Why we need a UN Special Summit on Adolescent Health.

There is a fatal disconnect in global policy for child & adolescent health.

Every year, an estimated 350,000 children and adolescents are killed in road traffic crashes or by the effects of urban outdoor air pollution, to which road traffic is a significant contributor and factor. Road traffic is the leading cause of death for adolescents worldwide.

The international community knows this is happening. It is data from global institutions that records the suffering. So these are not hidden or ignored issues. Yet they are neglected. There is data analysis and policy announcement, but no follow-through, little action. The global health community’s policy journey is unfinished.

And it is this disconnect which every day results in thousands of real unfinished journeys; which every year costs hundreds of thousands of young lives. Because the failure to follow through with a major campaign of political action, funding and practical implementation is killing and injuring our young people on our streets every single day. And it is the poorest, most excluded, children and adolescents who are often most affected.

Our Action Agenda

Our campaign is endorsed by global experts, see their call to action

To fix this gap between evidence and action, we are calling for the following:

  • A first ever UN Special Summit on child and adolescent health to raise visibility, build political commitment and deliver action and resources for neglected areas of public health;
  • A Global Commission on Road Traffic-related child health issues, to coordinate a response and report urgently to the UN Secretary General;
  • Specific indicators and funding for road traffic-related health policies and solutions within ‘Every Woman, Every Child’, the UN’s global strategy for child and adolescent health;
  • Joint action with climate funds, to scale up ‘healthy streets’ policies designed to enable safe walking and cycling, improve air quality and reduce carbon emissions.

Campaign with us. These are our streets

These are our streets. We should have a say in how they are designed and used, to protect our children and young people and put their needs first. If you support our campaign, add your name to the call for a UN Special Summit on Adolescent Health.

If you would like to get more involved, head over to our Every Journey, Every Child campaign site at www.mystreet.org to see how you can advocate in your community, join our #thisismystreet global community action, help us persuade politicians of the need for change, and fight for the mobility rights of every child.

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"I know what it’s like to lose a child. No parent, no family, should have to suffer such pain. My daughter, Zenani Mandela, was killed in a road crash just after her 13th birthday. Her life was taken away, just as it was beginning.

Every day, thousands of families around the world suffer as mine has, their loved ones killed or seriously injured on the roads. Road traffic is a growing threat to our children: injury is combining with respiratory disease from toxic emissions to pose an unacceptable health burden upon our young. We have the solutions and we know exactly how to save lives. We know how to protect our children and keep them healthy. Yet far too little is being done.

This is why we’ve launched the Every Journey, Every Child campaign. We’re calling for action to uphold fundamental child rights that are being violated every single day. Every child must have the right to safe and healthy streets, to reach school without facing the violence, and the daily harm caused by road traffic. No child should be robbed of their future. Join the call for action now. For every child, and every life."

Zoleka Mandela, #thisismystreet campaign ambassador