ICAO’s Universal Safety Oversight Audit Programme (USOAP) was initially launched in January 1999, in response to widespread concerns about the adequacy of aviation safety oversight around the world. The ultimate goal of USOAP is promoting global aviation safety through regular audits of safety oversight systems in all ICAO Member States.
USOAP audits focus on a State’s capability in providing safety oversight by assessing whether the State has effectively and consistently implemented the critical elements of a safety oversight system and determining the State's level of implementation of ICAO’s safety-related Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) and associated procedures and guidance material.
The programme was expanded in 2005 to the USOAP Comprehensive Systems Approach (CSA) to include safety-related provisions contained in all safety-related Annexes to the Chicago Convention. The USOAP CSA cycle which ended in December 2010 entailed about 40 safety oversight audits annually, with each ICAO Member State required to host an audit at least once during the cycle.
In September 2007, the 36th Session of the Assembly adopted Resolution A36-4 directing the Council to examine different options for the continuation of the USOAP beyond 2010, including the feasibility of applying a new approach based on the concept of continuous monitoring and incorporating the analysis of safety risk factors. The systematic and more proactive conduct of monitoring activities in the new USOAP Continuous Monitoring Approach (CMA) would make a more effective and efficient use of ICAO resources and reduce the burden on States caused by repetitive audits. USOAP CMA would also increase the role of other ICAO bureaux and the regional offices (ROs), include States’ commitment to the programme by providing ICAO with relevant safety information and expand and amend ICAO’s agreements for the sharing of confidential safety information with international entities and organizations.
In 2010, the 37th Session of the Assembly adopted Resolution A37-5, affirming that the evolution of USOAP to the CMA should continue to be a top priority for ICAO to ensure that information on the safety performance of Member States is provided to other Member States and to the travelling public on an ongoing basis. This vital improvement to international aviation safety required the participation and support of all Member States, particularly during the two-year transition period (2011 - 2012) while the tools and guidance required for USOAP CMA were developed.
As of January 2013, USOAP CMA is fully launched and its various tools, mechanisms and guidance materials are constantly reviewed for improvement.
Comprehensive information related to USOAP CMA is available on the USOAP CMA Online Framework at www.icao.int/usoap.