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When Bashar al-Assad assumed power from his father in 2000, the Syrian people were filled with hope. To the Syrian people, Bashar was the western educated politician, expected to be far less of a tyrant than his father and older brother. In his inaugural address, Bashar spoke of “the desperate need for constructive criticism” and “creative thinking.”

This inspired what was to be known as the Damascus Spring, a time in which the Syrian people discussed political reform openly. However, this period was short-lived as Bashar quickly realized that giving people the power to choose after years of suppression could lead to chaos. In order to retain power, Bashar cracked down on his people and his reign of tyranny began.

From 2000-2010, Bashar al-Assad ruled as a tyrant. Although Bashar has frequently made promises for reform to the international press, no such reforms have ever been put in place. Instead, Bashar claims that economic reforms have been his main priority, putting political and social reforms on the backburner. Beginning in 2001, the regime passed sweeping reforms to restrict access to the internet and press.

Throughout his time in power, the Kurdish minority has been denied basic rights, such as the right to assembly or religious freedom. The regime has continually repressed political and social dissent, through arbitrary arrests and unlawful detentions. Despite coming out of international isolation in 2007, decision-making by the Syrian regime remains largely opaque to its own people. Moreover, the country is better known as the ‘Kingdom of Silence,’ a place where criticism of the government and its practices are largely stifled.

The current conflict began after several teenage boys painted anti-regime propaganda in a public place in response to the infectious nature of the Arab Spring. The boys were detained, but as their families called out for public support in protest, the families were also punished by the regime.

This incident stirred a peaceful uprising, which was quickly shot down with violence from the regime. Since this time, al-Assad’s regime has been accused of crimes against humanity – including indiscriminate violence, chemical warfare, and arbitrary detention. Since the conflict’s inception, over 110,000 have died and at least 40,000 civilians have been killed. At the beginning of the conflict, the regime used live bullets, but the conflict quickly escalated as the regime started using tanks, helicopters, Scud missiles, mortars and aerial attacks on its own people.

In December of 2011, al-Assad said, “We don’t kill our people…No government in the world kills its own people unless it’s led by a crazy person.” However, the evidence is mounting against al-Assad’s regime and the international community has had a difficult time staying out of the conflict. In August of 2012, the Syrian rebels signed a ‘code of conduct,’ agreeing to respect the international norms for human rights. The rebels did this to credibly signal to the international community that they were committed to upholding international human rights norms.

The international community has repeatedly asked the Syrian government for permission to enter the country to investigate these claims, but Assad has continually denied them access. Many claim that if Assad had nothing to hide, he would allow such third-parties into the country to prove his innocence.

Since Assad has clearly violated international human rights norms, he has prevented these third parties as well as international journalists from investigating the conflict further. In February of 2012, the international community called for Assad to step down and condemned him for his regime’s flagrant human rights abuses. The resolution, which was supported 137 to 12, was intended to send a message to Assad, but Syria’s representative said that it only sent a message to rebels that sabotage was acceptable.

On August 21 of this year, more than 1,400 people were killed in chemical weapons attacks. While the government claims that its bioweapons program has been dormant since the 1980s, many in the international community believe that the government had the key ingredients necessary to conduct such an attack.

Videos from the attack and civilian recount that sarin gas was used, but sarin is the least of the concerns of the international community. Moreover, Syria is capable of using biological weapons far more powerful than sarin if it so chooses. The Syrian government has merely used chemical weapons in the conflict to break up stalemates in areas where it has struggled to gain the upperhand. If the government were to use chemical weapons indiscriminately, they could regain total control.

According to Salil Shetty, the Secretary General of Amnesty International, “President al-Assad and those around him have to understand that their actions will have consequences, namely that if they gun down their own citizens the international community will hold them individually responsible before the ICC or national courts of states exercising universal jurisdiction.” While the human rights violations may be evident to the international community, it has been struggling to act because of the geo-political implications of such an attack.

These political ramifications could be lasting, for instance the Taliban and al-Qaeda may seek refuge in Syria if the regime falls, but the implications of these abuses on the current generation of Syrians is permanent. This generation of Syrians may always distrust the international community failing to act swiftly to protect them; the majority will likely never be able to return to the same Syria as the one they left.

These violations constitute more than just international injustice; they constitute a remarkable injustice to the Syrian people. The Syrian people no longer have hope; they have live filled with tyranny and fear.

