The UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Road Safety, Jean Todt, is visiting NYC on July 1st to launch the UN worldwide campaign #MakeASafetyStatement, in partnership with JCDecaux, the number one outdoor advertising company worldwide, and with the support of Saatchi & Saatchi.

The campaign aims to promote road safety and create safe, inclusive, and sustainable streets worldwide. This is a call to action, amplifying the message of the New Decade of Action for Road Safety, aiming to halve the number of road-related victims by 2030. Over two years (2024-2025), the campaign is set to reach more than 80 countries and 1,000 cities, displayed on JCDecaux’s street furniture, and promoted on social media.

The silent pandemic

Every year, the staggering toll of road-related fatalities claims the lives of 1.19 million people, leaving countless others with severe injuries. This silent pandemic overwhelmingly affects developing nations, where over 90% of the road traffic fatalities occur. Furthermore, road crashes are the leading cause of death for children and young adults aged 5–29 years.  It is also the main reason of death and serious injury to UN personnel.

Hitting the road in the USA

In the US, road crashes are the second biggest cause of accidental death, after firearms. According to the World Health Organization (2021), the US fatality rate is estimated at 14 per 100,000 people, while that of Europe is 6.5 per 100,000 people. Pedestrian deaths in the US rose by more than 40% from 2010 to 2018, which is over twice the pace of any other OECD country. Note that the last figures of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and of the US Department of Transportation (DOT)  are encouraging as highlighting a continuous decline in the number of victims.

The launch of the campaign in NYC coincides with 4th July break and with summer vacation in several countries. Public holidays are usually periods of risk for road users. Highways are more dangerous, and there is a spike in risk-taking behavior. Sleep deprivation, distracted driving, driving under the influence, non-respect of the speed limits and the non-use of restraints, are more common on public holidays. This is therefore a time of the year to hit the road with extra caution.


The campaign seeks to reduce risk factors, especially in urban areas, enabling people to walk, live, and enjoy their environment safely.  Fourteen global, and dozens of national, celebrities have joined forces to advocate for simple and effective road safety rules in the six official UN languages.  The messages the celebrities focus on mitigate risk factors on the road. Key aspects include wearing a seat belt, driving slowly, wearing a helmet, not texting and driving, not driving under the influence or while tired, and respecting pedestrians.

Participating celebrities in the campaign include football legend Mr. Didier Drogba, F1 Driver Mr. Charles Leclerc, Oscar-winning actress and UNDP Goodwill Ambassador Ms. Michelle Yeoh, tennis legend Mr. Novak Djokovic, musician Ms. Kylie Minogue, motorcycle racer Mr. Marc Marquez, supermodel Ms. Naomi Campbell, Actor Mr. Patrick Dempsey, Musician and Inspirational leader Mr. Youssou N’Dour, Actress Ms. Julie Gayet, Actor Mr. Michael Fassbender, football icon Mr. Ousmane Dembélé, Double Olympic Champion Ms. Faith Kipyegon, F1 Driver Mr. Mick Schumacher. The actor Jean Reno will join the launch event in NYC to make his safety statement.

Risk factors that are too often neglected

Drink-driving, speeding, drowsiness, carelessness, non-use of seat belts and helmets, negligence and non-compliance with the Highway Code are responsible for most road accidents in Africa. However, according to the WHO, more progress must be made regarding legislation and safety standards.

Only six countries in the world have laws that comply with WHO best practices for all the risk factors – speeding, driving under the influence or distracted driving, use of UN-standard motorbike helmets,

Helmets for Hope

One of the messages of the campaign is wearing a helmet compliant with ECE 22.05 United Nations minimum safety standards, which could reduce the risk of head injury by up to 74%. Since the beginning of this year, the Special Envoy has redoubled its efforts to support African countries in their efforts to address the lack of helmet for motorcycle drivers. Africa is the continent the most affected by road crashes with a mortality rate of 19 per 100,000 people, while in Europe the rate is 7 deaths per  100,000, and not wearing a helmet is one the main causes of fatalities and serious injuries on the road.  In that perspective, the Special Envoy has already visited 8 African countries in 2024, with a particular focus on wearing helmets responding to UN standards. He notably supported initiatives promoting the use of certified helmets in Côte d’Ivoire, Benin, South Africa, Rwanda or Sierra Leone. The Special Envoy has start to work with President Kagame, President Julius Maada Bio and First Lady of Sierra Leone, H.E Ms. Fatima Bio and continues to engage with other African Union Member States, to push for road safety on the African Union Agenda 2063, and for ECOWAS to give the issue due consideration.

