World Bank’s Vice President for South Asia Hartwig Schafer on Tuesday said Bangladesh can further reduce poverty and boost economic growth by improving road safety here.
He came up with the remarks at award ceremony of World Bank-United Nations Road Safety Champions’ Video Competition at its Dhaka office.
Five winning teams were awarded at the event. The competition sought the ideas for making Dhaka’s roads safer from young Bangladeshis between the ages of 18-23 and received an overwhelming response.
Hartwig said road fatalities are more than personal tragedies; they undermine a country’s growth and human development.
He added, “We all are very impressed with the creative, practical and scalable solutions for Dhaka’s road safety proposed by the contestants. These ideas are a testament that road safety crisis is preventable. The WB and the UN will continue working together with the government of Bangladesh to improve road safety.”
The World Bank and Bangladesh are discussing a $250 million possible support for comprehensive road safety improvement.
Mercy Tembon, WB Country Director for Bangladesh and Bhutan said, “Road safety affects us all. With increasing number of motorized vehicles, road accidents have become the fourth leading cause of death of children between 5 and 14 in Bangladesh. So, road safety is very much a development agenda and we must act now.”
Mia Seppo, UN Resident Coordinator in Bangladesh, said, “SDG target 3.6 seeks to halve road traffic deaths and injuries by 2020 and SDG target 11.2 includes a focus on providing safe, sustainable transport systems for all, improving road safety and with special attention to key groups such as children and the vulnerable.”
‘This joint UN and WB initiative reached out to young people to find unique ideas and solutions from their fresh perspective through the video competition. I congratulate all the young people who took part in this video contest. Your ideas contribute to the effort to find sustainable solutions and make the roads safer for all of us,” she added.
Md. Nazrul Islam, Secretary, Road Transport and Highway Division as the chief guest thanked WB and UN for arranging the innovative ceremony.
Ilias Kanchan, founder and chairman of Nirapad Sarak Chai (Nischa - We demand safe road) also was present there.
The contest called for participants to submit a video within 2-minutes duration with a befitting title to respond to the question, “What would you change to make the roads in Dhaka safer?”
A five-member panel of judges included Korvi Rakshand, founder of JAAGO Foundation, Iqbal Habib, Architect and Joint Secretary of Bangladesh Environment Movement (BAPA), Ayman Sadiq, founder of 10 Minutes School, Dandan Chen, World Bank Operations Manager for Bangladesh and Bhutan, and Dr Mahfuzul Huq, Technical Officer, World Health Organization.
Key themes that emerged from the contest included: introducing separate bus lanes, mobile apps, smart buses, under-the-surface barricade system, speed camera, and limiting the number of bus trips and random parking to take or drop passengers through digital means.
The competition was launched in September 2019 by the Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal, MP, the UN Secretary-General’s special Envoy for Road Safety Jean Todt, and Hartwig Schafer.
The winners are-- First Prize: Kazi Md. Marfu-Um Abid, Farhana Haque, and Md. Fahimur Rahman Shuvo from Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET),
Second Prize: Md. Fahmid-ul-Alam Juboraj, Farnaz Fawad Hasan, and Reshad Karim Navid from BRAC University
Third Prize: Md. Taufiquzzaman Pranto from Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET)
First Runner-up: Prottoy Roy, Srishti Roy Chowdhury, and Fahim Faisal Raunaq from Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET)
Second Runner-up: Abrar Mahmud Chowdhury, Naweed Kabir, and Md. Fahad Wafiq from BRAC University.