– Kelsey Ziomek
Sources: The Guardian, Local Coordination Committees, The Guardian, Amnesty International, World Human Rights, Huffington Post, Sydney Morning Herald

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The very first Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability Week Celebration, launched by UN Global Compact Network Ghana, CSR Foundation Ghana, and the Ghana Chamber of Mines, has just ended its first celebration. The events were held from September 9th, 2013, to September 13th, 2013. The three organizations that launched this week-long event wanted to focus on how corporate social responsibility and sustainability could be enhanced; primarily, the event focused on how corporate social responsibility could enhance sustainability.

The UN Global Compact Network Ghana is a platform that unites many different organizations, including business associations, other Untied Nation agencies, nongovernmental organizations, as well as trade unions. These companies are connected in order to learn about corporate social responsibility, as well as ethical business standards. Another part of the UN Global Compact Network Ghana is to promote ethics and corporate social responsibility. Originally, this organization was launched in Ghana in 2002 by Alhaji Aliu Mahama, a former Vice President. The main goals of the platform are to promote ethical principles; allow participants to exchange their ideas, practices, and experiences; and to promote and support the Global Compact on a worldwide scale. The UN Global Compact Network Ghana has several principles that they support, and encourage all businesses to adhere to. These principles include issues of human rights, labor, the environment, and anti-corruption.

The CSR Foundation, or the Corporate Social Responsibility Foundation, is located in Accra, Ghana. The CSR Foundation Ghana has created an Awards Scheme in order to give honors to businesses, as well as organizations and individuals, in the area of corporate social responsibility and sustainability. This business began in the year 2010. Each year, the accomplishments of corporations and individuals were recognized, in particular in the corporate and social landscape. The criteria included the awardees’ attentiveness to regulatory obligations, as well as ethical and socially responsibility practices. Basically, those who enhanced the lives of their stakeholders, and their community as a whole, were given awards. Since the original creation, the CSR Foundation has expanded to be advocates for corporate social responsibility and sustainability, as well as to do research, outreach, and training.

Finally, the Ghana Chamber of Mines is a minerals industry association, also located in the Africa country, Ghana. The Ghana Chamber of Mines is over 100 years old, and was founded in1903 with the objective of protecting the interests of mining shareholders. The Ghana Chamber of Mines is still a voluntary employers’ association that represents companies that engage in the mining industry within Ghana. The programs and activities are completely funded by member companies, and the Ghana Chamber of Mines in responsibility for almost all of the production of Ghana’s minerals. The Chamber is run on the principle of representing the mining industry, and to reach the needs of the community and the members in order to enhance development.

These three groups came together in order to launch the Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability Week Celebration in order to raise awareness of sustainability and to encourage companies to act in an ethical manner, so that Ghana can have positive sustainable development. The theme of the week was “Enhancing Sustainability through Corporate Responsibility.” Each day was carefully planned in order to discuss important issues of sustainability, and so that corporations could show their initiatives in order to allow other companies to do the same. Two of the topics that were discussed were water and sustainability, as well as sustainable agriculture.

This Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability Week Celebration was a stepping stone in Ghana’s business practices, and will hopefully inspire more businesses to follow the ethical code of corporate social responsibility in order to create more sustainability within the country.

Corina Balsamo

Sources: allAfrica, UN Global Compact Network, Ghana Chamber of Mines, HeSPA Network

Poorest Region in Latin America
Latin America has made great strides in its efforts to reduce extreme poverty. Since 2000, poverty levels have been cut in half and in 2011 the middle class surpassed the amount of the impoverished for the first time. However, Central America and Mexico seem to be falling behind.

It’s estimated that Central America and Mexico have the most people living in extreme poverty, an average of 16 percent, and have the smallest number of people in middle class per capita.

There are many reasons why these countries remain the poorest and struggle to catch up with the rest of the Latin American countries. Issues include:

  • Drug Trafficking: Drug trafficking has plagued the region with violence and corruption making it extremely difficult to allow for further growth and stability. The fact that Honduras has the highest murder rate in the world only serves to accentuate this issue.
  • Government Rivalries: From shores to waterways, El Salvador and Honduras argue over property rights constantly. Guatemala and Belize cannot come to an agreement on border control. Also, many countries are angry that Honduras and Guatemala receive more foreign aid than the others.
  • Security and Trust: National security seems to be an issue for every country, including the United States. As drug consumption and trafficking are at an all time high, the Central American governments feel that the United States should be taking on more responsibility in fighting the drug cartels. Also, countries are not cooperating well due to lack of trust and corruption. An idea arose to create a database to control and track drug cartels, but the lack of trust among officials rendered it inoperable because they could not find people to run the program.

