Hartwig Schafer, vice president of the World Bank for the South Asia Region, and Jean Todt, special envoy on road safety of the United Nations Secretary-General, will arrive in Bangladesh tomorrow on a two-day visit for discussing the challenges and opportunities to improve road condition in the country.
During their visit, they are scheduled to meet the ministers of finance and roads, transport, and bridges, other senior government officials, and civil society representatives, a press release of the World Bank says.
The duo will also participate in the “Road Safety for All” event in Dhaka on September 24, 2019, which is part of the South Asia Regional Programme on Road Safety that includes Bangladesh, it says.
“Road accidents are life-shattering experiences for families. Apart from the enormous human toll, road safety has a major economic impact; globally, annual crash-related costs are estimated at 2 to 5 percent of national Gross Domestic Product,” said Schafer.
He further said, “I welcome this partnership between the United Nations and the World Bank in support of countries, like Bangladesh, to make traffic safer and help accelerate growth, reduce poverty and promote shared prosperity”.
Road safety is a global development challenge. Every year, 1.35 million people worldwide lose their lives while driving, cycling, or walking on the road and another 50 million are seriously injured. A recent World Bank study has shown that for South Asia as a whole, a 50 percent reduction in road deaths would generate an estimated gross benefit of about $1.2 trillion, read the press release.
“Along with the World Bank, I look forward to a productive discussion with our partners in Bangladesh on the path for achieving the Sustainable Development Goal of significantly cutting the number of road fatalities over the coming years,” said Todt.
“I call on Bangladesh to join and fully implement the key UN legal instruments on road safety, which can enable the country to address many major causes of road crashes,” he added.
The World Bank and the United Nations are offering countries a number of tools and support modalities to tackle road safety problems. This includes consideration in the upcoming call for proposals of the recently established UN Road Safety Fund, as well as technical support in the accession to the UN legal instruments related to road safety, administered by UNECE.
Since the independence of Bangladesh, the World Bank has committed more than $30 billion in grants, interest-free and concessional credits to Bangladesh as a development partner of the country, the press release read.