Michael R. Bloomberg, the former Mayor of New York, has been appointed the Global Ambassador for preventing noncommunicable diseases by the World Health Organisation. His role also incorporates the prevention of deaths from road crashes. In 2007 Bloomberg appointed Janette Sadik-Khan as his commissioner of transportation and she oversaw an extensive program of bike lane installations, including protected bike lanes on 9th Avenue.
In 2012 Michael Bloomberg said: “Our roads are not here for automobiles. Our roads are here for people to get around.” He also told delegates at an urban planning conference that "[streets] are not for cars… Cyclists and pedestrians and bus riders are as important, if not, I would argue more important, than automobile riders.”
Bloomberg is a billionaire philanthropist (he founded the Bloomberg economic news wire), and was a three-term Mayor of New York.
His role with WHO includes aiming to reduce noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), including heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes and chronic respiratory diseases, responsible for almost 80 percent of all deaths worldwide. Road traffic crashes account for a further 1.25 million deaths each year and are the leading cause of death among young people, aged 15–29 years.
For the past decade, Bloomberg has been working with WHO on tobacco control and injury prevention.
In his new role, he will work with national and local political leaders around the globe. He will push for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) promoted by the United Nations, including halving the number of global deaths and injuries from road traffic crashes by 2020.
A statement from WHO said "proven actions to prevent the most common forms of injuries include enforcing speed limits, drink-driving legislation and the wearing of seat-belts and helmets …"
The position of WHO Global Ambassador is for an initial period of two years – it does not carry any right to remuneration or compensation for expenses.
As a philanthropist, Bloomberg has given more than $4.3 billion in support of education, the environment, government innovation, the arts, and public health. His philanthropic investments in public health include a $100 million commitment to eradicate polio, a $600 million initiative to reduce global tobacco use, and programs to tackle obesity, road safety, maternal health, and drowning.