From 22-23 May, officials from the Ministry of Transport, road safety authorities, and road safety practitioners gathered from southern Mediterranean countries in Brussels for a workshop, with the objective of discussing road safety management in their respective countries. An unprecedented meeting for partners in the region, the workshop, titled, “Road Safety Management”, is the first in a series of activities that will be carried out by GRSP MENA under the framework of its EU-funded project, “EuroMed Transport: Support to the MENA Road Safety Programme“. The activities of the programme will be coordinated with the other EuroMed programmes and projects in the region.
One of the central aims of the workshop was to establish a common language and understanding of good practice for road safety management. However the main goal was to identify potential pilots projects in designated countries, which could be implemented with the assistance and expertise of GRSP MENA.
Topics on the agenda during the two-day workshop included:
- What is road safety management?
- Institutional functions in road safety,
- Role and importance of a lead agency, its prerogatives, roles, authority
- Importance of results-focused projects
- Importance of legislation and enforcement provided it comes along with behavioral change
- Importance of data
- Partnership building
“We are very happy to be here”, explained one of the workshop participants. “This is the first time we gather like this, and this meeting is important because it gives us an opportunity to learn from each other, and avoid repeating the same errors”, he stressed. “It is never too late to start”, pointed out another participant.
Divided into working groups, participants also identified the main risk factors in their countries in order to set their priorities. While speed remains the leading cause of crashes in the region, pedestrians and two-wheelers are emerging ones that need to be addressed seriously and quickly.
Attendees agreed that the “human being is the center of this system, and also the key to the solution” and that is where focus is needed. Some pointed to it as a cultural issue as well. “We drive the same way we behave”, as one of individual indicated.
Other issues were also debated along with GRSP experts, such as social marketing, the safe systems approach, means to monitor progress, and investing in road safety: expenditure or saving, etc.
Participants will soon meet again for a workshop on data management and law enforcement. Meanwhile, they will try to set a workplan for their respective in-country projects, which will be reviewed and discussed with GRSP experts during their visits to each of the beneficiary states.
For more information please contact Samar Abouraad, MENA Regional Manager at [email protected]