India cautions against universal road safety norms

United Nations, March 4 (IANS) India has strongly supported increased international cooperation for achieving the objectives of the Decade of Action for Road Safety, but has cautioned against setting universal standards without taking into account specific circumstances.

‘International cooperation is imperative in assisting developing countries to effectively address issues of road safety,’ said Hardeep Singh Puri, India’s permanent representative to the UN, during a debate on Global Road Safety Crisis in UN General Assembly Wednesday.

Availability of adequate financial resources, technical assistance, capacity building, sharing of best practices and advocacy are crucial in this regard, he said expressing satisfaction at an increase in funding reported in a World Health Organization report on Improving Global Road Safety.

‘We agree with the report’s assessment that levels of funding for road safety are still not commensurate with the scale of the problem, and increased efforts must be made to secure additional financial support for road safety projects,’ Puri said.

‘However, we would caution against setting universal standards based on what may have been developed in one region, and stress that specific circumstances in various parts of the world must be taken into account in addressing road safety.’

India, Puri said, strongly supported the intent to increase cooperation at the national, regional and global levels for achieving the objectives of road safety as part of the Decade of Action for Road Safety.

India also looked forward to a concrete plan of action to implement the objectives by the end of the decade, which will take into account the need of developing countries for adequate support to build capacities in this area, he said.

The importance of addressing road safety has a key development dimension, Puri said.

‘It is, therefore, encouraging that the United Nations has recognised road traffic injuries as an extensive and serious global health problem, requiring coordinated international cooperation efforts.’

India is acutely conscious of the imperative to address road safety and reduce the adverse consequences of traffic accidents, he said as ‘India’s economic growth lies in part upon the rapid expansion of our infrastructure, including roads’.

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