The 60th session of the UNECE (United Nations, Economic Commission for Europe) Working Party on Road Traffic Safety (WP1) took place on 29th September 2010 at the UN-ECE in Geneva.
At the occasion of the ILCAD press conference on 22nd June in Brussels, Eva Molnar, Director UN-ECE Transport Division, that covers 56 Member States, with more than 300 000 level crossings announced that UN-ECE was ready to host a multi-disciplinary group of experts including experts from road traffic safety, railway transport, road and railway infrastructure, where UN-ECE governments, international organisations (UIC), the European Commission and the stakeholders at large would be represented. She invited the UIC to take part as an observer in the meeting of the WP1 on 29th.
For further information on UNECE WP1 activities in the field of road safety:http://www.unece.org/trans/roadsafe/wp1film.html
The first session was dedicated to an exchange of experiences and best practices (road safety awareness campaigns, national legislations, analysis of accidents, cross border cooperation between the member States…).
The participants were informed by the secretariat about road-safety-related developments including major events that took place since its previous session
(see special editions of UNECE Weekly N° 387 http://www.unece.org/highlights/unece_weekly/weekly_2010/UNECE_weekly_2010-387.pdf and UNECE Weekly N°389 http://www.unece.org/highlights/unece_weekly/weekly_2010/UNECE_weekly_2010-389.pdf)
They informed on the global road safety campaign with the motto “We play and drive by the rules” that UNECE and the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) launched on 26th August at the Palais des Nations in Geneva at the occasion of the 2010 FIBA World Championship in Turkey and presented to more than 160 basketball federations attending a congress organised on 6th September in Istanbul, with the support of the different Basketball Federations, the Turkish National Police and the cooperation of the basketball players who had signed the “Declaration for road safety”.
A leaflet in English and Turkish has been issued to inform people around the world – especially the young people who are basketball fans or play basketball themselves – and to encourage respect for the rules, on the road as well as on the court. Then representatives of international organisations, the EC, national delegations, non governmental organisations, presented information on developments in their respective areas.
Among them Isabelle Kardacz, DG MOVE, presented the future European Road Safety Action Programme 2011-2020 with a new EU target to reduce road deaths by 50% by 2020. She addressed the non EU member states present in the session and insisted on the fact that a legal framework is really important to improve road safety in their countries. Road safety has been a priority for the European Commission during the last decade: 62 measures have been implemented so far:
The Belgian delegate then warmly invited the participants to take part in the third European Road Safety Days on 13 and 14 October 2010 in Brussels, Belgium, under the Belgian Presidency of the European Union.
Mr. Joël Valmain, Technical Advisor “Europe International” on road safety made a very interesting presentation on the road safety measures taken in France to decrease the number of fatalities on the road mainly through enforcement measures. The objective is to set up 4500 radars on the road by the end of 2012. One of them has been set up in June 2010 at a level crossing and this is only a start.
Isabelle Fonverne, from UIC, informed the participants on the ILCAD campaign. She took the opportunity to show the video clip “Just in time” financed by the European Commission. For further information please visit: www.ilcad.org. The next campaign is foreseen in June 2011 (date to be determined).
Eva Molnar, UNECE promised to support actively the campaign 2011.
The Road Safety Institute “Panos Mylonas” from Greece, that is also an ILCAD partner informed the Working Party of opportunities provided by the World Scout Jamboree to be held in Rinkaby, Sweden, from 27 July to 7 August 2011, with the participation of more than 40,000 scouts from 180 countries. Bearing in mind that road traffic injuries are the first leading cause of death for ages 15-19 years old and the second for ages 5-14 years old, this event represents an excellent opportunity to promote road safety among young people.
Isabelle Fonverne added that Israel Railways also worked with the scouts (Israel movement) in their ILCAD campaign on level crossings on 22nd June sending them 1000 t-shirts with safety messages on the back.
Joint session with the Working Party on Road Transport (SC1)
This session was chaired by Jan Kubis, Executive Secretary of the UNECE, who made an opening speech followed by Eva Molnar, Director of UNECE Transport Division.
In 2010, the 60th Anniversary of road traffic safety activities in the United Nations system coincides with the sixtieth session of the WP.1 and is celebrated through the joint meeting of the two historical working bodies (WP1 on road traffic safety and SC1 on road transport) which, through legal instruments and best practices, have made the difference in improving road safety and transport operations across Europe and far beyond.
One of the expected outcomes of the joint session was to identify common areas of interest, on which further cooperation could be developed, such as, but not limited to road safety in tunnels, infrastructure safety, training for professional drivers….
Simon Fletcher made a presentation on road/rail interfaces and more precisely on safety at level crossings.
Eva Molnar announced the wish of UNECE to create a multidisciplinary group (road/rail) and therefore requested from the Member States to write to her to express their written wish in this sense.
The 61st session of this Working Party on road traffic safety is scheduled to take place in Geneva from 21 to 23 March 2011. UIC have been again warmly invited to take part.