2019 ICAO Global Aviation Security Symposium addresses innovation and evolving threats

​ICAO Council President Dr. Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu opened the 2019 ICAO Global Aviation Security Symposium (left) which attracted some 550 participants. ICAO Secretary General Dr. Fang Liu (right) led the Leaders Plenary discussion during the first day of the event and provided closing remarks.

Montréal, 22 September 2019– Focused around the theme of “AVSEC Innovative Solutions,” representatives from the world’s most prominent aviation security administrations and bodies gathered at ICAO headquarters this week for ICAO’s 2019 Global Aviation Security Symposium. 

The event’s presentations, panels, activities, workshops, and real-time polls focused participant attention on the challenges encountered in improving aviation security and the mechanisms now needed, or already being deployed, to address them. 

“As threats evolve, our Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) must also change to ensure the associated risks are mitigated”, stressed ICAO Council President Dr. Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu in his opening remarks. “Each revision to Annex 17–Security and security-related Annex 9–Facilitation SARPs supports both aviation security and border management objectives, and requires adjustments to security measures at the national and local levels.” 

The Council President highlighted that threats such as Improvised Explosive Devices have been a grave concern for many years, and that the increasing complexity of the devices and sophisticated concealment methods require innovative detection methods. He also underscored that emerging threats reflect the increasing availability of certain devices, and the expanding knowledge of how to employ them by a widening user base. 

“For example the risk associated with the use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) to interfere in aviation operations, and even attack aviation facilities, has increased recently. States should give urgent consideration to such threats and share information on mitigation approaches and detection solutions,” he said. 

In her closing remarks to the event, ICAO Secretary General Dr. Fang Liu drew attention to the fact that both the ICAO Global Aviation Security Plan (GASeP) and United Nations Security Council resolution 2309 (2016) had provided important considerations relevant to the discussions and conclusions reached on risk assessment, innovation and technology, oversight and quality assurance, and capacity building. 

“These are all critical priorities for us today, and ICAO has been encouraged by the fact that key government and aviation sector domains involved in addressing them were so well represented here among the nearly 550 experts in attendance,” she commented. 

Applauding the fact that this was the first time that the disciplines of border security and aviation security had come together in such a globally important and influential forum, Dr. Liu further appreciated that all UN Member States and ICAO as well were bound by “responsibilities laid down in the United Nations Security Council resolution 2396 (2017),” and that the 2019 Global Aviation Security Symposium had delivered valuable insights regarding the work ahead. 

She also highlighted the coordination and outcome of the Industry Engagement Day which was included in this year’s AVSEC2019 event, where the Working Group on Innovation in Aviation Security focused on the importance of linking government initiatives with small start-up innovators, Examples include that Airports Council International (ACI) led an exploration of the security implications associated with the growth of large-scale ‘Aerotropolis’ facilities, and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) focused on its airlines’ efforts to evolve and meet the expanding security and facilitation requirements dictated by the modern passenger experience. 

“Undoubtedly, with each new threat report, and each innovation demonstrated by those who would do us harm, the resources gathered this week will be invaluable to aviation’s coordinated response,” she noted. 

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About ICAO 

A specialized agency of the United Nations, ICAO was created in 1944 to promote the safe and orderly development of international civil aviation throughout the world. It sets standards and regulations necessary for aviation safety, security, efficiency, capacity and environmental protection, amongst many other priorities. The Organization serves as the forum for cooperation in all fields of civil aviation among its 193 Member States. 

ICAO's Aviation Security Strategic Objective 

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