Under the patronage of H.E. Sheikh Abdullah Bin Nasser Al-Thani, the Prime Minister and Minister of Interior for the State of Qatar, Qatar University and the Ministry of Interior Qatar together with IRF (Geneva) organized the International Traffic Safety Conference (ITSC) which took place on 26 and 27 November.
The concern about road safety has significantly grown over the past years in Qatar. The National Road Safety Action Plan was developed in 2013 as the first step towards achieving the ambitious vision outlined in the Qatar National Traffic Safety Strategy (2013-2022) for “a safe road transport system that protects all road users from death and serious injury”.
Speaking at the inaugural session of the conference, the Minister of Transport and Communications H E Jassim bin Saif Al Sulaiti said that: “We have taken great steps in the development of infrastructure including modern road networks, metro and mass transport, and the completion of large proportions in the construction of the stadiums for Qatar World Cup 2022 while a plan for linking land, air and sea transport has been developed.” He pointed that the objectives of the National Traffic Safety Strategy were also developed to include sustainable transport, traffic safety, national economy and security.
Major General Mohamed Saad al Kharji, Vice-Chairman of the National Traffic Safety Committee, said that the second phase of the implementation plan for the National Traffic Safety Strategy (2018-2022), which was launched in 2018, is underway. “This requires exceptional efforts, cooperation from all sides, and adoption of an unprecedented mechanism of implementation to address traffic problems, and the achievement of 2022 goals with high efficiency and on time.” He said that although good results were achieved during the first phase of the National Traffic Safety Strategy 2013-2017, there is a major challenge ahead, which is to reduce the mortality rate by 10 deaths per year compared to 2017, to achieve the target of 2022.
Susanna Zammataro, IRF Director General was invited to deliver a keynote. Her address focused on the importance of data to benchmark road safety performance but most of it to ensure priorities are adequately addressed. The new IRF Global Road Data Warehouse was presented and some of the dashboards on road safety where shown to illustrate with a concrete example why data is so important and how it can be used.
Speaking in the panel, Mrs Zammataro said: “While we get ready to convene in 2020 in Sweden for a key Ministerial Meeting that will mark the end of the Decade of Action and probably request a deferral of the current target to 2030, we need to keep in mind that a long-term view always improves our view of the short term.
A long-term view can only be based on good data. Without reliable data, we cannot put in place effective policies and interventions. It is fundamental that data on all aspects of a Safe System are properly collected and analysed”. She added “Investing in capacity building is definitively a sensible road safety strategy both in the short and in the long term. And we are delighted to work on training programmes with the University of Qatar and the Transportation and Traffic Safety Centre (TTSC) in particular. Qatar with its road safety strategy and action plan is on the right path. The path that leads to the Safe System approach. The path that will ensure safe journeys to everyone”.