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Road deaths 'missed' in Millennium Development Goals

15 September 2010

 As world leaders prepare to meet in New York for the MDG summit, a leading UN development adviser, Dr Kevin Watkins from the Global Economic Governance Programme, Oxford University, warns that while the world rightly focuses on MDG goals including saving the lives of children under five, the international community risks ignoring hundreds of thousands of children of school age who are being killed or injured on dangerous roads.

'The Missing Link - road traffic injuries and the Millennium Development Goals' reveals the true scale of the road injury epidemic in developing countries, and the impact poor road safety is having on delivery of the MDGs:

•3500 people are killed every day on the world's roads and developing countries account for 3,000 of these deaths. This is forecast to rise to 5700 a day by 2020.

•133,000 children of primary or early secondary age are killed on the roads of developing countries each year - another million are seriously injured. One of the MDG goals is to achieve universal access to primary education.

•Road crashes cost developing nations at least £100 billion a year. The report estimates at least 70 million people are stuck below the poverty line as a result. One of the MDG goals aims to reduce extreme poverty.
The UN has begun to recognise the dangers of the road death crisis, announcing a 'Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020' with 100 governments already committing to work to reduce road deaths by 2020, an objective that could potentially prevent 5 million deaths. Yet campaigners argue that until road injuries are recognised as a global killer on the scale of HIV/AIDS or Malaria, the issue will continue to be neglected and underfunded. 

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