Central America needs to resolve its issues if the region wants to create and maintain economic growth and stability. It is important that the region strives to strengthen the economy, give youths hope for education, and provide opportunities to prevent them from engaging in drug trading. Also, each country must facilitate trade agreements and have better communication with one another. These changes could inevitably translate into more jobs and investments for each state.

Taylor Schaefer

Sources: Huffington Post, Tico Times

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Democracy was restored to Pakistan in 2008, and since then, major gains have been made in granting its citizens basic human rights that were formerly denied to many. However, such progress has not been without its challenges, and much of Pakistan still faces a wealth of injustices. In order to truly progress as a democratic nation, these human rights violations in Pakistan must swiftly addressed..

Perhaps the most troubling injustice in Pakistan is the prolific violence against minority religious groups. Since 2012, over 650 Shia Muslims have been targeted and killed in religiously motivated attacks. The Sunni militant groups who perpetrate such attacks operate with little consequence, facing no penalties from a seemingly absentminded government.

As Ali Dayan Hasan, the Pakistan director of Human Rights Watch, explained: “Militant attacks on the Shia have occurred with increasing ferocity while the security forces have looked on helplessly. Whether the failure to hold and deter attackers is a function of incompetence or complicity by elements of the security forces, the government has a responsibility to reverse this state of affairs.”

Further injustices are faced by many of Pakistan’s women, who too often become victims of domestic violence with little consequence for perpetrators. Women also face the horrors of “honor” killings and acid attacks, a deleterious tradition that involves the homicide of a person—most often, a woman—who is thought to have brought dishonor upon the family.

As Hasan concluded: “There are many challenges to making Pakistan a rights-respecting democracy and there are no quick fixes. But for the development of Pakistan, it is essential for the government to take concrete steps to protect fundamental civil, political, economic, social, and cultural rights as part of an active human rights agenda.”

Tellingly, in order to truly join the ranks of today’s democratic nations, Pakistan must extend basic human rights to all of its citizens.

– Anna Purcel-

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Daanish schools are causing controversy in Pakistan. These schools are revolutionary in their approach to educating the poorest of the poor. The students that enter these schools must meet many criteria, in addition to the entrance exam: they must be missing one or both parents, their parents must be illiterate, and they must have a monthly income of less than $100 USD.

Daanish schools are heavily supported by the government in Punjab, one of the largest provinces in Pakistan, despite widespread criticism. While detractors say that the money could be better spent elsewhere, Punjab’s Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif counters that Daanish schools “empower the less privileged” and aim to create a system that allows equal opportunities for disenfranchised social groups.

The schools are often an alternative to madrassa schools, sites of Islamic education that have been known to espouse extremism. Both types of schools offer free room and board for their students, which can attract children from poorer families. By providing these amenities, Daanish schools give poorer families a plausible alternative to an extremist Islamic education.

Daanish schools also provide excellently for their students. In addition to room and board, the education offered is reportedly impeccable. They offer courses in liberal arts, sciences, and math, as well as extracurricular activities and counseling for students and their families.

Some parents are suspicious of the new school system. One parent asked, “Why would you give me back my child after giving her clothes and shoes and spending so much on her? I know this is a conspiracy to buy our children from us.” Although there is no proof of these types of ulterior motives, questions have been raised recently concerning the level of transparency in the school system’s funding.

Many argue that the intense focus on serving the poorest of the poor has drawn attention away from improving deteriorating schools and other public facilities used by a wider range of citizens. A 2011 report overseen by Dr. Salman Humayun was deeply critical of the Daanish schools, saying that if the money spent by the Pakistani government on Daanish schools were redirected, 660 other schools could be significantly improved. According to this report, the government spent 16,000 rupees per child every month in Daanish schools, while only allocating one tenth of that for each child in public schools. He also pointed out that many schools have been damaged by flooding and have yet to be repaired. Overall, Humayun argued that the government should focus on improving public schools so that Pakistani children can get a high-quality education without attending Daanish schools.

Although the debate over Pakistan’s Daanish schools remains unsettled, it is clear that these schools offer many advantages. They serve groups that have been extremely disenfranchised throughout history. Providing such a high quality education for poorer children allows them a chance at escaping the vicious cycle of poverty and significantly improves their lives.

