Supporting Traffic Safety Information System of Countries in South East Asia

14 Jun 2019
Bangkok, Thailand
By invitation only

The improvement of road safety is a top priority for developing countries in South East Asia. While the average ESCAP road traffic fatality rate remains at about 18-19 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants from 2013 to 2016, the average rate in the South East Asia sub-region had improved from 21.44 to 17.85 in the same period. Within the ESCAP region, the top three countries with the highest average road traffic fatality rate in 2016 were in South East Asia (Thailand at 32.7, Viet Nam at 26.4 and Malaysia at 23.6).

The majority of South East Asian countries are also lower middle-income economics. Given that 90 per cent of global road traffic crashes occur in low and middle income countries, improving road safety in South East Asia will help meet the targets set under the United Nations Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011–2020 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which include goals relevant to road safety and sustainable transport.

The Ministerial Conference on Transport at its third session, held in Moscow in December 2016, adopted eight regional road safety goals and targets for Asia and the Pacific, with the overall objective of a 50-per cent reduction in fatalities and serious injuries on the roads of the region in the run-up to the end of the Decade of Action for Road Safety.

The updated Regional Road Safety Goals and Targets for Asia and the Pacific 2016-2020

Additionally, with a view to promoting regional road safety standards along the Asian Highway network, the ESCAP secretariat, in close collaboration with the Korea Expressway Corporation, worked on harmonizing road safety infrastructure facilities along the Asian Highway routes, during 2015-2017. As a result of the initiative, a new annex to the Intergovernmental Agreement on the Asian Highway Network – annex II bis, entitled “Asian Highway design standards for road safety” – was adopted at the seventh meeting of the Working Group on the Asian Highway, held in Bangkok in December 2017. As per article 8 (5) of the Agreement, this new annex will enter into force 12 months after two thirds of the parties to the Agreement have deposited an instrument of acceptance with the Secretary-General, either directly or through the ESCAP secretariat, which stands ready to assist in the process.

Asian Highway Design Standards for Road Safety

With the above background in mind, the United Nations ESCAP and the International Transport Forum (ITF) co-organized a meeting on road safety which focused on recent developments in South East Asia on road safety and linkages to regional and global initiatives and processes. The meeting was supported by the Government of the Republic of Korea. Country delegates from the South East Asian member countries and representatives from development partners including the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the World Bank and the World Health Organization (WHO) participated in the meeting.

The workshop was an opportunity to discuss:

  • Existing road safety conditions and initiatives in South East Asia
  • The importance of road safety data and crash data systems for developing effective road safety policies
  • The development of a Road Safety Observatory for Asia and the participation of South East Asian countries
  • Global initiatives, including the 3rd Ministerial Conference on Road Safety
  • Global network for Road Safety Legislator, regional network for South East Asia

The meeting recognized the road safety as a sustainable development challenge and re-affirmed that improving road safety data management systems and strengthening collaborative efforts would be necessary towards improving road safety in South East Asia member countries as well as in the ESCAP region.