At the dawn of the 21st century, the globalization of trade and economics, in parallel with the sophistication of civil aviation systems, places tremendous pressure on the world aviation community.
ICAO, as a focal point of this community, will continue to face additional challenges. As the century turns, recent achievements and new mandates, notably the establishment of the Universal Safety Oversight Audit Programme and the adoption of the Montreal Convention on liability, will lead to a new emphasis on implementation.
Throughout, safety and security will remain our first priorities. Optimum safety and security flow primarily from the full and consistent implementation of the Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) as defined in the Convention on International Civil Aviation and its Annexes. The role of ICAO is to ensure that SARPs reflect the evolution of civil aviation in a rapidly changing world, and to assist and encourage States to implement these SARPs.
As we pursue our goals, we must knit closer ties with each sector of the global civil aviation community, to integrate with our activities the enormous expanse of expertise and experience in the design and operation of aviation systems and equipment.
We must be an increasingly effective and productive organization, taking a business-like approach to realizing our strategic action plan. This implies procedural, managerial and administrative reforms which we have already initiated and which will be intensified.
All this represents a tremendous period of change and challenge for the ICAO Secretariat, but I have immense pride in my team and I am confident that the Secretariat will come through for the world aviation community in the 21st century as it has done time and again during the past 55 years of the 20th century.
I join the President of the Council in wishing you, on behalf of the ICAO Secretariat at Headquarters and in the Regions, a year 2000 full of achievement and promise.