Addis Ababa, May 15, 2023 – With the primary objective of motivating key stakeholders to develop and implement innovative and outstanding ideas and initiatives to save lives on Africa’s roads, the second annual Kofi Annan Road Safety Award will be hosted in Marrakech, Morocco on September 25th -26th 2023. The event, which was held in Ghana last year, will take place under the aegis of the Government of Morocco, the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), the Secretariat of the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Road Safety, and the Kofi Annan Foundation.
Road crashes are disproportionately high in Africa compared to other regions of the world. The continent loses annually over 300,000 people through road crashes, even though its countries have the lowest levels of motorization in the world. It has the world’s highest estimated road traffic fatality rate of 26.6 road deaths per 100,000 population. Thirty-eight percent of all African road traffic fatalities occur among pedestrians, while 43 percent occur among car occupants.
The award also aims to recognize Kofi Annan’s significant contributions to road safety. Under his leadership, the United Nations made significant strides in raising awareness of the global road safety challenge during the early 2000s. This endeavor garnered political will across the world to combat the devastating impact of road crashes.
Road crashes are disproportionately high in Africa compared to other regions of the world. The continent loses annually over 300,000 people through road crashes, even though its countries have the lowest levels of motorization in the world
Considering Kofi Annan’s legacy and his commitment to building peaceful, democratic, and resilient societies, the Kofi Annan Foundation aims to inspire leadership and mobilize influential individuals to address the road safety crisis, particularly in Africa. The continent faces numerous management challenges, including leadership and political will, hindering the effective implementation of road safety initiatives.
Morocco, a leading country in road safety in Africa, has developed and implemented the national road safety strategy 2017-2016 and established the National Road Safety Agency (NARSA) in 2020, in a pivotal milestone in promoting road safety. The country has also demonstrated efforts to enhance South-South cooperation in road transport and road safety with its African partners.
The award will recognize governments, private sector, civil society organizations, and individuals who have made exceptional contributions to road safety in Africa. The second edition of the award will specifically commend governments that have implemented serious measures and actions to achieve the objectives of the second UN Decade of Action for Road Safety 2021-2030, aiming to halve road deaths by 2030.
Selection criteria for the award winners encompass several elements of the Global and Regional Action Plans on Road Safety, such as road safety management, innovation in road safety fields, efforts to increase modal shift to walking, cycling, public transportation, safer vehicles and efficient communication efforts for road collision prevention. Additionally, the award may extend to organizations, including private sectors NGOs, research institutions, which have made noteworthy contributions to road safety on the continent.
Nominations for the award will be accepted from June 1 to July 30, 2023. A dedicated committee will evaluate the nominations in July 2023, and finalists will be notified by July 31st, 2023. The prestigious Kofi Annan Road Safety Awards will be presented to the winners during the award ceremony in Marrakech on September 25 – 26, 2023.
The ceremony will be attended by dignitaries, high-level political leaders, senior road safety officials, and experts from the host country, the Kingdom of Morocco, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Road Safety, the Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), and representatives from various organizations and agencies. The event will also welcome the participation of road safety officials from other African countries, stakeholders, and the public either physically or online.
The award ceremony will be preceded by a hybrid Road Safety Seminar, which will address topics such as road management and innovation.
“Kofi Annan’s vision and determination to raise awareness of this terrible hidden pandemic paved the way for significant advancements in road safety policies and initiatives. His legacy serves as a testament to what can be achieved through strong leadership for positive change on a global scale. The Kofi Annan Road Safety Award is a crucial platform to recognize and celebrate those who are implementing innovative solutions to address this crisis in the most affected region,” said Jean Todt, UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Road Safety.
His Excellency, Minister of Transport and Logistics of Morocco, Mohamed Abdeljalil pointed out, “It is with great pride and anticipation that the government of Morocco awaits the ceremonies of the second edition of the Kofi Annan Road Safety Award. We look forward to recognizing the exceptional efforts of individuals and organizations working to promote road safety on the African continent. As a country, we are committed to making our roads safer, as demonstrated by the establishment in 2020 of the National Road Safety Agency. ”
“Road traffic fatalities have a significant impact on African economies and societies, with vulnerable road users such as pedestrians and cyclists being disproportionately affected. The Kofi Annan Road Safety Award is an important opportunity to highlight the urgent need to prioritize road safety and the tremendous efforts of those working to reduce the number of preventable deaths on our roads,” said Antonio Pedro, Acting Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa.
“Kofi Annan was a visionary leader who recognized the importance of road safety as a critical public health issue. He was instrumental in raising awareness of the global road safety challenge and galvanizing political will to address this crisis. The Kofi Annan Road Safety Award honors his legacy and inspires leadership and action to save lives on Africa’s roads. We are proud to be a part of this important initiative,” said Corinne Momal-Vanian, Kofi Annan Foundation Executive Director.
Notes to Editors:
The United Nations has invested significantly in tackling the problem of road safety globally. Following the “Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020”, the UN General Assembly in August 2020 adopted a resolution on “Improving Road Safety”, that reconfirmed its commitment to halving the number of global traffic deaths and injuries and to providing access to safe, affordable, accessible, and sustainable transport systems for all by 2030. In July 2022, the road safety community met in New York City for the first-ever High-Level Meeting on Improving Global Road Safety at the United Nations General Assembly, unanimously adopting a text titled: “Political declaration of the high-level meeting on improving global road safety”.
To galvanize intersectoral actions and raise the visibility of road safety, the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, appointed Jean Todt in 2015 as his Special Envoy for Road Safety. He was reconfirmed in this role by the new UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, in 2017 and in 2021. In 2018, together with 14 UN organizations, the Special Envoy launched the UN Road Safety Fund (UNRSF).
More information about the event and detailed agenda:
Chief, Energy, Infrastructure and Services Section
United Nations Economic Commission for Africa
Secretariat of the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Road Safety
Director of the National Road Safety Agency Morocco