New commitments between ICAO and Cuba on the strategic and sustainable development of aviation

Cuba’s recognition of the crucial role aviation plays as a catalyst for sustainable development was reflected in new commitments between its government and ICAO that emerged from a series of ministerial meetings between ICAO Secretary General Juan Carlos Salazar (left) and the Prime Minister of Cuba, Manuel Marrero; Vice Prime Minister, Ricardo Cabrisas; Minister of Transport, Eduardo Rodríguez (pictured right); and Minister of Tourism, Juan Carlos García.

These discussions were formalized through a new agreement between the Ministry of Transport and ICAO on activities that will enhance the implementation of ICAO technical and strategic guidance, strengthening and fostering the sustainable development of Cuba’s air transport sector. Projects pursuant to this agreement, which was signed by the Minister of Transport and the Secretary General, will be carried out by ICAO’s Technical Cooperation Bureau (TCB), in coordination with ICAO’s North American, Central America and Caribbean (NACC) Regional Office, and by the Corporación de la Aviación Cubana, S.A. (CACSA.)

TCB Director Jorge Vargas and NACC Acting Regional Director Julio Siu accompanied Mr. Salazar throughout his meetings with the Government of Cuba, which took place from 13 to 15 April 2023, providing an opportunity to highlight the crucial assistance both the NACC Regional Office and the Bureau can deliver in supporting implementation. 

At these meetings, the Secretary General congratulated Cuba for its commitment and active participation in ICAO’s work, and recognized its dedication and progress in building human capacity, qualified aviation experts with a strong gender equality and a sustainability approach. He pointed to Cuba’s leadership in several aviation working groups and implementation mechanisms, and its commitment to assisting other countries in the region in meeting their international obligations.

The Cuban government reiterated the importance of ICAO to Cuba in terms of the country’s leadership as a pillar for sustainable development and for air transport in the region, pointing to ICAO’s pivotal role as a platform for cooperation and consensus. 

The Secretary General’s mission also encompassed meetings with Cuba’s aviation regulators and operators, including meetings with the President of the Cuban Civil Aviation Authority (IACC), Daniel López;  and Cuban Aviation Corporation (CACSA) President Joel Beltrán Archer Santos.

In addition to his bilateral meetings with Cuban officials, the Secretary General also engaged in discussions with the UN Resident Coordinator in Cuba, Francisco Pichon. These focussed on ICAO’s specific role in supporting sustainable development in Cuba and regionally, and how the lessons learned from these activities could inform the sharing of UN system best practices in support to States.

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