The EU has among the safest roads in the world accounting for only 2% of the estimated annual 1.35 million fatalities worldwide. The Commission and EU Member States have a wealth of experience in road safety policy-making and engage with other world regions to promote progress in the area.
1. Cooperation at a global level
UN General Assembly Resolution on road safety
At the 3rd Global Ministerial Conference on Road Safety in Stockholm (February 2020), Sweden presented the Stockholm Declaration, with strong support from the European Commission. The Declaration provided guidance for the decade ahead and paved the way for a UN General Assembly Resolution on road safety, adopted in August 2020. This includes a new reduction target of 50% fewer road death and injuries by 2030, in line with Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target 3.6.
UN Road Safety Trust Fund
The EU is a contributor to the UN Road Safety Trust Fund which was established in 2018 as a UN Multi-Partner Trust Fund. Its mission is to finance - and leverage further funding for - high-impact projects in low- and middle-income countries based on established and internationally recognized best practices that increase road safety and minimize and eventually eliminate road crash trauma for all road users. The European Coordinator for road safety, Matthew Baldwin, is the current chair of the Advisory Board.
Cooperation with United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE)
The EU speaks with one voice on vehicle regulations (World Forum for Harmonization of Vehicle Regulations, Working Party 29), is Contracting Party to two agreements on vehicle regulations1 and was very active in setting up a dedicated working party on automated and connected vehicles (Working Party on Automated/Autonomous and Connected Vehicles, GRVA). The EU is assessing how its role can be reinforced, in particular as a potential amendment of the Vienna and Geneva Conventions on Road Traffic in relation to the deployment of automation is currently being discussed in the Global Forum for Road Traffic Safety (WP1) of UNECE.
1 See Council decisions 97/836/EC and 2000/125/EC.
EU funding in support of international road safety 2021-2027
In addition to its contribution to the UNRSF, the Commission will continue to provide funding for road safety initiatives throughout the world. The main instrument is the Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI) – ‘Global Europe' for the next MFF period (2021-2027). Horizon Europe, the EU's key funding programme for research and innovation, will also offer some additional funding opportunities. The first calls were launched in July 2021 on the Funding and Tender opportunities portal.
2. Cooperation with pre-accession and neighbouring countries
Road safety is an important topic in the EU’s partnership with pre-accession and neighbouring countries. These include countries in the Western Balkans – Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia, Kosovo, Montenegro and Serbia – and Eastern Partnership countries – Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine.
Both regions signed Road Safety Declarations (Western Balkans and Eastern Partnership) in 2018 reaffirming existing commitments and providing political support for targets, regional cooperation and exchange of best practices. The EU is supporting them in their implementation, in particular by sharing best practice and supporting capacity-building.
One of the priorities of the work with the Eastern Partnership is the establishment of a Regional Road Safety Observatory (RRSO). To this end, the Commission is working closely with the World Bank. In July 2021, Georgia was selected to host the RRSO Technical Secretariat which should be set up by the end of 2021.
The establishment of the Western Balkans Transport Community (TC) Secretariat, with permanent dedicated staff for road safety, provides further support and assist the Western Balkan partners. The TC prepared a new Western Balkan Regional action plan for road safety, adopted in October 2020. The TC, with support from the Commission, is working closely with the six countries to ensure its implementation. In addition, the Commission is continuing to offer, through its technical assistance CONNECTA, additional support on implementing agreed reform measures related to road safety as well as financial support endorsed at the Poznan Summit (July 2019) to eliminate identified blackspots on priority sections with high accident rates with fatalities and serious injuries.
In July 2021, the TC established a Regional Road safety Observatory for the Western Balkans.
In May 2022, the TC launched an awareness campaign on railway level crossings.
3. Co-operation with Africa
Road safety was one of the fields chosen in 2019 for intensified cooperation with the African continent in the framework of an EU-Africa Transport Taskforce, organised jointly by the European Commission and the African Union (AU) Commission. African road traffic death rates are the highest globally and more than four times higher than the European average.
The final report of the Taskforce, published in 2020, contains a chapter on road safety with 13 specific recommendations to reduce road crash injuries. The recommendations address five main priority areas, namely road safety management and data collection, infrastructure safety, vehicle safety, safety of road users and post-crash care. The Commission is working closely with the African Union to ensure the recommendations are implemented, in particular the establishment of an African Road Safety Observatory.
4. Co-operation with ASEAN
5. Useful sources with country-specific information and guidance for third countries
- WHO Global Status Report on Road Safety: https://www.who.int/publications-detail/global-status-report-on-road-safety-2018
- World Bank Global Road Safety Facility: Country Profiles for low and middle income countries and various topic guides: https://www.worldbank.org/en/programs/global-road-safety-facility
- United Nations 12 Global Road Safety Performance Targets developed by the WHO
- A guide to assist countries to monitor and report on the above-mentioned targets, published by Global Road Safety Partnership and the Belgian VIAS Institute