Qatar and Sweden Share Road Safety Knowledge at Vision Zero Qatar-Sweden Forum
Under the auspices of Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, HE Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani, Chairman of the National Committee for Traffic Safety, the two-day Vision Zero Qatar-Sweden Forum opened at The-Ritz Carlton, Doha Hotel on Sunday 10 May 2015.
Under the title, ‘Knowledge Sharing – Best Evidence Practice between Qatar and Sweden’, the event is organised by the National Committee for Traffic Safety in collaboration with the Swedish Authority and Maersk Oil Qatar. Deputy Managing Director of Maersk Oil Qatar, Sheikh Faisal bin Fahd Al Thani, said:
As a global company and operators of one of the world’s largest and most complex offshore oilfields here in Qatar – we are able to highly appreciate the massive complexities the ministry is navigating on a daily basis across the nation and would like to use this opportunity to express our appreciation for your incredible efforts and achievements to date. As a responsible operator, health and safety are deeply ingrained in our corporate values and culture and we consider it our duty to make a positive impact in the countries in which we work, live and operate. So, although road safety is not our area of expertise – we remain committed to supporting the government and the goals of the National Vision 2030 for a healthier, safer and more prosperous nation. We first became involved in road safety two years ago when we collaborated with the Ministry of Interior on One Second! – on what was to be the start of a national road safety brand – as well as other road safety initiatives like the Baby Car Seat and Students For Road Safety programmes. We are very proud of the positive impact they continue to make and have all the confidence that we are on the journey toward reaching our road safety goals.’
The opening ceremony was attended by Staff Major General Saad bin Jassim Al Khulaifi, Director General of Public Security, Erik Bromander the Swedish Deputy Minister for Infrastructure and Swedish Ambassador in Doha Ewa Polano, along with officials from the Qatar Ministry of Interior and Swedish experts.
According to Al Khulaifi, this event is held as part of the willingness of stakeholders in Qatar to achieve the best levels of traffic safety and fulfil the Zero vision, pointing to the importance of benefiting from the experience of Sweden that will be implemented with the Qatari conditions despite the different circumstances and factors between Qatar and Sweden. He added that the Ministry of Interior has a distinct vision with respect to community partnership and is always looking for partnerships that lead to the improvement of performance, adding that the Ministry, in cooperation with the concerned parties, has a clear vision to address traffic safety and the protection of human wealth.
Director General of the General Directorate of Traffic, Brigadier Muhammad Saad Al Kharji, stated that the importance of this meeting stems from the importance of the topic discussed, which is ’Vision Zero traffic safety’ and also from learning about the practical experience of Sweden as a model to achieve this ambitious vision, which is one of the most important initiatives in the field of traffic safety. He added:
The organising of a forum that discusses the important elements of road safety is a work supported by the National Traffic Safety Committee for being at the heart of its duty and to pursuit of ways to build safer roads in Qatar.’
Secretary of National Traffic Safety Committee, Brigadier Muhammad Abdulah Al Maliki, said that Vision Zero is a Swedish vision that aims to reduce deaths due to traffic accidents and to increase awareness among drivers and road users about traffic safety as well as provide them with the best to be applied to prevent accidents and reduce the incidents.
According to Al Maliki, Qatar gives importance to the road safety and had formed several strategic initiatives of which the most prominent one is the establishment of the National Traffic Safety Committee. This committee is entrusted for policy making on traffic safety in all aspects of educational, legislative, engineering and technical, engaged with all public and private institutions with the aim of integrating efforts and using them to serve traffic safety. It has developed a strategic planning to improve traffic safety level over ten years (2012 -2022)with the active participation and unified efforts of different sectors of society and public and private institutions.
This initiative was launched by the Minister of Interior in early January 2013 and included stakeholders in its implementation, according to plans prepared. This strategy is implemented in two phases and is intended primarily to reduce the proportion of death incidents from 14/1000 to 6/100 by 2022. The strategy achieved in the first half of the first phase with best results beyond expectations, where the percentage dropped to 8.5% in 2014, which indicates great progress made by Qatar in reducing fatal road accidents. The tasks of this plan is distributed to 13 agencies including public and private sectors. The Ministry of Municipal and Urban Planning is responsible for implementation of the plans, particularly roads planning and development.
Ashghal is entitled for the implementation of the infrastructure network of roads and improve traffic safety procedures by projects. General Directorate of Traffic takes the responsibility of the regulation and control of traffic on the roads and educate road users and raise public awareness as well as enforce and execute the traffic laws.
Supreme Council of Health is responsible for the improvement and development of ambulance services and treatment for the injured in road accidents and the rehabilitation of those who meet physical disabilities as a result of these incidents.
Supreme Education Council is assigned for instilling values and educational concepts to young people to raise their awareness about the importance of road safety. Universities are entitled to conduct research and analytical study dealing with traffic problems and provide scientific solutions that help stakeholders to address them.
Swedish Ambassador Ewa Polano expressed her pleasure to share with the stakeholders the great experiences of Sweden in road safety. The Swedish Deputy Minister, Erik Bromander, for Infrastructure expressed his pleasure to be a part of the initiative to raise road safety in Qatar.
According to Director of Medical Rehabilitation at Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC), Dr Wafa Al Yazidi, the forum seeks to develop a Qatari version of national vision on traffic safety throughout the review of the Zero Vision on road safety. She noted that the Zero Vision is a multinational vision that came out in 1997. It aims to reach the zero rate in deaths and serious injuries caused by road accidents.
Doha would host the 24th International Traffic Medicine Association (ITMA) Congress in November 2015. It is global gathering of experts from different disciplines in the fields of medicine, traffic and roads.