The United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) in collaboration with the Ministry of Transport of Nigeria and Diageo, a global leader in the beverage alcohol industry, have recently announced that they will be renewing a three-year partnership agreement. The collaboration will see a series of major road safety events to reduce traffic death and injuries, and improve road safety globally.
At a conference held in Abuja, Nigeria attended by 100 local and international experts, supported by supported by the Honorable Minister for Transport, ChibuikeAmaechiand Mr. Nikhil Seth the Executive Director of UNITAR, together they will discuss solutions and share best practices and learnings on road safety legislation and regulation that will help address the issues of road safety in Nigeria.
The world’s most populous countries account for almost 4.2 billion people and 56% of the world’s road traffic deaths, one of these countries being Nigeria. In fact, there are 5,791,446 registered cars on the road in Nigeria and in 2013 the WHO estimated that around 35,641 lives were lost due to weak road safety laws on risk factors such as speed, drink-driving, seat-belts and child restraints. Globally, road crashes are the 9th leading cause of death across all age groups and the leading cause among young people aged 15 to 29, costing governments approximately 3% GDP on average (WHO, 2015).
Mr. Alex Mejia, Division Director at UNITAR said: “With the support of Diageo, we have organised four global events and five country events in Africa, Latin America and Asia. We are very proud of this partnership, which aims to improve the capacity of public and civil entities involved in road safety across the world, especially in countries with a high incidence of road accidents and injuries.”
Mr. Baker Magunda, Managing Director, Diageo Guinness Nigeria comments: “It is an honour to be in Abuja today attending this conference and I am proud of our partnership with UNITAR and the progress we have made and are continuing to make to effectively address the issues of road safety, particularly drinking and driving, in Nigeria and across the globe. All road crashes attributable to alcohol are preventable and we are committed to tackling alcohol misuse through a mixture of policies, programmesand partnerships. We will continue to support and work with experts to create a positive change by promoting road safety and responsible consumption in Nigeria and all other countries that we do business in.”
Diageo has a long history of working to reduce the harmful consumption of alcohol and its consequences supporting numerous drink drive prevention programmes around the world. These range from high visibility enforcement through random breath tests in countries such as Ghana, China and South Africa, to funding safe rides home and free public transportation. We also look to encourage laws which establish maximum blood alcohol concentration levels in countries where none exist.
At the conference, Diageo will unveil for the first time in Nigeria, the launch of high visibility enforcement training which will take placein Lagos. The training, which has been rolled out globally,has been proven to effectively reduce alcohol-related traffic fatalities including in Mexico, where this intervention resulted in a 40% reduction. The objectives of the campaign are to increase awareness and knowledge among drivers of drink driving as a risk factor in road safety, implement high visibility enforcement campaigns on drink drive and ultimately, help to reduce alcohol-related fatalities. In partnership, UNITAR and Diageo will look to train law enforcers to deliver random breath testing and provide the equipment required to support the high visibility enforcement, whilst raising public awareness through media engagement.
Today, we will also invite participants at the conference to ‘Join the Pact’ – to commit to never drink and drive, contributing to the goal of securing 80 million pledges by 2025 as part of Diageo’s global responsible drinking campaign.
The conference that took place in Abuja contributes to the road safety-related SDG targets and the first initiative under the renewed UNITAR and Diageo partnership. Since partnering, more than 30 countries have participated in workshops for government officials at both national and local levels, awareness-raising roadshows for young people, and high-level conferences on the issue.