Tuesday, February 15 – The Global Youth Coalition for Road Safety, YOURS – Youth for Road Safety, African Union, and the European Union organized “Road Safety and Youth in Africa”, an official side-event to Africa-Europe Week. The event featured youth leaders and high-level policymakers engaged in an intergenerational dialogue to discuss the situation young people faced on African roads.
From the discussion, the Youth Coalition produced a recommendation document to promote and achieve meaningful youth engagement in the design and development of policies related to road safety and sustainable mobility.
The Youth Coalition’s recommendation from the Road Safety and Youth in Africa side-event has been included in the Joint Outcomes of the Youth Track.
”Considering that road traffic crashes have been the biggest killer of young people aged 15-29 for more than a decade and that the road fatality rate in Africa is now six times that of the EU, we call on decisionmakers from both the AU and the EU, as well as at national and local level in Africa to consider implementing the youth recommendations from the intergenerational dialogue on how to improve road safety for youth in Africa, held in the framework of the Africa-Europe Week.
The recommendations include references to increased funding and more meaningful participation for young people to safeguard the lives and futures of youth across Africa.”
Recommendations from young people to stakeholders and policymakers
Following the session, the Youth Coalition with its Youth Leadership Board developed a recommendation document for policymakers, decision-makers, and other stakeholders that serves as a guide on how to meaningfully engage with young people. It was based on the results of the discussion and the Global Youth Statement for Road Safety.
The document highlights the importance of having spaces for youth voices and youth representation within all stages of development and in the management of the policy-making processes on road safety and sustainable mobility. It emphasizes the power and potential of youth as changemakers, not just in road safety but in global development efforts that will ideally result in the achievement of the targets in the 2030 Agenda. It echoes the demand of youth to ‘stop blaming us and start engaging us’.
Apart from recommendations, the document also lists down commitments of young people and asks for political will and investments to support and promote evidence-based solutions that will contribute to saving lives on the world’s roads. The commitments listed in the document also respond to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that connect with road safety and sustainable mobility.
The current road safety situation
The World Health Organization (WHO) records 1.35 million annual deaths caused by road traffic crashes with young people being the most affected sector in society. In the same amount of time, 42 road deaths per million are recorded in Europe while over 260 per million deaths are recorded in Africa.
However, despite young people being the most affected, they are rarely meaningfully engaged in spaces where they can contribute to the creation and implementation of projects around road safety and sustainable mobility. With road traffic crashes being the leading cause of death for youth aged 15-29, it is important and necessary to have youth leaders at the decision-making table.
At present, the crisis is not just the road crashes but the lack of investment in road safety and meaningful youth participation. This is especially alarming in the African region because road crashes rates remain at an alarming high.
To address these issues, the Youth Coalition will continue elevating the voices of young people and supporting them at the decision-making table. Check out our links to get involved!