Press Release
The Gaping Hole in the Stockholm Declaration for Road Safety

For immediate release: February 20, 2020
Media contact: Maik Dünnbier
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Joint media release of alcohol prevention and road safety civil society groups

The Gaping Hole in the Stockholm Declaration on Road Safety

Stockholm, Sweden,  February 20, 2020 – Civil society groups express deep concern about the complete and inexplicable omission of alcohol control measures from the Stockholm Declaration on Road Safety.

On February 19, 2020 as the highlight of the 3rd Global Ministerial Conference on Road Safety, hosted by the Swedish Government and Infrastructure Minister Tomas Eneroth, the Stockholm Declaration was adopted. The declaration is set to galvanize new momentum and strengthen political commitment at the highest levels to reduce road traffic fatalities substantially within the next 10 years.

However, civil society groups from Sweden and around the world are expressing deep concern about a gaping hole in the declaration. It does not mention the massive problem of driving under the influence of alcohol and other drugs (DUI) and it fails to include policy measures to tackle DUI.

Our members around the world are very disappointed and deeply concerned about the omission of alcohol-related road safety measures from the Stockholm Declaration,” says Kristina Sperkova, President of Movendi International, the largest global network for development through alcohol prevention and control.

The evidence is overwhelming for alcohol’s massive harm in road traffic and sustainable development in general,” says Ms Sperkova.

Driving under the influence of alcohol is a key risk factor for 27% of all road injuries. Globally, alcohol causes 370.000 road injury deaths. In low-income countries, alcohol is present in between 33% and 69% of fatally injured drivers. More than half of all alcohol-related road traffic deaths are among people other than drivers – illustrating the magnitude of the danger for innocent victims. [1]

In addition to alcohol, the World Health Organization (WHO) lists four other major risk factors for road crashes: speed, use of helmets by motorcyclists, use of seat belts, and use of child restraints.

The declaration addresses these risk factors directly and indirectly, focusing on safety, speed and technology. The omission of alcohol is therefore glaring.

Moreover, the previous two Global Ministerial Road Safety Conferences included DUI-related concerns in their respective declarations. [2] It remains unclear why alcohol is completely missing from the declaration despite efforts from civil society and academia to include it.

If traffic deaths are to be reduced by at least 50% – as the declaration calls for – alcohol control measures are essential tools to achieve this ambitious and important goal,” say Ms Irma Kilim, head of drug policy at IOGT-NTO and Lars-Olov Sjöström, Road Safety Manager, at MHF.

This global road safety conference and its declaration should have helped advancing response to alcohol as major road safety impediment, not taken a step back. It should have lived up to its own ambition of increasing commitment to evidence-based action.”

The three civil society leaders conclude:

We urge governments around the world to stop looking past alcohol harm and to make alcohol policy solutions the priority they clearly should be.

Alcohol harm is at the center of major challenges for public health, road traffic and sustainable development. Addressing alcohol harm means saving lives but also unlocking important human and economic resources for building healthier, safer, and more sustainable societies.”

— END

Original signatories:

Movendi International

IOGT-NTO

MHF

Additional signatories

Institute for Research and Development “Utrip” , Slovenia

Southern African Alcohol Policy Alliance (SAAPA)

Notes to the editors:

Evidence sources:

[1] Report: “ALCOHOL OBSTACLE TO DEVELOPMENT. How Alcohol Affects the Sustainable Development Goals,” pages 19-20 (PDF)

[2] The two declarations from the previous Global Ministerial Conferences on Road Safety, for reference:

  • Moscow Declaration (PDF). First Global Ministerial Conference on Road Safety: Time for Action Moscow, 19-20 November 2009
  • Brasilia Declaration on Road Safety (PDF). 2nd Global High Level Conference on Road Safety, Brasilia, Brazil, 18-19 November 2015

The Stockholm Declaration (PDF)

WHO Road Safety Technical Package (PDF)

WHO Alcohol Control Technical Package (PDF)

About Movendi International

With 134 Member Organization from 56 countries, Movendi International is the largest global social movement for development through alcohol prevention and control. Movendi International is the premier global network for evidence-based policy measures and community-based interventions to prevent and reduce harm caused by alcohol and other drugs.

About IOGT-NTO

IOGT-NTO is a non-profit, volunteer-driven, non-partisan and religiously independent organisation and social movement. IOGT-NTO has nearly 27.000 members in 400 local clubs across Sweden. IOGT-NTO promotes sobriety and seeks to strengthen democracy and solidarity.

About MHF

MHF is a non-profit, volunteer-driven traffic safety organization that mainly works for achieving sobriety in road traffic. MHF has ca. 15.000 members in seven regions and 210 local chapters.