The closing meeting of the Transport Corridor Europe-Caucasus-Asia (TRACECA) Road Safety II project funded by the European Union (EU) was held on 18 and 19 February 2016 in Tbilisi with the participation of 90 high-level representatives from the key government and civil society stakeholders of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan. Representatives from the EU, United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and European Investment Bank (EIB) joined to discuss the main outcomes and impact of the project and to identify the next steps necessary to scale up the impact of the project activities in the beneficiary countries.
The meeting was hosted by the Ministry of Sustainable Development and Economy of Georgia with the organizational support by the Georgian Red Cross, one of the project partners.
TRACECA Road Safety II project, funded by the EU and implemented in 10 countries in Eastern Europe, Southern Caucasus and Central Asia, is designed to assist the implementation of the Regional Road Safety Action Plan produced by the EU in 2011. The project brings together governments and civil society to actively promote the safety and security of road users, the public, property and the environment within the Europe-Caucasus-Asia region’s transport corridor.
The project has two components: one on the road safety management and the other on capacity building. The part of the project led by the Global Road Safety Partnership outlines a suite of initiatives to build capacity within government and civil society, promote long-term and sustainable partnership and knowledge sharing, and increase collaboration and cooperation within the Eastern Europe, Caucasus, and Central Asia sub-regions. The GRSP implements the project activities working in close partnership with the Eastern Alliance of Safe and Sustainable Transport (EASST) http://www.easst.co.uk/, Red Cross and Red Crescent societies and road safety civil society organizations in the beneficiary countries.
The participants of the conference, recognizing the urgent and growing problem of road safety in the TRACECA region which takes 19,000 lives each year, causes 200,000 injuries and costs the region around US$ 17 Billion annually (approximately 4% of total annual GDP of the region), developed a draft declaration of Tbilisi “Together for Safer Roads in the TRACECA Region” that will be presented to the relevant ministries of the participating countries for adoption. The declaration outlines nine commitments in the areas of 1) data collection; 2) institutional and capacity development; 3) road standards; 4) vehicle safety; 5) road safety laws and enforcement; 6) awareness and education; 7) post-collision care; 8) regionally shared approach and 9) research and teaching.Through the current declaration, the participants not only committed to working together to make the roads safer in the TRACECA region but also called upon their governments, the international financial institutions (IFIs) and donors to assist and support them in their efforts to reduce deaths and injuries in the region which are now resulting in losses to their economies that are far in excess of the development aid the region receives annually.