The launch event in NYC

The start of the campaign was announced during the High-level Meeting of the United Nations General Assembly on Global Road Safety in July 2022.  The campaign’s first launch took place in Brussels, Belgium, in September 2023. In March 2024, it was launched in Ivory Coast, followed by Mongolia and South Africa in Spring 2024. The next stop is the USA for a launch to be held in NYC on 1st July 2024. The French actor Jean Reno will join the event in NYC at the International Peace Institute at 4PM for a road safety statement.

The event of the campaign in NYC on 1st July 2024 will take place at three venues:

  • 11-11.30 AM: Press conference at the UN HQ, followed by a live street-art performance on road safety from Street Art for Mankind artist Dragon76; a demonstration of a training with a car by The WFP Road Safety Academy, with the support of UNDSS ; a presentation of the artwork on safe mobility for refugees in the context of the Exhibition “Interwoven”-by Artolution and UNHRC.

Venue: UN Headquarters, starting in the press conference room

Venue: NYC street, Marshals and riders begin to gather at 1st Ave/38th St. At the corner of Freedom Plaza.

More information and registration here.

  • 4-6.30 PM: Launch event of the campaign with Panel “safe & sustainable mobility in the city, from NYC to Marrakesh” (4-5.30 PM), discussion hosted by the International Peace Institute (IPI), with the support of Global Citizen. We will also have the second act of the  live street-art performance on road safety from Street Art for Mankind artist Dragon76. Dragon76 will finalize the creation of an original piece of art that will be unveiled at the conclusion of the event.  The French actor Jean Reno will join the event for a road safety statement.  It will be followed by a drink from 5.30 -6.30PM.

Venue: IPI

More information and registration here.


About the Special Envoy

The former United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, appointed in 2015 Jean Todt as his Special Envoy for Road Safety. He was reconfirmed in this role by United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres, in 2017 and in 2021. In 2018, together with 14 UN organizations, the Special Envoy launched the UN Road Safety Fund (UNRSF). The Special Envoy contributes, among other things, to mobilize sustained political commitment to make road safety a priority; to advocate and raise awareness of UN legal instruments on road safety; to share established good practices in this area; to strive to generate adequate funding through strategic partnerships between the public, private and non-governmental sectors. Special Envoy brochure and Twitter account.

CONTACT for the Special Envoy of the United Nations Secretary-General for Road Safety:

Communications Officer: Stephanie Schumacher de Weck +41 78 235 63 36

About JCDecaux

JCDecaux, a French family-owned company founded in 1964, is the No.1 outdoor advertising company worldwide.  It is committed to improving the quality of life for people wherever they live, work and travel by offering innovative, sustainable street furniture and services that meet citizens’ expectations and are financed by brands and their advertising. With a presence in more than 80 countries, JCDecaux is the only company in the world to operate exclusively in the outdoor advertising sector through all of its activities: street furniture, transport advertising and billboards. For 60 years, the products and services offered to cities by JCDecaux have been considered the benchmark for quality, aesthetics and functionality. As a sustainable media in contact with more than 850 million people every day and true to its mission of improving the quality of life for all citizens, JCDecaux enhances and promotes responsible outdoor advertising and places social and environmental quality at the core of its solutions and its business. Since 2023, JCDecaux is an official partner of the UN Joint SDG Fund, supporting the Sustainable Development Goals across its Group.


Communications Department: Albert Asséraf +33 1 30 79 37 35

About the United Nations Global Campaign for Road Safety in partnership with JCDecaux:

Under the motto #MakeASafetyStatement, the campaign gathers celebrities to encourage road users to adopt simple and effective rules to stay safe on the road.

Note to editors:

The UN has invested heavily in road safety globally. Following the “Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020”, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution in August 2020 for “Improving Road Safety”, which reaffirmed its commitment to halve global road deaths and injuries and provide access to safe, affordable, accessible and sustainable transport systems for all by 2030. In July 2022, the road safety community met in New York for the first-ever high-level meeting on improving global road safety at the United Nations General Assembly, unanimously adopting a text entitled: “Political declaration of the high-level meeting level on improving global road safety”.

To galvanise cross-sectoral actions and increase the visibility of road safety, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appointed Jean Todt as Special Envoy for Road Safety in 2015. He was reconfirmed in this role by the new Secretary-General of the United Nations, António Guterres, in 2017 and 2021. In his role as Special Envoy for the UN, Mr Todt contributes, among other things, to mobilising political commitment supported to make road safety a priority; defending and publicising United Nations legal instruments on road safety; sharing established good practices in this area and striving to generate adequate funding through strategic partnerships between the public, private and non-governmental sector.

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