BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA
With financial support from Goble Road Safety Partnership (GRSP), the National Road Safety Committee (NRSC) in collaboration with Handicap International Belgium (HIB) has organized the workshop on “Developing Cambodia’s 10 year-action plan from road safety 2011-2020” over two days from the 12th to the 13th of August 2010 at the Sunway Hotel in Phnom Penh. The workshop is aimed to set up developing Cambodia’s 10 year-action plan for road safety 2011-2020 in Cambodia.
Gen. Khan Savoeun, Secretary of State in the Ministry of Interior (MoI), said that in recent years the deaths caused by accident has increased every day, and is still a main concern for Cambodians. He added that road accidents has also become a main subject and is the second biggest concern and worry for the Cambodian government disaster after HIV/AIDS in the country.
He emphasized that according to the Ministry of Interior covering the first six moths of 2010, there are 3,040 cases of road accidents involving 6,346 victims, 931 out of whom were killed, 2, 853 seriously injured, and 2,562 slightly injured without a mention of orphans, widows, disability and assorted tragedies left behind by the road accidents, therefore making the Royal Government of Cambodia’s poverty reduction policy difficult.
Moreover, road accidents have also imposed financial burden on surviving family members of the victims. In 2009, road accidents costs Cambodia US$ 248 million and this money, if there were no road accidents, could be used to serve the social interests such as construction of hospitals, roads and bridges and so on.
“I would like to appeal to all our Cambodian road users to respect traffic laws by using proper helmets; belt wearing, not drink-driving and over speed driving. You must note that there is only your participation that we can reduce traffic accident, road crashes, deaths or injuries caused by the road accidents,” he said during his opening remarks at the workshop on road safety plan 2011-2020.
He called on NRSC and involved ministries and NGOs to continue their hard work in educating of gradual behavioural change of road users toward a culture of respect for the law by adopting a habit of wearing helmets, putting on rear mirrors, registration number plates, wearing safety belts when driving, respecting traffic signs, undergoing technical check-ups of vehicles and so on. He added that efforts will also be added to prevent over speeding and drink-driving offences, which often result in the serious injuries.
Ryan Duly, GRSP Mekong Program Manager, said that the long-term commitment of the Royal Government of Cambodia, the National Road Safety Committee and partners to reduce road crashes and causalities is impressive, demonstrated by this workshop. In side this plan are the proposed key goals, targets, actions and measurable road map to improve road safety for all citizens of Cambodia.
Ryan Duly said that by developing this 10 year-plan, Cambodia is one of the first countries to commit and align themselves to the United Nations Decade of Action for Road Safety 2010-2020. The outcome of this decision is the UN General Assembly Resolution 64/ 255 “improving road safety” which lays out the UN’s pledges and recommendations for the next 10 years.
“I highly encourage all Cambodian stakeholders to read this important document. You will see that Cambodia is well on its way to following many of the recommendations outlined in this Resolution. Of course, one of the key outputs of the resolution is the development of the Decade of Action Plan at the global level, and the encouragement by the UN for each country to develop their own,” he said.
“GRSP is very proud to have provided financial and technical support, especially in partnership with the NRSC, MoI and HIB, to the process of developing the Cambodia Plan and you will have a chance to study and discuss it at this workshop. I am pleased to see that Cambodia’s Plan is indeed based on the proposed global actions, with local adaptation which ensures relevant to Cambodia’s situation and needs,” he added.
He said that as the UN Resolution clearly states, this strategy of cooperation between government, civil society and business is the only way that a solution to road safety can be achievement. GRSP, as its name highlights, believes in this approach and is committed to creating and sustaining partnerships for road safety.
“However, critical to the success of the plan will be to ensure adequate funding is committed to implementing the actions. I strongly encourage the NRSP and stakeholders to prioritize increased funding and investment. Without adequate funding, it will be very difficult to achieve your goal of reducing roads crashes and casualties, and improving road safety,” he said.