Last night, road safety advocates Jean Todt and Michelle Yeoh accepted the Humanitarian of the Year Award from the United Nations Association of New York (UNA-NY) for their work in promoting the UN Sustainable Development Goals and their commitment to stabilizing and reducing road traffic deaths around the world.
The United Nations Association of New York is a non-profit organization dedicated to building understanding of and support for the ideals and work of the United Nations. Each year, on the occasion of United Nations Day in October, they honor outstanding individuals and companies for their work to help realize the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
« Jean Todt and Michelle Yeoh have mobilized sustained commitment toward road safety and development,” UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said at the event at the J. W. Marriott Essex House in New York City and added, “Road safety is not a privilege but a basic human right.” In a message addressed to the participants, he stated, “I pay special tribute to this evening’s honourees : my Special Envoy for Road Safety, Jean Todt, and UNDP Goodwill Ambassador Michelle Yeoh.”
As President of the FIA, Todt actively works to reduce road traffic deaths and injuries worldwide in the framework of the FIA Action for Road Safety campaign and the FIA Road Safety Grant Programme supporting initiatives on the promotion of road safety led by local member Clubs of the FIA. “We cannot accept that every year 1.25 million people die on the road; 50 million people are injured,” he said upon receipt of the prize, urging citizens to treat road deaths and injuries with the same urgency as other public health pandemics.
In his role as UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy for Road Safety, Todt assisted in the creation of a draft resolution on road safety that was adopted by the UN General Assembly in April and advocates for the achievement of the goals of the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020 to reduce road fatalities by 5 million. “I take this symbol, the Humanitarian of the Year Award, as more than an award for Michelle and myself but as the opportunity to highlight this carnage,” he said upon receipt of the award.
Michelle Yeoh, Actress, Producer, Spokesperson for the FIA High Level Panel for Road Safety and UNDP Goodwill Ambassador, sharing the award with Jean Todt, declared “with a commitment to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, we can make roads safe, and we can make the world a better, safer, healthier place for all.”
UNA-NY President Abid Qureshi presented the award to Todt and Yeoh, thanking them for putting road safety “at the forefront of the developmental agenda of world leaders.”
NBC journalist Jo Ling Kent emceed the event that was attended by foreign diplomats as well as business leaders including Feike Sijbesma, CEO of Dutch nutrition and chemicals company DSM.