Road safety in youth commitments at SDG Summit
Leaders from around the world have joined young people in launching commitments to tackle the major issues facing adolescents and youth during the SDG Summit in New York.
Road safety featured prominently, with governments including pledges to address the road traffic injury burden on young people during a high level event at UN headquarters on 19 September.
The FIA Foundation has worked with Governments and partners to help mobilise commitments that were being launched at the SDG Summit. Governments launching and highlighting commitments at the SDG Summit included: Canada, Botswana, Honduras, India, Liberia, Mali, Mexico, Portugal and South Africa.
The event was part of the 1.8 Billion Young People for Change campaign, calling for action on adolescent well-being, coordinated by the Partnership for Maternal Newborn Child and Adolescent Health (PMNCH). Other partners involved in the event and campaign included Plan International, WHO, UNICEF and UNFPA.
The SDG Summit marked the midway point in the 2030 agenda, with world leaders focusing on the transformative and accelerated actions needed to achieve global sustainable development priorities.
The FIA Foundation has worked closely with partners in Botswana, Mexico and South Africa to ensure that road safety is included in their SDG commitments for adolescents and young people. Kabo Morwaeng, Botswana’s Minister for Presidential Affairs addressed the event at UN Headquarters. He said: “The Republic of Botswana stands resolute in our unwavering commitment for the well-being of adolescents and young people.
“Road safety is a priority that we will be focusing on, alongside major concerns such as gender based violence, addressing HIV/AIDS and comprehensive sexuality education.”
In a call to action for adolescent well-being, President of South Africa Cyril Ramaphosa said that selected adolescent health interventions can yield a “ten-fold return on investment”, bringing not only health but social and economic benefits. South Africa’s new national commitment which is being developed by Ramaphosa’s Presidency includes, among other priorities, a focus on low speed road safety measures on the school journey which are being implemented by the FIA Foundation’s partner ChildSafe South Africa.
At the high level 1.8 Billion for Change Campaign event, which was hosted by Minister of Foreign Affairs from Honduras Eduardo Enrique Reina, leaders emphasized that a thriving adolescent and youth population is critical to achieving the SDGs. As well as improving road safety, SDG pledges made by Governments included priorities such as: accelerating action on adolescent pregnancy; mental health; increasing access to quality education; action on gender based violence; comprehensive sexuality education; provision of sexual reproductive health services.
Former Prime Minister of New Zealand and PMNCH Chair Helen Clark said: “It is vital that we accelerate action for adolescents. The SDG Summit provides a critical opportunity and it is encouraging to see governments step forward with their commitments for adolescent well-being. We must ensure follow-up and implementation.”
The FIA Foundation was represented by Africa Youth Ambassador Oliva Nalwadda. She said: “Young people across Africa have been demanding action. We want our governments to step forward on all the major issues we face whether it be providing safe environments including action on road traffic injury which is the biggest killer of young people, access to education, support for mental health or action on issues such as sexual reproductive health and rights. This is a moment to shine the spotlight on the needs of adolescents and young people. We must keep up the pressure to make sure our leaders deliver.” FIA Foundation Board Member and African Union Commissioner for Infrastructure, Energy and Digitalisation Dr. Amani Abou-Zeid also addressed the high level event and highlighted the importance of both road safety and ensuring the safety of adolescent girls and young women in transport.
A first ever Global Forum for Adolescents on 11-12 October follows the SDG Summit event. Aiming to unite young people in the largest-ever gathering for adolescent well-being, the Global Forum for Adolescents is part of a global campaign to mobilize political and financial commitments for this important population.