Mhona speaks on sanctions in Geneva

Source: Mhona speaks on sanctions in Geneva | The Herald

Mhona speaks on sanctions in Geneva
Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister Felix Mhona (centre), Zimbabwe’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations and other international organisations in Geneva, Switzerland, Ambassador Stuart Comberbach (right) and TSCZ Board chair, Mr Kura Fortune Sibanda at the 84th session and 75th anniversary of the Inland Transport Committee (ITC) in Geneva, Switzerland yesterday.

Freeman Razemba
Senior Reporter
The international community must encourage countries which have imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe to lift them, as they are hurting the ordinary people and frustrating efforts towards meeting the global road safety targets, Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister Felix Mhona said yesterday.

Speaking at the 84th Session and 75th Anniversary of the Inland Transport Committee being held in Geneva, Switzerland, he said despite the robust engagement and re-engagement efforts by Zimbabwe, illegal unilateral coercive measures imposed by some Western countries remain a hindrance to efforts towards achieving the road safety targets set by the United Nations.

“The debilitating effects of unilateral sanctions affect all sectors of the economy including the transport sector. We are, however indebted to the SADC block for its landmark decision to declare 25 October each year as the date on which SADC member states collectively call for the lifting of sanctions imposed on our country.

“I also want to use this opportunity to rally the international community to encourage countries which have imposed sanctions on us to lift them, as they are hurting the ordinary people and frustrating our efforts towards meeting the Global Road Safety targets,” he said.

Minister Mhona said the recent visit to Zimbabwe by Professor Alena Douhan, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights vindicated their concern.

“We are upbeat that her independent, evidence-based report will cause a reconsideration amongst those who continue to impose punitive measures, and who continue to deny the impact of their collateral damage,” he said.

He said Zimbabwe was also committed to continuously interact with the United Nations system and adoption of good practices and international standards on road safety.

In view of that commitment, Zimbabwe would steadfastly cooperate with the multilateral system to strengthen its road safety and this reaffirmed the policy set by President Mnangagwa that Zimbabwe is open for business, Minister Mhona said.

He noted that as the poorer countries, theeGlobal South, developed and the number of vehicles increased, road crash fatalities and casualties had continued to grow disproportionately.

While those in the developed world have fared comparably well in adopting sustainable measures to reduce the number of deaths and injuries from road traffic accidents, in developing countries they remain entangled in the legacies and inequalities of the past.

“The race for economic development, accompanied by insufficient road infrastructure development, compounded by a disproportionate growth vehicle population, and we see road crashes and fatalities remain a cause for concern.

“In Zimbabwe for example, a traffic crash occurs every 15 minutes, over 35 000 crashes occur annually; an average of at least five people are killed every day, over 1 800 people die every year and over 10 000 people are injured annually. The past decade has convinced us that with these worrying statistics, the business as usual approach will not bring any meaningful improvements. We have thus sprang into action and are raring to go,” the minister said.

Minister Mhona said the event had also come at a time when Zimbabwe has adopted the National Development Strategy (NDS) 1 (2021-2025).

“The NDS 1 envisages that by 2025, Zimbabwe should achieve high quality and efficient public transport service, leveraged by a safer, efficient, affordable, accessible and smart multimodal transport system, covering both the rural and urban areas, with the view to reduce road accidents and fatalities by 25 percent per annum,” he said.

Zimbabwe remained optimistic of dealing with the challenges in achieving the targets on road safety.

“Zimbabwe embraces smart, win-win partnerships and sustainable cooperation with multilateral stakeholders within the Inland Transport Committee framework. Allow me to reiterate Zimbabwe’s commitment towards the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2021-2030, which set the ambitious target of preventing at least 50 per cent of road traffic deaths and injuries by 2030.

“We have no doubt that this vision will be achieved as Zimbabwe has launched Vision 2030 which seeks to chart the country’s new development trajectory, anchored on the collective aspirations and determination of the people of Zimbabwe to achieve a prosperous and empowered upper middle income society by the year 2030,” he said.

The event was attended by Inland Transport Committee chairperson Mr Georges Gilkinet, chairperson of the Economic Commission for Europe Ms Elisabeth Tichy Fisslberger, director general of the United Nations Office in Geneva Ms Tatiana Valovaya, executive secretary of the Economic Commission for Europe and Secretariat Ms Olga Algayerova, United Nations Secretary General’s Special Envoy for Road Safety Mr Jean Todt and Ministers responsible for Transport from the member states of the United Nations.