Thursday, November 4, 2010

Cambodia Hosts Road Safety Seminar to Highlight Asian Road Safety Innovation

Phnom Penh, November 4, 2010 AKP --

More than 150 leading road safety experts, practitioners, business representatives and government officials from around the world are gathering in Siem Reap, Cambodia's Northern province on Wednesday for a particular topic on the Global Road Safety Partnership's (GRSP) Asia Road Safety Seminar, reported Chinese News Agency Xinhua.

In a statement released by Handicap International Belgium, it says it is a three-day key regional event in which participants will share strategies for reducing road-crash related injury and discuss the implementation of the United Nations' Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020.

This year's event is being run with the support of the Government of Cambodia through its National Road Safety Committee (NRSC).

Asia has a critical role to play in addressing the road safety crisis,” said Andrew Pearce, CEO of GRSP. “A region with diverse cultures, growing economies and rapid motorization, Asia is at the front-line of the road safety crisis, suffers heavily from a crisis that claims 1.3 million lives worldwide annually.”

“Fortunately, Asia has also become a hotbed for road safety innovation, where best practices have proven to make a difference in changing behavior and reducing road crash related death and injury,” he said.

And he added that “those attending the seminar will hear about numerous cases in which multi-sector road safety interventions in Asia have provided proven, life-saving results and inspired other efforts around the world.”

Some of the road safety interventions to be featured include: Programs to promote helmet use in Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam that have led to quantifiable increases in helmet wearing, and in the case of Cambodia and Vietnam, they resulted in clear reductions in motorcycle related death and injury.

The speeches will cover road infrastructure projects in Malaysia, Philippines, Vietnam, South Korea and Bangladesh using the latest technology to identify safety issues and design road improvements, as well as the updates on projects in China that have improved safety pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists.

The GRSP Asia Road Safety Seminar has become a key platform for developing effective responses to this global, man-made humanitarian crisis.

Each year, 1.3 million people are killed on the world's roads and 90 percent of these fatalities are in developing countries.

This death toll is set to rise dramatically over the next decade unless action is taken. In March this year, the United Nations passed a resolution calling for a Decade of Action for Road Safety in 2011-2020.

Sharing speech at the opening of the seminar, Sou Phirin, governor of Siem Reap province said, “I would like to inform that death resulting from road accidents has worryingly increased day to day. Road accident has become a main subject of serious concern to the Royal Government of Cambodia, which has considered it as 2nd biggest catastrophe after AIDS.”

He recalled the report filed by Road Crash Victim Data System (RCVIS) which showed that over the last five years, the number of crashes and fatalities has increased by almost doubled.

“Almost 90 percent of road crash casualties are motorbike riders, pedestrians and bicyclists. As a result, road crashes in 2009 caused 1717 people died and had an enormous impact on the social and economic welfare of Cambodia with an estimated annual cost of US$248 million,” he was quoted as saying.

The seminar has been supported over the years by GRSP through its corporately funded Global Road Safety Initiative (GRSI) program, with funds provided by Ford, General Motors, Honda, Michelin, Renault, Shell and Toyota.

This year's event is also supported by the International Road Assessment Program (IRAP), FIA Foundation, Asian Development Bank, and Western Pacific Regional Office of the World Health Organization (WHO).

GRSP is a global partnership between business, civil society and governmental organizations collaborating to improve road safety conditions around the world.

It was initiated by the World Bank Group in 1999, and is a hosted program of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). GRSP undertakes a range of activities in low and middle income countries worldwide, ranging from program delivery and demonstration projects to capacity building and advocacy. --AKP

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