STATEMENT
At the occasion of the
84TH SESSION AND 75TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE INLAND TRANSPORT COMMITTEE: 22-25 FEBRUARY 2022
At
PALAIS DES NATIONS, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND, ROOM XIX
3RD SPEAKER BETWEEN 1500 HOURS TO 1645 HOURS:-PANEL II- ACHIEVING A DECADE OF DELIVERY FOR ROAD SAFETY

SALUTATIONS:

The Moderator, Mr. Young Tae Kim, Secretary General of the International Transport Forum;

Your Excellency, the Chairperson of the Inland Transport Committee, Mr. G. Gilkinet;

Your Excellency, Chairperson of the Economic Commission for Europe, Ms. Elisabeth Tichy Fisslberger;

Your Excellency, Ms. Tatiana Valovaya, Director General of the United Nations Office in Geneva;

Your Excellency, Ms. Olga Algayerova, Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Europe and Secretariat;

The United Nations Secretary General’s Special Envoy for Road Safety, Mr. Jean Todt;

Your Excellences, Ministers responsible for Transport of Member States of the United Nations here present;

Distinguished delegates;

Ladies and Gentlemen.

Your Excellences, Ladies and Gentlemen;
It is an honor and privilege to contribute to the debate under Panel II of the 84th Session of the Inland Transport Committee (ITC) titled “Achieving a decade of delivery for Road Safety. The constructive debate has strategically coincided with the 75th Anniversary of the ITC which is aptly themed: 75 Years of ITC-Connecting countries and driving sustainable mobility.

In that vein, allow me to acknowledge the exceptional leadership of the ITC for steering its work in the policy environment of road safety, in balanced manner and to the satisfaction of all. Your ability to facilitate a conducive environment for deliberating on pressing road safety issues in our various jurisdictions, should be remembered as a hallmark of your stewardship.

Your Excellences, Ladies and Gentlemen;
I wish to reiterate that Zimbabwe is committed to continuous interaction with the United Nations System and adoption of good practices and international standards on Road Safety. In view of that commitment, Zimbabwe will steadfastly cooperate with the multilateral system to strengthen its road safety programming. Cooperation with the multi-lateral system on road safety is a reaffirmation of our national leader, His Excellency, the President, Cde, Dr. E.D. Mnangagwa’s mantra that Zimbabwe is open for business.
Your Excellences, Ladies and Gentlemen;
Zimbabwe joins the United Nations family in shaping the attendant discourse, underpinned by the critical question that is among the top policy priorities for governments around the world on: how we can turn the second decade of action into a decade of delivery for Road Safety. In addressing the question, it is imperative for us to come up with modalities on how best we can contribute to the global Target of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) on road safety, which seeks to halve the number of global deaths and injuries from road traffic accidents. Despite strong and consistent efforts by Member States, we have failed to achieve the said target by the Year 2020 as previously benchmarked.

Your Excellences, Ladies and Gentlemen;
In the Global South, as number of vehicles increase, road crash fatalities and casualties have continued to grow disproportionately. While our counterparts from the developed world have fared comparably well in adopting sustainable measures to reduce the number of global deaths and injuries from road traffic accidents, in developing countries we remain entangled in the legacies and inequalities of the past. The race for economic development, accompanied by insufficient road infrastructure development, compounded by a disproportionate growth vehicle population and road crashes and fatalities remain a cause for concern.
In Zimbabwe for example, a traffic crash occurs every 15 minutes, over 35 000 crashes occur annually, an average of at least 5 people are killed every day, over 1 800 people die every year and over 10 000 people are injured annually. The past decade has convinced us that with these worrying statistics, the business as usual approach will not bring any meaningful improvements. We have thus sprang into action and are raring to go.

Your Excellences, Ladies and Gentlemen;
The 84th Session of the ITC, which coincides with its 75th Anniversary has come at a momentous time when we in Zimbabwe have adopted a seminal blue print, the National Development Strategy (NDS) 1 (2021-2025). The NDS 1 envisages that by 2025, Zimbabwe should achieve high quality and efficient public transport service, leveraged by a safer, efficient, affordable, accessible and smart multimodal transportation system, covering both the rural and urban areas, with the view to reduce road accidents and fatalities by 25% margin per annum. Today’s deliberations therefore offers a platform to sharpen, capacity build and encourage each other to strengthen our resolve to work towards a robust road safety management system going forward.

