Violence and Injury Prevention

Collaboration with road safety advocacy NGOs

WHO has engaged with nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) advocating for road safety and road traffic injury victims for more than a decade.

“NGOs are a key part of the road safety equation in countries, as they make road safety an issue which is personal, real and in need of urgent attention. They are instrumental in generating a demand from the public for safer roads, and when they base their interventions on evidence about what works, they can contribute in significant ways to saving lives on the roads.”

Dr Etienne Krug, Director, WHO Department of Violence and Injury Prevention and Disability

Following an initial collaboration around World Health Day 2004 “Road Safety is No Accident”, WHO has co-hosted three global meetings of NGOs. The meetings allow for sharing knowledge, experience and best practice; building skills in areas such as advocacy for legislative change, media engagement and evaluation; and facilitating coordination around major global events.

Regarding the latter, each edition of this series of meetings has been held prior to a milestone on the global road safety calendar, namely the Second UN Global Road Safety Week (2013), the launch of the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020 (2011), and the First Global Ministerial Conference on Road Safety (2009), allowing participants to define common approaches, messages and activities.

Similar in form and content to the global meetings, WHO has in recent years also hosted - often for the first time - national meetings of road safety NGOs to foster synergies around shared objectives. Such gatherings have taken place in Brazil and India, and have facilitated information sharing and steps towards building national networks.

WHO has also supported the establishment of the Global Alliance of NGOs for Road Safety, which was officially launched in April 2012. The Alliance, with more than 140 members active in more than 90 countries, serves to galvanize NGO collaboration in support of road safety and road traffic injury victims.

Through its web site, the Alliance profiles each of its members, with information about who they are, where they operate, and what projects and activities they lead. The Alliance regularly updates on opportunities in global road safety, including upcoming events and possible sources of funding. Since its inception, it also takes the lead in planning and hosting the series of global meetings.

To support its members, WHO and the Alliance released in late 2012 the joint publication Advocating for road safety and road traffic injury victims: a guide for nongovernmental organizations. The document, which targets NGOs operating with limited resources, offers guiding principles and strategic approaches for targeted advocacy and highlights practical, replicable projects with case studies from Argentina, China, Egypt, Mexico, Republic of Tanzania, United States and Uruguay. The guide gives NGOs wishing to apply to the Bloomberg Philanthropies Road Safety Grants Programme an indication of the types of concrete activities they might propose.

In addition to the above, WHO supports preparations for the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims, which is held annually on the third Sunday of November. Endorsed by the UN General Assembly in 2005, and by the European Parliament and the African Union in 2011, this Day is dedicated to remembering the many millions killed or injured in road traffic crashes each year and their families and communities.

The World Day of Remembrance is increasingly marked by governments and NGOs around the world. Each year WHO prepares a statement of support in the name of the Chair of the UN Road Safety Collaboration.