30 Jun 2022
Madrid, June 30th, 2022. - Abertis -through its Foundation- and UNICEF have signed a four-year renewal of their international collaboration agreement focused on more sustainable mobility for children and youth. This alliance, which was forged in 2017, aims to boost UNICEF's programs in sustainable mobility in Brazil, India and Mexico, and involves a contribution of three million euros.
The renewal of the partnership was announced during the first UNICEF Child Road Safety global event, held in New York yesterday, June 29th. Elena Salgado, president of the Abertis Foundation, participated as a panelist.
Abertis has been a strategic ally of UNICEF since 2017, committed to the fight against one of the leading causes of death among schoolchildren: traffic accidents. Therefore, the alliance focuses on alleviating the lack of safe infrastructures in school zones, improving the behavior of drivers and passengers, and promoting safe and sustainable mobility for children in cities, reinforcing available resources, as well as legislation in high-risk countries in relation to road safety, promoting its dissemination and compliance.
Thanks to the commitment, knowledge, and contributions of the Abertis Foundation in relation to road safety, it has been possible to generate evidence enough to contribute to promoting the Road Safety program as a priority for UNICEF in its 2022-2025 strategic plan.
UNICEF takes a leadership role in global road safety as co-chair of the Education Platform for the United Nations Road Safety Fund (UNRSF) and Expert of the Private Sector Working Group of the United Nations Road Safety Collaboration (UNRSC), in which Abertis Foundation also participates.
The alliance is materialized in the "Rights of Way" project, which, since its launch five years ago, has carried out actions in countries with high levels of child road accidents. So far, it has developed campaigns in schools in areas at high-risk of road accidents, helping to improve the safety of around 267,000 children in Brazil, Jamaica and the Philippines, the countries where the program began.
Now, in a second phase of this project, actions will be promoted in Brazil, India, and Mexico. In Mexico, a new program is being incorporated with the aim of promoting access to STEM careers (studies linked to science and technology) for girls between the ages of 12 and 16 who study in schools in municipalities with high levels of poverty. The aim of this program is to bring about a positive change in the perception of STEM fields among girls, promote inclusion in the classroom, and boost female talent in the field of infrastructure and road safety.
In addition, the Abertis Foundation works with numerous public and private institutions to design, develop and finance road safety awareness and training programs, mainly oriented towards the most vulnerable people (children, adolescents, the elderly, and people with disabilities). It also supports road safety research at seven leading universities around the world through its network of academic chairs, which has been organizing the Abertis Chair Awards since 2003.
On road safety issues
Road traffic accidents are the leading cause of death among children over the age of 10 worldwide. Every day, more than 500 children die on the world's roads, according to the United Nations.
Beside the impact on public health, it has a direct effect on the development of countries: Road traffic accidents are estimated to cost 3% of GDP, with economic losses equivalent to 5% of GDP in low- and middle-income countries.
Low- and middle-income countries concentrate 90% of road traffic accident deaths, although the population of these countries owns only half of the world's vehicles. The risk of dying on the roads also depends largely on where people live: Europe has the lowest number of road traffic accident deaths per 100,000 people, while Africa has the highest rate.
Road safety is present in two of the Sustainable Development Goals (3.6 and 11.2) and the priority of a "safe trip to school for all children" is a commitment of the New Urban Agenda Habitat III of the United Nations.
“Road traffic safety can and must be prioritized to protect children and adolescents from needless deaths and their families from a lifetime of pain. We thank Abertis and its Foundation for their commitment and expertise to help improve infrastructure, expand children’s skills sets in fields that can create safe roads and to protect children and young people from traffic accidents.” said Karin Hulshof, UNICEF Deputy Executive Director for Partnerships.
"The collaboration with UNICEF is based on the priority that road safety represents for Abertis and its Foundation. The renewal of this agreement is the result of the good work carried out jointly to protect children on their way to school over the last four years. Our relationship will now focus on a more sustainable approach to mobility, which will allow us to improve infrastructure and enhance the safety of children's urban travel, reducing the impact of road traffic crashes” said Elena Salgado, President of Fundación Abertis.
UNICEF works in the world’s toughest places to reach the most disadvantaged children around the world. Across 190 countries and territories, they work for every child, everywhere, every day, to build a better world for everyone.
Abertis is one of the leading international operators in the management of toll roads, with more than 8,000 kilometers of high-capacity, high-quality roads in 16 countries in Europe, America, and Asia. For Abertis, driver safety is the priority. Committed to research and innovation, Abertis combines advances in high-capacity infrastructures with new technologies to promote innovative solutions to meet the mobility challenges of the future.
About the Abertis Foundation
The Abertis Foundation was created in 1999 as a non-profit organization with the aim of responding to the impact that the Abertis Group's economic activity has on the different territories and countries where the Group is present.
The Abertis Foundation carries out actions focused on improving road safety with the objective of reducing the accident rate. These actions are focused on educating children on road safety, raising awareness among young people and preventing in the case of senior drivers.
It also promotes social actions in support of the most vulnerable groups, incorporating them into its road safety actions in favor of the sustainability and the environment. In addition, it complements the activities of the Abertis Group in the countries where it is present, such as Spain, France, Puerto Rico, Chile, Argentina, Brazil and Mexico, and contributes to the development of the International Network of Abertis Chairs.