UN, iRAP enter new partnership to better road safety

The United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) and the International Road Assessment Programme (iRAP) have joined forces to enhance support of the road safety sector by improving the quality of road infrastructure and implementing targets for road safety.

Shown from left: UNOPS Country Manager Oscar Marenco, UN Philippines Resident Coordinator Gustavo Gonzalez, Department of Transportation Undersecretary Anneli R. Lontoc, Todt, Quezon City Mayor Josefina ‘Joy’ Belmonte, Smith, and UNOPS Senior Road Safety Specialist Miguel Angel Serrano.

The two bodies have established a partnership to enhance support for the road safety sector, in line with global targets and agendas, to improve road infrastructure quality and reduce the number of fatalities and injuries on roads worldwide by implementing evidence-based tools and training. By collaborating on advocacy, capacity-building, knowledge sharing, and technical assistance, the partnership aims to support road safety projects globally.

UNOPS and iRAP signed the agreement in Manila on April 13, with the presence of Jean Todt, UN Special Envoy on Road Safety and former president of the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), as part of the Road Safety Initiative.

The agreement will allow UNOPS and iRAP to work together in outreach and advocacy to improve global road safety, capacity-building activities, sharing and transfer of knowledge, and technical assistance on projects and project implementation, among others.

Every year, around 1.23 million people are killed and nearly 50 million are injured on roadways around the world. According to the World Health Organization, there is no greater threat to the lives of people between 5 to 29 years old.

The United Nations has called for greater global efforts to reduce traffic deaths and injuries by half by 2030. “One of the best ways to remember and honor the victims is by doing our part to make roads safer around the world”, said UN Secretary-General António Guterres, in his last message to mark the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims, observed annually every 20th of November.

In addition, the agreement will augment the mutual capacity and outreach of both organizations, allowing them to support countries toward a more comprehensive and robust road safety management and implementation approach.

Greg Smith, iRAP Global Programme Director, said: “Through this partnership, we have an opportunity to maximize the life-saving impact of safe road infrastructure in projects around the world, supporting the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2021-2030 and the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. This agreement means that countries could have support to design, inspect and receive evidence-based tools, training, and support to make their roads safe.”

Steven Crosskey, UNOPS Director of Infrastructure and Project Management Group, said: “Safer road infrastructure will save lives and reduce the suffering caused by serious injuries. UNOPS has valuable expertise to help governments to increase road safety, and this partnership with iRAP will enhance knowledge sharing and enable cooperation toward common road safety goals. UNOPS is ready to get to work on this vital initiative and we are confident that our partnership will, quite literally, build the roads to a better future.” (Story and photo courtesy of UNOPS)