ICAO Assembly achieves historic consensus on sustainable future for global civil aviation

​More than 2,200 delegates from 185 Members States, non-Member States and 56 observer delegations to ICAO’s 39th Assembly achieved 30% more work than at any previous event of its kind, including an historic agreement on a new global market-based measure (GMBM) for international flight emissions.

Montréal, 6 October 2016 – ICAO’s Member States concluded the UN aviation agency’s landmark 39th Assembly today, delivering an historic agreement on a new global market-based measure (GMBM) to offset CO2 emissions from international flights and a comprehensive roadmap for the sustainable future of international aviation.


“Aviation can now claim its ‘Paris moment’,” declared ICAO Council President Dr. Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu, “Air transport is not only the world's first major industry sector to adopt a global approach to international emissions reduction, but very importantly States representing more than 83% of international flight operations have volunteered to participate in the GMBM from its earliest stages in 2021.”


“The GMBM will serve as an important new tool to complement the wide-ranging emissions reduction progress already being achieved under aviation’s basket of measures,” noted ICAO Secretary General Dr. Fang Liu in her Assembly closing remarks, “namely through technological innovation, modernized procedures, and the ever-expanding use of sustainable alternative fuels.”


Significant and far-reaching 39th Assembly progress was achieved across all of ICAO’s five Strategic Objectives for Aviation Safety, Air Navigation Capacity and Efficiency, Aviation Security and Facilitation, the Economic Development of Air Transport, and Environmental Protection.


ICAO Member States delivered very clear endorsements for the targets and approaches being pursued globally under ICAO’s comprehensive strategic plans, and supported the need for it to provide similar leadership at the global level in the form of two new Global Plans now to be developed for Aviation Security and Air Transport Economic Development.


They also showed their clear appreciation and support for ICAO’s recent reprioritization on assistance and capacity-building under its No Country Left Behind strategy, aided by more intensive global partnerships and resource mobilization.


Other decisions of note included agreement to amend the Chicago Convention to increase the number of States on ICAO’s Governing Council and its supporting Air Navigation Commission.


“The Council President and I have been very encouraged to see such a high level of interest from Member States and industry in the work of ICAO, recognizing and supporting our leading role in global aviation,” Dr. Liu concluded. “This Assembly has benefitted from the participation of more than 2,200 delegates from 185 Members States, non-Member States and 56 observer delegations – the highest number we have ever hosted – and we have achieved 30% more work than at any previous event of this kind.”


ICAO Assemblies are conducted once every three years, with the agency’s 40th set to take place during its 75th Anniversary year in 2019.


A more detailed review of the specific items endorsed at the 39th Assembly, under each Strategic Objective for global aviation, may be found below.



ICAO 39th Assembly – Summary of Main Conclusions





​•​Endorsement of the ICAO Global Aviation Safety Plan (GASP) as the strategic direction for ICAO’s technical work programme in air navigation:
-​New edition maintains objectives from previous, focused on effective safety oversight for States and safety management for operators. GASP objectives going forward will be to:
​•​Continue to work on Safety Management System (SMS) implementation.
​•​Work with State regulators on State Safety Programme implementation activities, including safety performance measurement.
​•​Develop safety performance indicators and continue evolution toward predictive risk management once SMS implementation is complete.
​•​Endorsement of continuation of ICAO's Comprehensive Regional Implementation Plan for Aviation Safety in Africa (AFI Plan) activities beyond 2016, and within the work programmes of the regional offices, as well as its expansion to cover all safety areas.
​•​Noted and appreciated ICAO’s progress on items resolved at the last ICAO High Level Safety Conference (2015).
​•​Endorsement of an ICAO strategy on emergency preparedness and response.


Noteworthy Extra:


​•​First Council Presidents Certificates for Safety Audit performance improvement were presented during the opening ceremonies to 14 objectively selected States.



 Air Navigation Capacity and Efficiency


​•​Endorsed the Fifth Edition of the ICAO Global Air Navigation Plan (GANP) as the strategic direction for ICAO’s technical work programme in air navigation. Additions to the current version include:
-​ATM Logical Architecture.
-​Notion of ‘minimum path’.
-​Performance-based approach.
-​Financial aspects (MDWG).
​•​Urged States to continue PBN implementation

Look ahead : proposed topics for the 2018 ICAO 13th Air navigation Conference:


​•​Convergence on the next generation of Datacom
​•​Agreement on the system architecture for a Global SWIM
​•​Introduction of the Basic Building Blocks for the GANP (BBBGs)
​•​Introduction of the business case templates for the individual ASBU modules for Block 1 and their associated influence diagrams
​•​Agreement on the Air navigation Capacity and Efficiency Indicators
​•​Consolidation of the work programme required for Block 2
​•​Development of a new ASBU Block 4



