Advocating for aviation safety, security, sustainability, and resilience

ICAO Secretary General Juan Carlos Salazar (pictured left) recently concluded a high-level mission to Geneva, where he conducted a series of bilateral meetings and activities in support of the organization’s safety and security priorities and air transport’s sustainability and resilience objectives.

These meetings included bilateral discussions with the Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus; the Secretary-General of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), Rebeca Grynspan; the Deputy Secretary-General of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), Tomas Lamanauskas; and the senior management team of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), including its Director General, Willie Walsh (pictured right).

In the course of the Secretary General’s mission, he also addressed a “Town Hall” meeting in IATA, where he provided the association’s staff members with a comprehensive update on ICAO’s work and achievements. The meeting was also the occasion for the conclusion of a new agreement by Messrs. Salazar and Walsh to extend the ICAO/IATA licence agreement in respect of the Technical Instructions For The Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods by Air (as depicted).

At IATA, Mr. Salazar highlighted the crucial importance of cooperation between the two organizations and efforts to address gaps in sustainability and safety, and noted that ICAO is taking its 80th anniversary as an opportunity to review our work and mandate in order to better serve our Member States and stakeholders.

While Mr. Salazar’s discussions with IATA senior management focussed on developments in international air law, sustainability, data protection and governance, and modern airline retailing standards, his meetings with his United Nations counterparts explored heightening cooperation towards both UN-system wide objectives and their specific objectives as specialized agencies. Additionally, the Secretary General’s WHO meeting encompassed priorities related to the current WHO Pandemic Treaty negotiations, while his discussions at ITU addressed common areas of interest in the fields of radionavigation-satellite service, artificial intelligence, and cybersecurity.

A major priority was the identification of means to heighten the sustainability of air transport, especially in the context of the progress achieved at COP 28, as was assuring the resilience of air navigation and passenger facilitation services in the context of aviation’s recovery from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The UN leaders also exchanged views on the transformation and sustainability of their own organizations in this context.

Mr. Salazar’s three-day mission to Switzerland concluded at Genève Aéroport on 17 January 2024, where he was received by its Director General, André Schneider. 

The Secretary General was accompanied throughout his activities by the Directors of ICAO’s Capacity Development and Implementation Bureau, Mr. Jorge Vargas and Legal and External Affairs Bureau, Mr. Michael Gill.

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