On the occasion of The World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims
Alfa, the first telecom operator in MENA to get awarded ISO 39001 certification in Road Traffic Safety Management
Beirut, Lebanon, November 14, 2017: In cooperation with the General Secretariat of the National Council for Traffic Safety, Alfa, managed by Orascom TMT, organized a ceremony on the occasion of The World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims under the slogan #تنذكر_وما_تنعاد (Let us remember so that it never happens again). The event was held under the auspices of H.E. the Minister of Telecommunications Jamal Jarrah as part of the Alfa Drive 4-Life program at the Phoenicia Hotel in Beirut.
During the ceremony, it was announced that Alfa is the first telecom operator in the MENA region to obtain the ISO 39001 certification in Road Traffic Safety Management. Moreover, the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety (NETS) was launched.
Governmental and non-governmental bodies, official departments and representatives of the public and private sectors all actively participated in the event, which was attended by Alfa CEO and Chairman Marwan Hayek; Beirut Police Chief General Mohammed Ayoubi representing Director General of the Internal Security Forces Brigadier General Imad Othman; the Director General of the Traffic and Vehicles Management Authority Hoda Salloum; the Secretary of the National Council for Traffic Safety Prof. Ramzi Salameh; the President of the Educational Center for Research and Development Dr. Nada Aouijan; as well as a number of officials and media representatives.
Following the Lebanese national anthem, actress Carla Boutros, who lost her husband in a car crash, gave a speech on behalf of the families of traffic accident victims. She called for safer roads, urging the Lebanese to abide by safety standards, and companies to follow Alfa’s initiative to reduce road fatalities.
“Despite the fact that Lebanon loses hundreds of people of different ages in traffic accidents each year, this issue has unfortunately not yet become an urgent concern for large segments of society, even though it drains human and material resources and leads to many social and emotional problems”, said Prof. Salameh in his speech. In recent times, however, “we have seen a growing interest in reducing the number of traffic accidents, such as the efforts of Alfa, which has obtained an ISO certification in Road Traffic Safety management, thanks to its pioneering efforts led by its CEO and Chairman, Marwan Hayek, and the cooperation of its managers and staff”, Salame said.
Dr. Aouijan called for concerted efforts and cooperation among the concerned institutions to achieve the desired goal of reducing traffic accidents and casualties. She pointed out that the Educational Center for Research and Development provides educational services to all learners and their families as well as to the educational sector staff through an education package on traffic safety, including the development of a specific curriculum in accordance with the new traffic law and with modern educational-learning methods. “This is addition to educational tools such as a traffic sign poster, which we have redesigned and are relaunching today. 15 thousand copies of the poster will be distributed in public and private schools, in cooperation with the Directorate General of Education and the Union of Private Schools. We will also launch a series of educational films about the various situations the learner may encounter on the roads and other films that can be produced in partnership with the National Council for Traffic Safety. Aimed at learners aged 14 to 18 years, a new smartphone app will include the new traffic law and several interactive awareness guidelines, documents and games. We hope to launch it before the end of the current school year”.
“We are committed to working with the Ministry of Telecommunications and Alfa to promote a culture of safety,” said Chadi Meghames, Libanpost Finance and Administration Director, representing Libanpost’s Chairman and Managing Director Khalil Daoud. He stressed the importance of companies covering occupational injuries that may affect workers and employees traveling to and from their workplace. He indicated, “Libanpost has been working for two years in cooperation with the National Council for Traffic Safety in Lebanon to develop a binding protocol for vehicle fleets based on full compliance with road safety, and we are close to finalizing it”. He then announced the launching of the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety (NETS) in the name of Libanpost and with the strategic partnership of Alfa and in close cooperation with its Chairman and CEO Marwan Hayek. “This will allow us to gradually transform into a model company from a traffic safety perspective that implements clear and secure transport policies”, he concluded.
Gen. Ayoubi emphasized that “the Internal Security Forces (ISF) are making every effort in the matter of traffic and prevention of accidents by enforcing the law and controlling traffic violations. This is in parallel to regulating traffic and addressing its effects in most roads, which drains our abilities and resources. I will not recall here the responsibilities of the concerned ministries, departments and institutions regarding the conditions and safety of roads. I will not propose solutions despite the fact that many exist, but I will say that the best way to reduce congestion and its effects remains the development, organization and planning of public transportation covering all Lebanese regions”.
