On 19 November 2018, YOURS co-organized a high-level international road safety conference in Malta. The Government of Malta and the European Regional Office of the World Health Organization asked YOURS to Chair and bring together a panel that would discuss meaningful youth engagement in designing a safe mobility system. In other words, discuss the importance of effective youth involvement in policymaking, implementation, and evaluation.
The event culminated in high level speeches from the Prime-Minister of Malta (video), the Deputy Prime-Minister of Malta, United Nations Secretary-General Special Envoy Jean Todt and various very moving stories from road victims. Subsequently, the panel on meaningful youth participation kicked off.
YOURS brought together a panel of specialists and experts working with youth, or being a youth advocate themselves. The panel was chaired and moderated by Floor Lieshout, Executive Director of YOURS. Some summaries from the panellists are included hereunder:
Jacob Smith – Global Youth Advocate for Road Safety at YOURS
“My goal is to create a generation of youth road safety advocates, helping to ensure that future generations will not have to suffer from the burden of preventable road traffic deaths and injuries”.
Rebecca Ashton-Dziedzan – Campaign and Media Manager at the FIA Foundation
“It is clear that the unique needs, and voices, of young people in many cities are being not being heard. Many emerging health issues for adolescents, including road traffic injury, continue to be neglected and lack of participation, lack of connection with policy makers continues to play a huge part in this”.
Alex Esposito – Public Health Officer at Malta Medical Students Association
“Over the past few years, road safety has been increasing in importance on the national agenda with many multi-stakeholder initiatives focusing on raising awareness and educating the public about the dangers that they may expose themselves to by being unsafe on the roads”.
Priscilla Le Lièvre – Project officer at ETSC
“The fatality of drivers aged 15-24 is up to twice as high as that of more experienced drivers. The risks are even higher for young moped and motorcycle riders. In some member states, over 40% of moped and motorcycle under 25 had been in a collision in the last twelve months”.
Chiara Vassallo – Finance Officer at Malta’s National Youth Council
“Having put forward policy proposals in the past, our aim has always been to assess as many spheres of youth’s lives. This goes from proposals on work to civic education, to mental health etc. Of course, Road Safety is one that could not be left out”.
An overarching theme of the panel was to illustrate the important work young people can do to reduce road traffic crashes. Ultimately, a shift is needed; to stop seeing young people as the problem but rather as an asset, key players that can help provide innovative solutions to the road safety crisis facing their peers.