Landmark agreement on international aviation emissions expected as world governments gather for 39th ICAO Assembly

Montréal, 27 September 2016 – Over 2,000 Ministers and high-ranking government officials have gathered at the Montréal Headquarters of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) today, for the launch of the UN aviation agency’s landmark 39th triennial Assembly.


The event was officially opened by ICAO’s Council President, Dr. Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu, who was joined on the occasion by Canada’s Minister of Transport Marc Garneau, Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard, and the Mayor of Montreal, Mr. Denis Coderre.


One of the most ambitious events of its kind in ICAO’s over seven decades of managing global air transport cooperation and progress, the 39th Assembly, which runs through 7 October, is expected to adopt the first ever global market-based measure (MBM) by any industry sector covering CO2 emissions from international activity.


“The path to an MBM for international aviation has been a complex one, for all concerned, but it has also been a process characterized by a high-level of political will and a clear motivation among State and industry parties to realize a practical and consensus-driven global approach. Already, States responsible for some 80% of international flights have volunteered to participate in the GMBM from 2021” stressed Council President Aliu.

The global aviation network currently manages some 10 million passengers and 100,000 flights daily, with international aviation contributing 1.3% a year to global manmade CO2 emissions.


“Significant progress has been achieved by ICAO and its Member States since 2010 to realize the sector’s goal of carbon neutral growth from 2020. These include innovative technologies, streamlined operations and procedures, and sustainable alternative aviation fuels” commented ICAO Secretary General Dr. Fang Liu, who elaborated further that given the global system’s tendency to double in flight and passenger volumes once every 15 years, a need is recognized for an MBM to complement the wide-ranging measures.


In addition to the expected agreement on the aviation MBM, governments at the 39th Assembly are also expected to endorse new amendments to ICAO’s global strategic plans for aviation safety and air navigation efficiency, as well as recommend that ICAO now develop similar global plans for aviation security and facilitation and air transport economic development


“ICAO has accomplished a tremendous amount in the past three years, most especially in our efforts to drive more targeted and effective assistance for States under our No Country Left Behind initiative, and through new frameworks for cost-effective capacity building such as the ICAO International Programme for Aviation Volunteers,” commented Council President Aliu. “We have also become more forward-looking and responsive and we are well-prepared for the new challenges our 39th Assembly will place before us.”


The decisions to be made over the next ten days at ICAO are expected to complement the already exemplary performance of the world air transport network, while improving its ability to drive sustainable long-term socio-economic benefits in every world region.


“Our States are taking clear note of this today, especially given the ambitious targets they’ve adopted under the UN’s Agenda 2030 and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals” remarked Secretary General Liu.


Delegates to the 2016 event elected Mr. Azharuddin Abdul Rahman of Malaysia as President of the 39th Session of the Assembly. Mr. Rahman will be helping to manage efficient decision-making on topics with global ramifications including landside and cybersecurity, travel document and identity management modernization, next generation air traffic management technologies, the liberalization of market access, and many other priorities. The Assembly will also provide ICAO’s Member States with the opportunity to elect the Organization’s new 36-State Governing Council for 2017-2019.


“This Assembly will be one for bold decisions, and a time to refine our vision for how air transport can be of even greater service to States and regions, businesses and travellers, in the exciting years ahead. I very much look forward to this journey,” Council President Aliu concluded in his 39th Assembly opening address.



Resources for Editors

ICAO's 39th Assembly
ICAO’s Global Market-Based Measure



Anthony Philbin
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