Katie Fullerton

Sources: Daily Times
Photo: Tribune

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From August 20th to the 27th, the federal government of Somalia and the Jubba delegation met to negotiate in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa. On August 27th, the final day of meeting, the agreement was signed by both parties and set political reform in motion.

Found in the southernmost region of Somalia, Jubaland is composed of three administrative regions, Gedo, Lower Juba and Middle Juba. The semi-autonomous region is just one of a number of dissenting regions that make up Somalia.

Now known as the Interim Jubba Administration (IJA), Jubaland will undergo a transitional process that will transition government powers, allow the federal government to manage the Kismayo airport and seaport, along with all other federal institutions and infrastructure, and integrate militia forces into the Somali National Army.

To transition the governmental aspects, an Executive Council will be formed including a leader and three deputies. Under the leader position, the President of Jubaland, Ahmed Mohamed Islam Madobe will head the Council.

The Executive Council will function as the executive organ of the IJA, while the Regional Assembly will work as an inclusive legislative body that represents all clans and constituents appropriately. After a two year existence, IJA will be established as a Federal Member State of Somalia.

A major factor in negotiations has been the recent dislodging of al Shabab, an al Qaeda affiliate, once secure in the Jubaland region by the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). To preserve this removal of al Shabab, this agreement brings major security elements with it.

By signing the agreement, President Madobe has promised to integrate the RasKanboni Brigade, his anti-al Shabab militia, as well as all other security elements into the Somali National Army. Despite the future issues that may be created if loyalties are put into question, both the Somali National Army and the RasKanboni Brigade have collaborated together against al-Shabab in the past that may provide rapport between the groups.

Along with bolstering the Somali National Army, the agreement will give the IJA priority in the planned reintegration system that will allow low level al-Shabab combatants to disengage from the fight and reintegrate back into society.

But this agreement has come at a time when other regions of Somalia have refused to work with the federal government. With the release of an official statement, the semi-autonomous administration of Puntland, the northeast tip of the Horn of Africa, recently cut all ties with Mogadishu. Accusations from Puntland’s administration claim that Mogadishu failed to share power and foreign aid with their region.

Puntland’s cutting of ties may have had increased a sense of urgency in Mogadishu as some feared Jubaland would follow Puntland’s lead. Fortunately for Mogadishu, the opposite has happened and the central government will continue brokering efforts to gain legitimacy.

– Michael Carney

Sources: All Africa, Sabahi, Reuters
Photo: Africa Time

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Earlier this month, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita won the presidential election in Mali and promised to unite the country. After the elections, the French general who led the military campaign to restore order headed home, leaving Mali’s future in the hands of UN peacekeepers. UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon, pledged to support the newly elected Government in their efforts to address the root causes of the conflict.

Mali’s political system had deteriorated from mismanagement. In the north, the state was overrun by extensive criminal networks often involving local dignitaries. Beginning in early 2012, Mali experienced a coup d-etat, renewed fighting between the government and Tuareg rebels, and the seizure of northern territory by radical Islamists. The Tuareg-led Mouvement National for the Liberation de l’Azawad began fighting for a state of their own.

Malians embraced the French intervention in the conflict in January of this year. Other nations, including the United States, offered aid to Mali under the pretense that Mali would hold free elections and choose civilian leaders. After a seven month French campaign, known as Operation Serval, to destroy the Islamist enclave in the north, hundreds of fighters have been killed and many others displaced across the Sahara.

France was able to pull out the country with relative ease, but many are concerned that this may not be the case for the UN. Unlike France, the UN faces an open-ended mission, limited resources and the difficult task of state building in Mali. According to a UN Special representative in Mali, “The UN is here to facilitate the return of the state to north Mali and provide security until the army is ready to take over…It’s a mission which is likely to last a few years.”

The UN will act as a buffer between the government and the north and facilitate discussions in order to broker a peace deal. However, the tasks laid out for the UN are numerous and broad. Realistically, a mission such as this could take up to ten years to complete.

Since the coup, 350,000 Malians have been internally displaced and over 175,000 have become refugees in neighboring countries. The conflict in the north disrupted economic activity and the delivery of basic social services. In addition, public buildings and services were often looted in the North. All three regional capital cities in the north lack the pre-conflict levels of electricity, water, and medical services.

