Report from the 2nd meeting of NGOs for road safety and road victims
On the 14th and 15th of March I attended the 2nd meeting of NGOs for Road Safety and Road Victims, held in Washington D.C. in the building of the Pan American Health Organisation and of the World Health Organisationas, as representative of the Greek NGO You Are What You Do – Costas Kouvidis. I attended the meeting as a journalist too, and for this reason, I got several interviews from the participants (who came from dozens of countries around the world), some of which are presented in the two videos above.
In this short post I want to make a brief summary of my first impressions. First, I’ d like to say how amazing it is to meet dozens of passionate people from around the world who have more or less, the same problems, the same concerns in their countries, acting and working on solutions, and not compromise. The fact that the participants were people who in one way or another involved very strongly on the issue of road safety, others because they had lost a close relative, others because they work tirelessly to defend the rights and rules -has forced them to take the tasks of the meeting very seriously.
The next big international event, apart from the many local actions which are certainly very important, is the global plan for road safety, the Decade of Action 2011-2020 which is officially proclaimed by the UN and WHO. It is an important initiative that is embraced from the NGOs and begins on the 7th of May (more on that soon). Road safety is a huge issue, nearly 1.3 million people die every year, but unfortunately was not given enough attention. It is an unpleasant topic that contains a lot of pain, difficult decisions, and measures that require courage, consistency, determination and above all political will.
Something that impressed me during the meeting was the absence of the Media. We were in Washington, representatives of all countries, and not even one international TV channel was interested to cover the event. A CNN reporter said that she would, but the last time claimed the earthquake in Japan and did not come eventually. When such a serious issue is dealt with contempt, one understands that there is a long way to go. However, the presence of all these people at the meeting made me realize even more that this road is worth to walk.
Returning from Washington D.C. I was even more confident that there is hope. “If we can work together great things can happen”.