UN Global Plan on Road Safety on Course - Govt
Government says it is on track in implementing the Decade of Action UN Global Plan on Road Safety, quashing claims by some road safety stakeholders that little has been done, a year after they presented the plan to government.
Road Safety Alert Foundation Executive Director Joel Jere, claims despite that Malawi committed to ensure 30 KM/h speed limit in all busy areas, reduce accidents by 50 percent, increase funding and improve road network in 10 years, there is little to show.
Jere says due to lack of stakeholders’ involvement in plan implementation and commitment on safety measures, road accidents continue claiming many lives, while road projects like M1 are at a snail's pace.
"Malawi committed itself since we presented the global plan that they will reduce speed limit to 30 KM/h in all busy areas which up to now we don't see the progress. And they also attended the UN high level meeting where the minister repeated the same that Malawi will take the evidence-based intervention. But if we look on the ground, there is really nothing tangible that we can point out that government is implementing", Jere claimed.
Some four months ago, Transport Minister, Jacob Hara attended the UN summit on the same where he made a commitment towards the plan.
Meanwhile, Minister Hara has told Zodiak Online on Thursday that the shift of the road design to provide for cyclist and pedestrian, major roads rehabilitation projects like M1 and enforcement of road traffic regulations, are part of the commitment.
Hara adds that government is currently pulling together more resources so as to invest more in roads across the country.
"So far we are on track. The first strides are in the shift of our road design to provide for cyclist and pedestrian. Secondly, is the implementation of major roads rehabilitation projects like M1 to ensure good roads. Thirdly is the enforcement of road traffic regulations.
He added: "We are busy pulling together more resources so we can invest more in roads across the country".
According to the UN affiliate, International Road Assessment Programme (iRAP), road accidents estimated to be causing deaths and life-changing injuries to around 62, 000 lives in Malawi annually, with a direct financial cost of US$404 million.