“The ISF will spare no effort to ensure the safety of people on the road and to preserve their lives from the dangers resulting from the non-compliance with the carefully drafted traffic law, which may lead to terrible consequences such as disability and death”, he assured. In a comparison between the two years preceding the traffic law and the two years after its implementation, Ayoubi pointed out that the number of accidents decreased by 22.5 percent, the number of deaths by 22.1 percent, and the number of injuries by 21.6 percent.
He expressed the hope that all competent bodies will come together to achieve a comprehensive and integrated national strategy to build a system that protects the Lebanese and takes into consideration the objectives of the Road Safety Collaboration issued by the United Nations in 2011 to continue to achieve positive results.
In his speech, Hayek pointed out to the fact that “the views of companies and people differ regarding the concept of social responsibility (CSR)”. “Some people think it consists of donations or gifts, others see it as a suitable advertising and marketing means when recession hits, and some may take advantage of it to accumulate profits and encourage risky behavior. At Alfa, however, we consider that CSR reflects sustainability, results and figures, achievements and an effective and direct contribution where possible. We have committed ourselves to always and consistently do what we say, which we have demonstrated in our ongoing journey of sustainability and social responsibility that we launched 11 years ago. We were one of the first companies to commit to the United Nations Road Safety Goals, namely the third goal, which clearly states the need to cut road traffic deaths and injuries”.
He added: “Obtaining the ISO 39001 certification in Road Traffic Safety Management means that we have pledged to transform the company's buildings and surroundings into pedestrian friendly buildings that provide safe entry and exit, and reduce the Lebanese road risks. It also means that we have trained the entire Alfa staff on the principles of safe driving so they can become a role model in the community and in their families. Moreover, we have developed all the company's internal policies to reflect our commitment”. This means, he added, “that Alfa will not buy any vehicles that are not equipped with airbags or Electronic Control Systems (ESC), helping both Alfa drivers and Alfa’s car fleet become safer. To receive the ISO 39001 certification in Road Traffic Safety Management means that the Alfa administration will not organize campaigns that are untargeted, incomprehensible or uncoordinated with those concerned with traffic safety in the Lebanese state. We will also set with the National Council for Traffic Safety the standards and mechanisms for future campaigns”.
Hayek announced: “We have received this ISO certification after a long history of awareness campaigns on traffic safety and the dangers of mobile phone use while driving, and we promise to continue our role at the level of the company and the community. We stand with you today not only to console you, but to announce that we have turned the company with all its material and human resources to the first model in the Middle East, which is a real killer with its most dangerous roads in the world”. He assured: “We did not come to celebrate our ISO certification which we earned with pride, but to offer it as a token of apology to the families of road accident victims on behalf of the Lebanese society for its carelessness and neglect. This token will not bring back your loved ones, but it will contribute to protect the rest of us”. He added: “The United Nations considers that the adoption by all companies of ISO 39001 standards would reduce the number of road accident victims by almost half. So what are we waiting for? Today, under the patronage of the National Council for Traffic Safety, we launch in cooperation with Libanpost the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety (NETS), and invite all companies to join us to protect our employees, our fleets, and our buildings”. He concluded: “Our ambition is to reach zero wounded and zero dead at the national level, and our hope is like our slogan:#تنذكر_وما_تنعاد - we remember so that it never happens again”.
A film was shown about Alfa’s journey in road safety up to its receiving the ISO certification, which was handed to Hayek by Qualitas General Manager Hassan Hamwi, who has congratulated Alfa on this achievement. He pointed out that Alfa is one of the first companies in the Middle East to adopt the principles of this international standard in the field of traffic safety, commending its commitment to the standards of traffic safety, in the hope that all companies and public institutions follow suit.
At the end of the event, the Alfa building in Chevrolet was lit with the slogan of the commemoration, which was also distributed to passersby in cooperation with the Internal Security Forces.