As the refugees and internally displaced persons return to the north, the already damaged infrastructure will inevitably become more strained. The average Malian lives on $2/day. Due to the conflict, most of those displaced do not have the capital to return home and start over. Support from the international community is critical because it is unlikely that the infrastructure in the north will be capable of meeting the needs of the current citizens, let alone the return of the displaced.

If Malian forces fail to secure the north, the Islamists will return. The problems in the North are caused by poverty, corruption, and underdevelopment. One main issue that the UN and the newly elected government will have to address is the illegal economy. With over 300,000 youth entering the job market each year, the youth have found it difficult to find jobs and instead turn to the illegal market to make a quick profit.

This economic marginalization of the youth only fuels the illegal market, which is especially present in the north. The illegal market funds the rebels of the north and disarmament is impossible without first addressing the cause of youth unemployment. The UN and France are working together on several development projects in the region which will create jobs, support local suppliers and benefit the economy.

In Mali, foreign aid has become a recurring cycle – generating jobs present, but leaving the country incapable of sustainable economic growth. Between 1996 and 2005, 27.6% of the Malian state’s budget came from official development assistance. During the 2012 coup, NGOs left and so did their aid, further crippling the nation. The country is a frequent recipient of foreign aid, but corruption prevents the aid from getting to those who need it most.

Due to a lack of oversight and accountability, aid resources are diverted to those at the top. These problems related to aid tie in directly with Mali’s problematic institutions. In order for aid to be more effective in Mali, aid management should be decentralized.

The single largest increase in public perceptions of the public sector’s integrity came after the 2012 coup. The Malian people attribute a ‘lack of patriotism’ and ‘weakness of the state’ as reasons for the country’s ever-recurring crises.

– Kelsey Ziomek
Sources: Reuters, UN News, UN, Post-Gazette

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Many have called for the Turkish government to spend more of the national budget on social aid as poverty rates in Turkey are over the average for countries in the European Union. Current spending on social aid policies is a paltry 1 percent of Turkey’s budget. But in addition to establishing policies that help the impoverished, some are also questioning whether Turkey is doing enough to diminish the extreme income inequality.

Even though it has maintained a 5 percent annual growth and is experiencing rising employment, Turkey has one of the highest income inequality rates among the Organization of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries. This income inequality is largely due to educational problems. The poverty rate for the illiterate in Turkey was 30 percent in 2009, compared to the only .7 percent for those who graduated from a university. As a result, the many agricultural laborers are stricken with poverty. The reason for this is that the agricultural industry in Turkey accounts for 9 percent of its GDP, but is around 25 percent of overall employment.

The overall education levels need to improve in Turkey with the help of more social aid spending, but, most urgently, educational rates for girls also need to rise. The literacy rate of men is much higher than that of women, causing more women to face the risk of living in poverty.

Even though the country has gone through many phases of immigration, urbanization, population rises, and changes in family structure, the social services and aid policies have not been properly reformed to address changes adequately. The institution in charge of social spending, the Family and Social Policies Ministry, has not allocated more than 1.2 percent of the GDP on policies that combat income inequality and poverty. Many are calling for a change, the Turkish government needs to make more of an effort to engage in social intervention.

But social aid policies are of no use if not managed properly. Turkey should to transfer policy implementation to local authorities instead of the current system of having social aid policy centrally controlled. If funds are managed by individual provinces, funding and resources can be more efficiently utilized, and efficaciously target poverty and income inequality within the region.

Over the last few years, Turkey has experienced significant growth, however more than a quarter children in the country still live in poverty. Even though the total percentage rate of poverty has dropped around 8 points, the fact is that still a fifth of the population is impoverished. Turkey has been investing in sustainable technology and building urban centers, but, to fully prosper, it will have to do more than flash signs of wealth and development. A budget reform in Turkey to reallocate more resources to boosting education and employment will decrease poverty and bridge the income inequality gap in the country.

– Rahul Shah

Sources: Today’s Zaman, The Guardian, Hurriyet Daily News

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Last month, when the Indian government claimed that poverty had been cut by a third since 2004, skepticism, public outcry, and heated debate emerged all over the world concerning the latest figures.

How could a country where nearly half of the children under the age of five are chronically malnourished claim to have reduced poverty, many asked.

The fact of the matter is that, according to India’s Planning Commission, extreme poverty fell from 37% to 22% in the past seven years. This leaves the official number of the country’s poor at 269 million out of a population of 1.2 billion.

Instead of rejoicing at the figures, as the world did when China claimed to have reduced the number of its poor by 220 million from 1978 to 2004, many considered the methodology used as an insult to the poor.

