Sovereignty of States: Each State has complete and exclusive sovereignty over the airspace above its territory. Accordingly, ICAO fully respects a sovereign State’s responsibility and authority for aviation security oversight, including its decision-making powers with respect to implementing corrective actions related to audit findings.
Universality: All Member States shall be subject to an aviation security audit by ICAO, in accordance with the principles, processes and procedures established for conducting such audits, and on the basis of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by ICAO and each Member State.
Transparency: ICAO USAP audit elements and process will be made available to all Member States. This is not to be confused with the question of the introduction of a limited level of transparency of audit results as directed by the ICAO Assembly.
Objectivity: ICAO USAP audits will be conducted in a consistent and objective manner. Standardization and uniformity in the scope, depth and quality of audits will be ensured through the training and certification of all auditors, the provision of guidance material, and the implementation of an audit quality control system within the Aviation Security Audit Section (ASA).
Fairness: ICAO USAP Audits are to be conducted in such a manner that Member States are given every opportunity to monitor, comment on and respond to the audit process within the established timeframe.
Quality: ICAO USAP audits will be conducted by appropriately trained and qualified auditors and in accordance with widely recognized auditing principles and practices.
Timeliness: The results of the audits will be produced and submitted on a timely basis, in accordance with a predetermined schedule for the preparation and submission of audit reports. Member States are equally required to submit their comments, corrective action plan (CAP) and all documentation required for the audit process within the prescribed timeframe.
All-inclusiveness: The scope of the ICAO USAP includes Standards of Annex 17 – Security to the Convention on International Civil Aviation (Chicago Convention) and the security-related provisions of Annex 9 – Facilitation. The security-related provisions of other Annexes, which are included in the green pages of Annex 17, fall within the scope of the Universal Safety Oversight Audit Programme (USOAP), which covers all the other 16 Annexes.
Confidentiality: Audit reports are confidential and will only be made available to the audited State and to those with an operational “need-to-know” within ICAO (standard clause in the MoU).
In order to promote mutual confidence in the level of aviation security between States, the 35th and 36th Sessions of the ICAO Assembly urged all Member States to share, as appropriate and consistent with their sovereignty, the results of the audits carried out by ICAO and the corrective actions taken by the audited States, if requested by another State. The importance of exchanging audit implementation is also underlined by the addition of a new Recommended Practice within Annex 17 to this effect (Annex 17, RP 2.4.5).
The 36th Session of the ICAO Assembly also introduced a limited level of transparency with respect to ICAO aviation security audit results, balancing the need for States to be aware of unresolved security concerns with the need to keep sensitive security information out of the public realm.