Annals of Health Law
MAKING A POSITIVE IMPACT
Hosted by the Russian Federation, the two-day Ministerial Conference
brought heads of government, ministers, and leaders from the public, private,
and not-for-profit sectors together in order to address the issue. The title and
chilling opening paragraphs of the speech of Lord Robertson, Chairman of
The Commission for Global Road Safety, says it all:
Terrorism on the Roads
As a former NATO secretary-general, I am familiar with the cold calculus
of potential body counts applied in assessing threats to national security.
But I’m still taken aback by our collective failure to face up to one of the
gravest and most preventable security risks facing people across the world
– the risk of death and disability on the world’s roads.
This year 1.3 million people will die on the world’s roads. About 40 times
this number will be seriously injured. The vast majority of these deaths and
injuries – 90 percent of the total – will occur in developing countries. In
most of the world’s poorest countries “death by traffic” is a bigger killer
than major disease. Road injuries kill more children aged 5 to 14 in poor
countries than malaria or AIDS. And they are the single biggest killer of
15- to 29-year-olds. The threats associated with roads massively outweigh
those posed by terrorism. Each day, road accidents cause a loss of life
equivalent to 10 jumbo jet crashes.”87
Road safety was thus, for the first time, reframed as a humanitarian issue. It
was also reframed as a developmental issue and an economic issue, both of
which could no longer be ignored by the world at large. The Ministerial
Conference called for political leadership, for collaboration and partnerships,
and for best practice.88 The event culminated in the signing of the Moscow
Declaration, which “[ i]nvite[d] the United Nations General Assembly to
declare the decade 2011-2020 as the ‘Decade of Action for Road Safety’ with
a goal to stabilize and then reduce the forecast level of global road deaths by
2020 . . .”89
In declaring 2011-2020 as the Decade of Action, the Moscow Declaration
calls upon Member States to seek innovative and best-practice solutions.
Five pillars, which spanned the entire road safety spectrum, were articulated
87. Lord George Robertson, Terrorism on the Road, First Global Ministerial Conference
on Road Safety, Speech to the Opening Session of the First Ministerial Conference on Road
Safety Moscow (Nov. 19-20, 2009).
88. See generally Ward, supra note 81.
89. WHO, First Global Ministerial Conference on Road Safety: Time for Action, Moscow
Declaration (Nov. 19-20, 2009), http://www.who.int/roadsafety/ministerial_