The official poverty threshold in India – calculated using the Tendulkar methodology, a forty year-old measurement – is essentially based on the minimum calories consumed by a person.

The problem is that this debatable definition of India’s poor places the poverty line slightly below lowest levels set by the World Bank. There are those earning fewer than 32 rupees (55 cents) in urban areas and 27 rupees (45 cents) in rural areas, incapable of  living at the edge of subsistence. The Tedulkar methodology, based on how much money buys 2,400 calories of food a day, sets the Indian poverty rate at around 10% lower than the World Bank’s rate, equating to roughly 40 million people.

Still, economists like YK Alagh defend the figures. He says that the rapid declines in poverty are mostly due to overall economic growth (8.2% annually in the years 2004-2005 and 2011-2012), an increase in farm growth (3.5% annually), and new jobs.

Others, such as V.K. Srinivasan, chairman of the Indian Institute of Economics, believe that new methods are needed to calculate poverty. He cites the multidimensional poverty index used by the United Nations Development Program as a good example.

“Human development should not be judged in terms of income and expenditure only, but should be done in terms of life expectancy and quality of education,” he said.

Although the debate continues, it is safe to say that at least 1 in 5 Indians still live in extreme poverty. This means that for India, the fight against poverty still has a long road ahead.

– Nayomi Chibana
Sources: Huffington Post, BBC News, The New York Times
Photo: Deutsche Welle,

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According to the World Health Organization, approximately 1.24 million people die every year on the world’s roads. As well as 20 to 50 million incur nonfatal injuries as a result of road traffic crashes. The WHO report, ‘Global Status Report on Road Safety 2013: Supporting a Decade of Action,’ attributes road traffic casualties to be the eighth leading cause of death globally with an impact similar to that caused by many communicable diseases, such as malaria.

Current trends suggest that, by 2030, traffic accidents will become the fifth leading cause of death unless urgent action is taken. While the report offers recommendations that focus on legislative reforms, there are also corporate examples, like that of Chevron’s, which help promote awareness of road safety.

Road traffic deaths are the leading cause of death for young people aged 15–29 years, and as a consequence, take a hefty toll on those entering their most productive years. Economically disadvantaged families are hardest hit by both direct medical costs and indirect costs such as lost wages that result from these injuries.

At the domestic level, road traffic injuries result in considerable financial expenses, especially to developing economies. “Road traffic injuries are estimated to cost low- and middle-income countries between 1–2 percent of their gross national product, estimated at over US$ 100 billion a year,” which is a serious impediment to poverty eradication.

Only 28 countries, representing 449 million people (7 percent of the world’s population), have adequate laws that tackle all five risk factors for road traffic (speed, drunk driving, helmets, seat-belts and child restraints).

The WHO report recommends that all governments enact legislation to make the roads safer and invest money and human resources to help enforce those traffic laws. Pedestrian safety should also be considered when planning for infrastructure.

The Global Road Safety Partnership (GRSP) is an organization supporting the WHO report. Its role is to create and support multi-sector road safety partnerships that are engaged with front-line, good practice, road safety interventions in countries and communities throughout the world. The partnerships include businesses. Current business partners with the GRSP include Bridgestone, Michelin, BP, Chevron, Honda, Shell, Nestle and Toyota.

Many businesses support road safety to benefit their corporate image, to develop new markets through demonstration projects, or to brand their products as safe. Also, corporate sponsorships have been used for social marketing campaigns to increase the public’s awareness of road safety. In the end, businesses benefit from the lower costs associated with fewer road crashes and safer driving practices.

One American company, Chevron, has implemented what they call the Arrive Alive program. The program strives to protect people living in high-risk areas from traffic related injuries and fatalities.

Depending on the country’s needs, Chevron will form a coalition between non-profit organizations, other companies and the local government. The Arrive Alive coalitions have made significant strides on two continents and in four countries since its inception in 2004.

A coalition in Nigeria founded in 2006 advocated for stricter regulations on okada (motorcycle) riders. That year, laws went into effect to regulate the operation of okadas.

To address the 12,000 lives lost annually on South Africa’s roadways, Chevron formed another coalition to implement a publicity campaign aimed at the most vulnerable pedestrian population – youth and teens. Extensive use of poetry in print, radio and billboard communication directed messages towards youth about irresponsible road behavior and its consequences.

– Maria Caluag
Sources: WHO, GRSP, Chevron
Photo: My Legal World