In October 2001, the 33rd Session of the ICAO Assembly adopted Resolution A33-1: Declaration on misuse of civil aircraft as weapons of destruction and other terrorist acts involving civil aviation. This resolution directed the ICAO Council and the Secretary General to consider the establishment of an audit programme relating to airport security arrangements and civil aviation security programmes. It also directed the ICAO Council to convene an international High-level, Ministerial Conference on Aviation Security with the objective of strengthening ICAO's role in the adoption of SARPs in the field of aviation security and in the auditing of their implementation.
The High-level, Ministerial Conference on Aviation Security was convened at ICAO Headquarters in Montréal from 19 to 20 February 2002. The Conference endorsed a global strategy for strengthening aviation security worldwide, adopted a number of conclusions and recommendations, and issued a public declaration. A central element of the strategy was an ICAO Aviation Security Plan of Action, which includes regular, mandatory, systematic and harmonized audits to enable the evaluation of aviation security in all Member States.
Consistent with the outcomes of the 33rd ICAO Assembly and the High-level, Ministerial Conference, the 166th Session of the ICAO Council adopted the Aviation Security Plan of Action in June 2002. Project 3 of the Plan of Action provides for the promotion of global aviation security through auditing of Member States. Implementation of the Programme commenced with the first aviation security audit taking place in November 2002.