New E-book Highlights Africa’s Road Safety Challenges, Calls for Continued Efforts

E-book launched from collaboration of United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), and International Alliance for Responsible Drinking (IARD)

Geneva, Switzerland – 23 March 2015 – The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), and the International Alliance for Responsible Drinking (IARD) launched a publication today focused on improving road safety and reducing drink driving in Africa.

Preventing Drink Driving in Africa is the outcome of the UN Road Safety Conventions and Approaches to Preventing Drink Driving workshop, organized by the three institutions and held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in November 2014. The e-book includes new survey results on road safety issues across the African continent, updates on the implementation of the African Road Safety Action Plan, and recommendations and international good practices to improve road safety. It also includes videos and presentations from the workshop.

The consequences are grim: road traffic injuries are among the three leading causes of death worldwide for people between 5 and 44 years of age, and the leading cause of death for young people aged 15–29. Overall, more than 1.3 million people worldwide are killed in road crashes every year.

The new e-book contains recommendations on UN road safety instruments from the delegates of more than 40 Member States and sub-regional and regional organizations who participated in the Addis Ababa workshop, including representatives of national road safety authorities and councils, two United Nations regional commissions, and non-governmental organizations. These recommendations include providing African nations with more UN capacity-building support in implementing provisions of UN road safety conventions, and exploring increased engagement with the private sector in applying road safety laws and regulations, with a particular focus on the transportation of dangerous goods.

“As international road transport grows, the United Nations road safety instruments increase in significance by providing a common framework for national standards and legislation. However, not all governments are familiar with these instruments and in many countries—particularly in low income regions—the number of Contracting Parties is relatively small,” said Eva Molnar, Director, Transport Division, UNECE.  “We stand ready to share its expertise on how to accede to and how to effectively implement United Nations road safety conventions.”

“Poor road safety causes avoidable death and devastation, with low and middle income countries most affected.” said Ann Keeling, President and CEO, IARD. “But in the last few decades many countries have seen significant improvements. We know what works. This publication, and the collaboration behind it, provide a resource for countries working to implement solutions and we are proud to have been part of the process.”

The e-book also includes a status update on the implementation of the African Road Safety Action Plan, launched in 2011. The plan is designed to address Africa’s road safety crisis through efforts ranging from improvements in infrastructure and vehicle safety to education, legislation, and enforcement. The plan follows the five pillars of the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety: road safety management, safer roads and mobility, safer vehicles, safer road users, and post-crash response.

“Rapid economic growth has made it critical for many African nations to more aggressively address road safety issues,” said Stephen Karingi, Director, Regional Integration and Trade Division, UNECA. “By bringing governments and transportation stakeholders together this fall in Addis Ababa, and building on that collaborative effort with this publication, we are moving toward real progress in implementing the African Road Safety Action Plan and UN road safety instruments.”

“By working together and combining resources, it is possible to bridge the capacity gap and continue to reduce drink driving in Africa,” said Brett Bivans, Senior Vice President, IARD. “We look forward to continuing to collaborate on the issue of road safety in Africa and in other developing regions, and to doing our part in advancing the recommendations contained in the e-book.”

The UN Decade of Action for Road Safety calls for increased action at the national, regional and global levels in service to the UN’s goal of stabilizing, and then reducing, the forecast level of road traffic fatalities around the world. Preventing Drink Driving in Africa is an extension of a broader cooperation between IARD and UNECE to increase the awareness of government officials in regions outside of Europe about the UN road safety instruments and effective approaches to preventing drink driving.

The Preventing Drink Driving in Africa e-book is available online at


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