, the Ukrainian Road Safety Association (URSA) identified the Global Road Safety Partnership as one of its six partners, presenting the Partnership with an annual award for road safety action and promotion of partnerships in Ukraine. The award was an instrumental part of efforts to the lay the groundwork for the UN Decade of Action.
The awards ceremony was organised by the URSA, and included several prominent Ukrainian politicians, ambassadors of neighbouring countries, representatives of international and national organizations, business companies and public organizations supporting road safety initiatives.
“At this event, we take an opportunity to reinforce previous partnerships and also establish new ones that will help realise the objectives of the UN Decade of Action for road safety in 2012,”stated Michael Berlin, URSA President. “We aim to increasingly attract the attention of politicians, media and businesses, and to promote the idea that only with partnerships can we reverse the road safety crisis in Ukraine and around the world” he added.
According to the Ukrainian Ministry of Infrastructure, across the country each day 11 people are killed by road crashes while 90 are seriously injured. These figures place Ukraine fifth highest in Europe according to death rates on the roads. In 2010 alone, 4,709 people were killed and 38,917 injured as a result of road crashes.
“In order to move forward, Ukraine is putting all efforts and energy into the creation of an effective road safety management system,” says Kathleen Elsig, Global Road Safety Partnership Regional Manager for Europe and Central Asia. “The commitment by all relevant stakeholders to set a common objective – namely to prevent road crash death and injury on Ukraine’s roads – is at the core of this system. The Global Road Safety Partnership is honoured by the award, and proud to be working with the Ukrainian Road Safety Association to help develop this approach,” she said.
Set up in 2008, the Ukrainian Road Safety Association has been active in promoting road safety issues among the population, including education in schools, social research and advocacy. In November 2011, the All-Ukranian Road Safety Week, “Partnership for Safety”, was organized jointly by the URSA, the Ministry of Infrastructure and Ministry of Interior.
Momentum for road safety is clearly building with these sustained efforts. In 2011, the Ukrainian President called for active participation in the Decade of Action for road safety, followed by a high-level political commitment on the side of the Ukrainian Parliament, which has established a working group on road safety. The awards ceremony is another important step in the promotion of road safety in Ukraine, leading the way into 2012.