As requested by the United Nations General Assembly, the Fifth United Nations Global Road Safety Week was held throughout Nepal from 6-12 May 2019. The UN Road Safety Weeks have been held in four times prior to 2019; in 2007, 2013, 2015 and 2017.
In Nepal, however, road safety week was first celebrated in an organized manner in 2013 through the involvement of Nepal Automobiles Association (NASA).
This year the UN launches “#SpeakUp to Save Lives” to call for higher demand of strong leadership for road safety in governments, UN agencies, and civil societies, and immediate actions are needed to protect lives. In the meantime, it inspires NGOs, foundations, schools and universities to resolutely implement the education and meaningful intervention in road safety. As the United Nations has announced 2011-2020 to be the Road Safety decade, this program has a huge importance, as this Road Safety Week is the last one in the Road Safety decade timeframe.
The UN, have proposed for a UN Ministerial Conference in February 2020, have not revealed their strategy thereafter.
Researches have shown that every year, 1.4 million people have been losing their life to road crashes around the globe. The situation, is even worse in the context of Nepal. It is much more of a sensitive topic than the fact that 3000 people have lost their lives to the accidents yearly. The fact that road crashes is the first cause of untimely death in Nepal. This is one of the many reasons as to why our economic and social aspects are being ruined.
5th UN Global Road Safety Week in Nepal
- Rally for Road Safety
The rally for road safety was organized in May 4. Around 100 women riders participated with their bikes and scooters. The rally, that started in Minbhawan ended in the Scouts parking situated in Lainchaur. The rally participants were given an orientation on Safe Riding and issues related to Leadership of Women in Road Safety were also discussed. The rally, which was organized by NASA Women Commission was conducted with the motto “We, The Riders”.
- Stand Up for Road Traffic Victims
Information and Human Rights Center conducted Stand Up for Road Traffic Victims in Nepalgunj. The lawyers and human rights activists from Nepalgunj made a vow to provide legal support to road crash victims. This program was made possible by NASA Nepal and other local organizations.
- Road Safety Leadership Training Program:
The Road Safety Leadership Training Program conducted by Nepal Motor Sports Club. It was inaugurated by the Inspector General of Nepal Police Mr. Sarbendra Khanal. The program, which consisted of participants from all the seven provinces of Nepal along with three other special areas, had a total of 35 participants. Training related to the theoretical aspects of road safety and leadership development. In addition to this, the participants presented their ideas that they will be conduct after the training.
- National Conference on Automotive Engineering
One of the major programs of the Fifth United Nations Global Road Safety Week was the National Conference on Automotive Engineering. The program, which was conducted by Institute of Automotive Engineering (IAE) – Nepal, in collaboration with the Kathmandu University; had over 200 participants from Mechanical, Automotive and Civil Engineering. Honourable Member of Parliament Mr. Yogesh Bhattarai inaugurated the conference in which 22 presenters presented on different issues. The programme was coordinated by NASA Nepal, co-organised with Nepal Aeromechanics Federation.
- Province Road Safety Conference
In this 5th UN Global Road Safety Week an important programme was conducted in Butwal. It was Province Road Safety Conference supported by by NASA Nepal’s member Safe Travel Campaign Nepal. The program was inaugurated by the physical infrastructure minister of Province 5 Hon. Baijnath Chaudhari. Around 100 people from Province 5 participated in the conference. There was participation of various Municipal Heads (Mayors) of Province 5, road safety campaigners, vehicle businessmen and representatives of security forces. The general secretary of NASA Nepal Mr. Govinda Bhattarai also presented his thoughts on Emerging Transport Issues.
- Youths for Road Safety
Another program under the Road Safety Week was Youths for Road Safety, where various college-going students were each asked to present an innovative idea for road safety.
- Future Leaders for Road Safetybecause of numerous road traffic crashes.
RMR Foundation in collaboration with NASA Nepal organized a program titled “Future Leaders for Road Safety”. The program was conducted among the students of Kohinoor School, Balaju.
On the first week of May, Freedom Campaign Nepal conducted an interaction program in Kathmandu on the topic ‘Protecting Children from Injuries and Accidents’. Presently, all over the world, children have been victims of road traffic accidents in numungous numbers. In the context of Nepal, this is possibly the first formal program related to road safety, in which Safe Kids Worldwide, Kathmandu Medical College, NASA Nepal along with other representatives were participating.
Along with this, organisations such as Road Safety Society have conducted various other programs on the occasion of the Fifth United Nations Global Road Safety Week. As a result of all these efforts, it seems certain that there will be a positive impact on the Road Safety status of Nepal.
These were just a few corrective and creative programs conducted from a citizen’s level related to a specific field. It is believed throughout the world that the three bases of road safety are Engineering, Enforcement and Education. Among these three bases, the first two are already with the Government of Nepal. However, with government bodies dealing with solving the problem of unmanaged daily transport, we really need to consider how high our expectations should be.
It is almost end of the Road Safety decade 2011-2020, as Nepal Government haven’t established a Road Safety Council to solve these problems in an organized manner.
Among the five pillars of road safety, various occupation groups, volunteers and business groups are working on improving the fourth pillar (road user behaviour). But there is a great need of support from Nepali Media, Parliamentary Members and Human Rights Activists. In recent days, Nepali citizens, communities and the entire nation is having to pay a price