Security & Facilitation


​•​Endorsement to commence development of the ICAO Global Aviation Security Plan, which will provide direction to all entities involved in AVSEC enhancement, with focus on internationally agreed goals and targets.
​•​Endorsement of the following as ICAO's AVSEC and FAL key priorities for the coming triennium:
-​New and evolving threats, including cybersecurity, landside security and insider threats.
-​Technical assistance and strengthened regional coordination.
-​Adoption of the first-ever cybersecurity resolution, which stresses the importance of information sharing and coordination across civil aviation safety and security fields of expertise to address this important area of risk.
-​ Priorities of the FAL Programme and activities for 2017-2019 triennium.
-​The ICAO Traveller Identification Programme (TRIP) Strategy, including travel documents, the ICAO Public Key Directory (PKD), and the provision of related assistance and training to States.
​•​Continued support for the Universal Security Audit Programme Continuous Monitoring Approach, including by seconding short- and long-term experts and by participating in training courses and regional seminars.
​•​Support for the creation of a Comprehensive Regional Implementation Plan for Aviation Security and Facilitation (SECFAL) in the Middle Eastern Region and continued support for the existing plan, AFI SECFAL, in Africa.



Economic Development of Air Transport


​•​Acknowledgement of need to consider a new ICAO Global Air Transport Plan.
​•​Endorsement of action plan for the finalization of the international agreements being developed by ICAO for the liberalization of market access, air cargo and air carrier ownership and control.
​•​Endorsement of the action plan for further customization of long term traffic forecasts for global and regional forecasts for aviation personnel (Doc 9956) to meet the requirements of the ICAO Next Generation Aviation Professional (NGAP) programme.
​•​Promote the strengthening of partnerships in the area of data sharing and analysis with the UN, its agencies, international, regional organizations and academia to increasing financing and investments for the development of air transport activities.
​•​Increased awareness and promotion of various updated policy guidance and tools.
​•​Increased awareness and promotion of the ICAO long-term vision for air transport liberalization and core principles on consumer protection.
​•​Increased awareness and promotion of various tools and analysis jointly developed by partners.



Environmental Protection


​•​Endorsement of a global market-based measure (GMBM), the first-ever market-based measure adopted by an entire industry sector.
​•​Recognition of the ongoing work to develop a new supersonic noise Standard for future aircraft, and that the possible certification of a supersonic aeroplane in the 2020-2025 timeframe.
​•​Recognition of the development of a new non-volatile Particulate Matter (nvPM) emissions Standard for all turbofan and turbojet aircraft with rated thrust greater than 26.7kN (first-ever).
​•​Support for the ICAO aspirational goals on CO2 emissions reduction and recognition of progress on all elements of the Basket of Measures
​•​Recognition of the development of a new global CO2 emissions certification Standard for New Type and In-production aeroplanes (first-ever).
​•​Welcome the partnership agreement between ICAO and ACI that focuses on various cooperative initiatives for greener airports.
​•​Recognition of significant achievements in assisting States to develop their State action plans for CO2 emissions reduction, leading to the submission of 101 State plans to ICAO
​•​Request for advancing on emerging issues such as: environmental aspects of aircraft end-of-life (e.g. aircraft recycling); and climate change risk assessment on international aviation, including identification of adaptation measures




Assistance and Capacity-building:


​•​Endorsement of the continuation of the No Country Left Behind (NLCB) initiative



UN Sustainable Development Goals


​•​Encourage States to contribute to achieving the SDGs through the implementation of ICAO Strategic Objectives and work programmes.
​•​Direct ICAO to further assist its Member States in enhancing their air transport systems and ensure that no country is left behind so that all can foster sustainable development and benefit from improved air connectivity.



Next Generation of Aviation Professionals


​•​Endorsed the Next Generation of Aviation Professionals (NGAP) Programme and highlighted the work of ICAO to create greater awareness of the impending shortages of personnel, promote gender equality in aviation and assist the global aviation community in attracting, educating and retaining skilled personnel.



Accident Victims


​•​Recognize Council’s adoption of Amendment 25 to Annex 9 — Facilitation (12 June 2015), which includes a provision for States to establish legislation, regulations and/or policies in support of assistance to aircraft accident victims and their families.


Technical Assistance

  • Endorsement that that ICAO continue its work on the development and implementation of technical assistance under the respective Strategic Objectives, in partnership with States, international and regional organizations, and industry.          


Technical Cooperation     


​•Recognition that the ICAO Technical Cooperation Programme continues to be a permanent priority activity of the organization; and one of the main instruments of ICAO to support States in remedying deficiencies and implementing improvements in the field of civil aviation.



Composition of ICAO Council and Air Navigation Commission


​•​Agreement to amend Article 50 (a) of the Chicago Convention to increase the membership of the ICAO Council from 36 to 40 States.
​•​Agreement to amend Article 56 of the Chicago Convention to increase the membership of the Air Navigation Commission from 19 to 21 States.



Resources for Editors

ICAO's 39th Assembly



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