Your Excellences, Ladies and Gentlemen;
We should note also shy away from confronting the practical challenges that our Governments in the global south have faced in meeting the SDG targets on Road Safety. The negative effects of Covid-19 have impacted all sectors of the economy. The disruption of civil works, mobility and value chains and redistribution of resources meant for developing and modernising transport infrastructure towards basic livelihoods are just some of the direct consequences of the pandemic.

Further, the impact of climate change and variability are becoming more evident, with increased incidences of cyclones and floods which have extensively damaged our transport infrastructure and routes. This has left our transport infrastructures in a bad state, negatively impacting on our contribution in reaching the global target. While in Zimbabwe climate-change adaptation and resilience is being mainstreamed into national policy, it remains a challenge which needs joint remedial innovations within the framework of the ITC.

Your Excellences, Ladies and Gentlemen;
Despite the robust engagement and re-engagement efforts by Zimbabwe, illegal unilateral coercive measures imposed by some Western countries remain an albatross to our efforts towards achieving the set road safety targets. The debilitating effects of unilateral sanctions affect all sectors of the economy including the transport sector. We are however indebted to the SADC block for its landmark decision to declare 25 October, each year, as the date on which SADC Member States collectively call for the lifting of sanctions imposed on our country. I also want to use this opportunity to rally the international community to encourage countries which have imposed sanctions on us to lift them, as they are hurting the ordinary people and frustrating our efforts towards meeting the Global Road Safety targets.

The recent visit to Zimbabwe, by Professor Alena Douhan, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights vindicated our concern. We are upbeat that her independent, evidence-based report will cause a reconsideration amongst those who continue to impose punitive measures, and who continue to deny the impact of their collateral damage.

Your Excellences, Ladies and Gentlemen;
The 84th Session has come at a time when we have undertaken the Zimbabwe Road Safety Performance Review which produced a Report that was launched on 12 January 2022. The review was carried out to assist Zimbabwe’s road safety management capacities and to improve the national road safety record. On that note, we pay special tribute to the Office of the Special Envoy on Road Safety, Mr. Jean Todt, the UNECA Secretary- General, Vera Songwe and the UNECE for their unwavering support throughout the review process.

Your Excellences, Ladies and Gentlemen;
Surely, the Review Report is a game changer. We are hopeful that it will sharpen and make good our road safety programming going forward. The scientific and evidence-based findings have laid bare the gaps that exist in our road safety management system. We are upbeat that the recommendations proffered by the experts shall adequately checkmate our deficiencies, with the view to propel structural, institutional and administrative transformations, leveraged by a robust legislative framework.

Your Excellences, Ladies and Gentlemen;
The Report has some notable and ground-breaking recommendations which we cannot ignore. As we implement the recommendations around the main pillars of road safety management, we will galvanise our national road safety management system through updating the regulatory framework to include international and regional recommendations through the accession to the UN Road Safety Conventions. In this regard, we hope to continue working closely with UNECA and UNECE.

Excellences, Ladies and Gentlemen;
As I conclude, I want to assure you that we remain optimistic of dealing with the challenges which we face in achieving the SDG target on Road safety. Zimbabwe embraces smart, win-win partnerships and sustainable cooperation with multilateral stakeholders within the ITC Framework. Allow me to reiterate Zimbabwe’s commitment towards the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2021-2030, which set the ambitious target of preventing at least 50 per cent of road traffic deaths and injuries by 2030.

We have no doubt that this vision will be achieved as Zimbabwe has launched Vision 2030 which seeks to chart the country’s new development trajectory, anchored on the collective aspirations and determination of the people of Zimbabwe to achieve a Prosperous and Empowered Upper Middle Income Society by the year 2030.

I THANK YOU.

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