Marrakech to Host Second Edition of Kofi Annan Road Safety Awards

Marrakech will host, between September 25 and 26, the second edition of the Kofi Annan Road Safety Awards, an event held under the auspices of the Moroccan government, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), the Secretariat of the United Nations (UN) Secretary General’s Special Envoy for Road Safety and the Kofi Annan Foundation.

As for the choice of the host country, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) stressed in a statement that Morocco, winner of the Awards’ first edition in 2022, was chosen thanks to its leading status in road safety in Africa, highlighting that a giant step was taken in 2020 in the Kingdom with the establishment of the National Agency for Road Safety (NARSA).

Quoted in the statement, Minister of Transport and Logistics, Mohamed Abdeljalil, stated that “as a country, we are committed to making our roads safer, as demonstrated by the establishment in 2020 of the National Road Safety Agency (NARSA).”

The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) stressed that this year’s edition of the Kofi Annan Awards seeks to encourage key stakeholders to develop and implement innovative initiatives to save lives on Africa’s roads, adding that the award will honor governments, private sector, civil society organizations, and individuals who highly contributed to Africa’s road safety.

Coinciding with this announcement is the 7th United Nations Global World Safety Week (UNGRSW), celebrated between May 15 and 21, under the theme “Sustainable Transport.”

This year’s edition urges governments to rethink mobility to promote safe and convenient walking, cycling, and public transport so that people can transition to active, sustainable mobility.

Safety must be at the core of efforts to reimagine how we move in the world. To ensure safety, road networks must be designed with the most risk in mind.

The United Nations (UN) held, in June 2022, the High-Level Meeting on Global Road Safety, during which UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, explained that unsafe roads are a key obstacle to development, stressing that safer roads promote sustainable development. 

Our goals are clear cut through traffic deaths and injuries by 50% by 2030 and promote sustainable Mobility with safety at its core,” stated Guterres, urging countries to raise awareness and foster more inclusive collaboration and closer coordination across sectors and stakeholders.

The UN official also stressed the need to take urgent measures to reduce the biggest road risks, such as speeding and driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) or any psychoactive substance or drugs, failure to use seatbelts, helmets, and child restraints, and unsafe vehicles. 

On a similar note, Guterres urged Member States to spread awareness about road safety, stating that “we need increased financing for sustainable and safe infrastructure, and investments in cleaner mobility and greener urban planning, especially in low and middle-income countries.”

The UN Chief underlined the need to adopt a more holistic approach to road safety, which necessitates better integration of Road Safety in National policies on education, health, transport, climate mitigation, and disaster response. 

“I encourage all member states to accede to the United Nations (UN) road safety conventions and implement whole-of-society action plans, taking a strong prevention approach,” urged Guterres, requesting donors to increase their financial and technical contributions through the United Nations (UN) Road Safety funds. 

The UN official added that every one of us has a role to play in making roads safer for everyone, everywhere, concluding that we can save lives, support development, and guide us to a world with safer roads.

Road safety is an important subject that everyone should pay attention to. Pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers must remember that roads are a shared space that should be respected and that any irrational behavior could result in serious repercussions not only on ourselves but also on others. 

Road Safety is a common responsibility and each individual must take the necessary measures to preserve it.

#RethinkMobility for better road safety!