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(Scouting Ireland, WOSM/Dublin) – About 1.24 million people die each year on the world’s roads, with young adults aged between 15 and 44 years accounting for 59% of global road traffic deaths. These bitter facts are recorded in the most recent United Nations Global Status Report on Road Safety and were reason enough for the Member States of the UN to adopt a resolution on “Improving Global Road Safety” at its 66th General Assembly in 2012.
In this resolution, the UN Member States noted the global public health and development burden resulting from road traffic accidents and recognized initiatives by Member States and civil society in their continued commitment to develop and run road safety awareness campaigns.
Speaking at the recent 5th European Scout Symposium in Dublin, Ireland, John Lawlor, CEO of Scouting Ireland, underlined the challenge linked to this problem. When a family member of a close friend died after a road accident a few years ago, he realised how close this problem was to everybody: “In fact, road deaths constitute the biggest killer of young people worldwide. But unless your family or your close friends are hit, it remains a silent and unrecognised killer.”
John also realised that Scouting could play an important role in helping to raise awareness, and indeed several NSOs are already active in this field, by offering, for example, road traffic merit badges within their youth programme.
“At the World Scout Jamboree 2011 in Sweden, Scouting Ireland and the Scout Association of Greece joined hands with other organisations and organised a special workshop on Road Safety”, explains John, ”and this has duly been noticed by the UN. For the first time, a General Assembly resolution makes specific reference to Scouting and recommends seeking expertise that our Movement, and its young members in particular, can provide to develop and put in place local and national initiatives to help save lives of children and young people.”
As part of a range of global events marking the second United Nations Global Road Safety Week, from 6 to 12 May 2013, Scouting Ireland and the World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM) will be co-hosting with the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UN ECE) a special one-day workshop entitled “Scouting for Global Road Safety”.
Two Rover Scouts from each NSOs in the Eruopean Region of WOSM are invited to attend this workshop at the Palais des Nations in Geneva on 6 May 2013. They will be part of an interactive session with leading scientists and policy makers. At the end of the day, they re expected to present their vision and plans to modernise pedestrian related aspects of the 1968 UN Convention on Road Safety.
“We also hope that the event will trigger off some follow up activities”, adds John. “We expect the participating Rover Scouts to further develop and implement their agreed plan through on-line coaching and group work. The ultimate aim is to invite a selected group of these Rover Scouts to return to Geneva in September 2013 to present the young peoples’ findings to the adult policy makers gathered in the UN ECE’s Working Party on Road Traffic Safety”.
So, if your NSO is currently involved in road safety activities or is planning to get more involved in this important field, then check the information links below and make sure that two Rover Scouts are registered to attend the workshop in Geneva.
Contact for interested Rover Scouts (including event invitation, programme and registration form):
– Mr. Karol Quinn, Programme Development Officer, Scouting Ireland (kquinn(at)scouts.ie)
– Programme of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe Workshop on “Scouting for Global Road Safety”, Palais des Nations, Geneva, 6 May 2013 on the Internet
For more detailed information:
– Scouting Ireland’s Road Rovers Initiative
– The World Health Organisation and the UN Global Road Safety Week 2013 on the Internet
– The WHO Global Status Report on Road Safety 2013 on the Internet
– United Nation General Assembly Resolution on Improving Global Road Safety (A/Res/66/260)
– The Vienna Convention on Road Traffic (November 1968) on the Internet
– The UN Youth Declaration on Road Safety (adopted by the UN World Youth Assembly for Road Safety in 2007) on the Internet
– The United Nations and Road Safety on the Internet
– The United Nations Road Safety Collaboration on the Internet
Rupert comes from Austria and is the Executive Assistant to the Regional Director. His responsibilities include internal and external communications and administrative assistance in Regional events.
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