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Road safety experts and officials from ECOWAS member states deliberate and consider uniform and achievable measures to curb the astronomical rise in fatalities from road accidents

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Road safety experts and officials from ECOWAS member states deliberate and consider uniform and achievable measures to curb the astronomical rise in fatalities from road accidents

The ECOWAS road safety policy will set the Regional Vision and will be accompanied by a regional regulation or a road safety charter with commitments from member states

ABUJA, Nigeria, September 21, 2021 / APO Group / –

The ECOWAS Commission, on September 15-16, 2021, brought together heads of road safety agencies, transport ministries and other government officials responsible for road safety policy in member states to review and examine proposals for an ECOWAS regional road safety policy, safety regulations, action plan and monitoring and evaluation framework. The workshop, held in Lagos, Nigeria, was also attended by the West African Federation of Engineering Organizations and virtually by the African Development Bank.

The World Health Organization in its 2016 publication on road safety reported more than 6,000 fatalities on average on the roads of ECOWAS member states. These deaths continue to rise and far exceed the number of deaths resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic in the region. Like a pandemic, the ECOWAS Commission works with member states to put in place protocols and prevention measures through a common regional framework with best practice strategies aligned with the United Nations Decade of Action for Security. road 2021-2030. This will ensure harmonized concerted actions to tackle this threat, as it costs more to do nothing.

Opening the 2-day workshop, the Commissioner for Infrastructure of the ECOWAS Commission, Mr. Pathé Gueye, highlighted the grim situation of road-related deaths in the region. The commissioner said “…. the situation is alarming and continues to be a worrying phenomenon, given that the average death rate in the ECOWAS region is about five times higher than the average death rate in the EU… ”. Globally, the WHO estimates that around 1.3 million lives die in road accidents each year, with young people aged 15 to 29 being the most affected. It is in this context that the ECOWAS Commission, within the framework of the 11th EDF transport governance project financed by the EU, launched a study to prepare a regional road safety policy framework, an action plan and a monitoring and evaluation mechanism to guide the coordinated and harmonized improvement of safety on our roads. The study is carried out by experts recruited as part of a technical assistance project, subcontracted to PLANET Consulting.

The Commissioner denounced the gloomy road safety situation in the region and called on the authorities of the Member States to support the ECOWAS Commission in the finalization of regional policy framework documents in order to allow their timely submission to the Council of ECOWAS ministers in December 2021 for their adoption for regional candidacy.

The road safety policy for the ECOWAS region aims to drastically reduce the number of road fatalities and injuries, with an emphasis on the highest possible safety standards through joint road safety strategies of the CE-DEAO; integrated approach with other policies (health, legal, environment, employment, etc.); shared responsibility between the main relevant agencies / authorities at national and regional levels; improvement of standardization (infrastructure, vehicle safety, attitude of road users, operations and post-accident care); and alignment with other societal goals to increase investment in road safety with appropriate training of professionals and skills development.

In line with the Pillars of the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2021-2030 adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in August 2020, with the theme “Improving road safety in the world”, and an ambitious goal of preventing at least 50% of road traffic deaths and injuries by 2030, the ECOWAS Road Safety Policy Framework addresses issues of road safety management, safer roads and mobility, safer vehicles, users safer road and post-crash response.

The ECOWAS road safety policy will define the regional vision and will be accompanied by a regional regulation or a road safety charter with commitments from member states to improve road safety through the eradication of identified risk factors. It will also have an action plan with SMART measures to lead all ECOWAS member states to a desired and coordinated end result. The monitoring and evaluation of results are also an integral part of the regional dynamic to reduce the carnage on the roads of the Community.

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