Shell renews partnership in the Middle East and North Africa

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By Thalia Rahme

The Partnership agreement between Shell and the Global Road Safety Partnership in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) was renewed and extended for the year 2012. The occasion brought two senior Shell representatives to Beirut; Steve Brigg, Vice President Health, Safety and Environment & Sustainable Development (HSE&SD), MENA, and Hendrik Moorrees, Shell Road Safety Manager for MENA. They held series of meetings with the Beirut based Global Road Safety Partnership team for the Middle East and North Africa, as well as with Ibrahim Osman, head of the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent’s MENA Zone.

shell-renews-partnership-in-the-middle-east-and-north-africaThe discussions revolved around the means to strengthen the partnership to improve road safety in the region and set up road safety activities that would generate direct benefit to communities in the region in 2012. A special focus was put on scaling up both internal and external communications.Shell showed a special interest in the EU-funded project “Capacity building and support to the road safety in MENA” and stressed on the importance of synchronizing road safety work in the region to avoid duplication and maximize impact. We met with Steve and Hendrik and asked them about Shell’s involvement in Road Safety in the region and the challenges ahead:

Shell invests a lot in Road Safety, why?

Steve: First of all it is about respecting people working with us and the communities in which we operate. We must do our best to eliminate deaths or injuries on the roads and within our operations.  Our objective is to reach goal of zero road fatalities in our operations, and in the countries we operate in. Road safety affects others hence our involvement in the wider environment, with communities.

What is your particular interest in the MENA region?

Steve: Statistics show that countries in MENA region have some of the highest road traffic fatality rates in the world. Shell is very active in this part of the world, and therefore we must focus on road safety as part of our work in the region.

What are in your opinion the challenges to Road Safety in our region?

Steve: There are many challenges and these vary from country to country. There are challenges regarding compliance with the laws and with law enforcement. The main challenge though is how to change attitudes so that, for example, it simply becomes unacceptable not to wear a seat belt when travelling in a motor vehicle. We have achieved real progress in Shell by applying our 12 “Life Saving Rules” where four of them are related to road safety.

How important is the multi-sectorial partnership is to Shell? 

Steve: It is very important as we are working with Governments, contractors, local companies, etc. Road Safety crosses all areas so we have to work in partnership with others.

How would you assess Shell’s collaboration with the Global Road Safety Partnership in the MENA region?

Steve: Shell has a good working relation with the Global Road Safety Partnership, in particular in the MENA region. The organization has good relationships with government and private organizations, as well as other stakeholders, and is seen as a neutral platform, which is one of its main strengths. Through our partnership with GRSP we are part of a broader network and we can achieve more results in Road Safety.

A final word about Shell’s commitment within the “Decade of Action”?

Hendrik: Shell is very supportive of the decade and that reflects in various ways; the decade was launched throughout the entire organization, we carried out several road safety projects with that respect and within the framework of our Social Performance program, such as national in-country campaigns, and local activities.

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