The UNECE Conference “Launching of the Decade of Action 2011-2020 for Road Safety in the UNECE region” hosted by the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Road Traffic Directorate, Ministry of Infrastructure and Road Traffic Safety Agency of Serbia took place on 27-29 April 2011 in Belgrade.
The conference was opened by Mr Ivica Dacic, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Internal Affairs, Mr Milutin Mrkonjic, Minister of Infrastructure and Energy, Mr Zarko Obravonic, Minister of Education and Mr Jan Kubis, UNECE Executive Secretary, Mr Nikolay Asaul, Deputy Minister of Transport of the Russian Federation, Mr Yauheni Poludzen, Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs of Belarus, Mr Spyros Vougias, Deputy Minister of Infrastructure, Transport and Networks of Greece and Ambassador Leonidas Chrysanthopoulos, Secretary-General of the Organisation of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation also addressed participants at the start of the conference.
The conference was attended by more than 100 participants and 30 speakers from the public sector, international and regional organisations, NGOs, the private sector and academia. Delegations were present from the Ministries of Transport, Public Works, Internal Affairs, Health and Education from 20 countries. The European Union also had a delegate. Among the conference participants were the representatives of the Organisation of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC), the Global Road Safety Partnership (GRSP), the International Road Transport Union (IRU), the International Road Federation (IRF), the International Union of Railways (UIC), the Automobile Association of Serbia, The Hellenic Road Safety Institute “Panos Mylonas”, the European Federation of Road Traffic Victims (FEVR), the International Road Safety Organisation (PRI) and the Hellenic Federation of International Road Transport (OFAE).
The conference marked the launch of the UNECE Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020 and provided an excellent opportunity for experts to present and discuss measures for improving road safety, sharing best practice and raising awareness. Many government delegations declared commitments to take actions as well as presenting national strategies and road safety casualty reduction targets for 2011-2020. Transport experts shared experiences from their respective countries in developing national road safety plans, setting targets and effectively implementing them. The EU presented its road safety policy including the 2020 EU road safety target of halving the overall number of road deaths.
The conference speakers gave examples of good road safety practices, and examples of awareness campaigns.
Isabelle Fonverne, UIC Coordinator of the International Level Crossing Awareness Day (ILCAD) had been invited to present the annual campaign to address the road users and pedestrians on the dangers at and around level crossings. 98% of all accidents at level crossings are caused by road users and pedestrians. Even if these accidents represent only 2% of all road fatalities they cause disruption to road and rail traffic and it is therefore vital that the rail community uses events such as this one that is focusing on road safety to get our concerns over to the road lobby.
ILCAD is a vehicle through which stakeholders from different sectors (road and/or rail safety authorities, rail or road infrastructure managers or operators, ministries of transport, non-profit education organisations, international organisations or institutions) work together to improve safety at this particular interface of road and rail. ILCAD is an annual event that takes place in June and involves partners on all continents of the globe.
ILCAD 2011 will take place on 9 June: keep this date free in your calendar. Participation is on a free and voluntary basis should you be interested in actively participating in your country.