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The 38th Session of the ICAO Assembly noted the progress made during the triennium to enhance civil aviation security (AVSEC), notably through strengthening of Annex 17 – Security provisions for air cargo, delivery of technical assistance to all regions, and timely completion of the second cycle of ICAO security audits. It endorsed the Council’s proposal to pursue a Strategic Objective for 2014-2016 that calls for enhancement of both aviation security and facilitation, thus underscoring the importance of implementing effective and efficient facilitation processes and security measures.


Developments in Aviation Security


The 38th Session of the Assembly endorsed a detailed work plan for implementing the recommendations of the 2012 High-level Conference on Aviation Security (HLCAS) by the end of 2016, noting that certain HLCAS recommendations should be implemented as policy priorities.  These focused on the need for ICAO and its Member States to promote risk-based and outcome-focused approaches to aviation security and the implementation of sustainable security measures, in part by encouraging mutual recognition arrangements and international cooperation with the aim of streamlining procedures. Also emphasized was the need to promote innovative approaches to aviation security and more effective targeting of assistance activities based on audit results.


The Assembly reaffirmed the importance of implementing the ICAO Comprehensive Aviation Security Strategy (ICASS) and stressed the need to continue to support its activities through financial and in-kind contributions from States. It also agreed that the 2010 Declaration on Aviation Security should continue to guide States and all other stakeholders in further efforts to enhance aviation security worldwide.


In light of the importance of sustainability, the Assembly supported a proposal to develop an action plan for implementing the principles of international cooperation in aviation security. In this context, it noted that passenger facilitation should be a central consideration in designing and implementing security measures.


Amendment 13 to Annex 17 became applicable on 15 July. The revised and new provisions further the implementation of supply chain security measures with special focus on high-risk cargo, as well as the use of common baseline security measures for cargo to be transported on passenger or all-cargo aircraft. The Amendment includes a revised and comprehensive Standard for the screening and security control of persons other than passengers.


By year’s end, 105 Member States and Special Administrative Regions (SARs) had responded to the State letter on Amendment 13, notifying ICAO of their compliance or differences with the amended Annex 17.


The Aviation Security Panel conducted its 24th meeting at ICAO Headquarters in April. Among key developments, the Panel updated the global Risk Context Statement that was first developed in 2011 and agreed on proposed new Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) for Annex 17 − Security. These include provisions that will further strengthen cargo and mail security, oversight requirements and international cooperation, as well as measures for dealing with landside and cyber threats.


The Council approved the Panel’s recommendations, including the draft Amendment 14 to Annex 17, which was circulated to States for comment. Provided the proposed Amendment is not disapproved by more than half of Member States, it is expected to become applicable in late 2014.


ICAO improved the design and functionality of its AVSEC Point of Contact (PoC) Network, an online directory of international contacts designated by States as focal points for information concerning imminent threats and other security-related matters. The upgraded PoC Network features a messaging system for secure and rapid communications while providing greater control over who can access such information. States can access the platform through the secure portal.


Revised guidance material on air cargo and mail security was made available to States in the form of an amendment to the Aviation Security Manual (Doc 8973/8) and is accessible at the ICAO secure website.


ICAO initiated new cooperative activities with the World Customs Organization (WCO). The two organizations commenced a joint action plan for enhancing cargo security and facilitation processes through various activities such as joint conferences and training initiatives. One product of collaboration in 2013 was a joint publication entitled Moving Air Cargo Globally. The new brochure promotes awareness of effective ways that stakeholders can work together to secure the air cargo and mail supply chain.


While recognizing that global supply chain provisions have been strengthened by Amendment 13 to Annex 17, the 38th Session of the Assembly agreed that risks to air cargo and mail security remain significant and endorsed a roadmap to strengthen global air cargo security in a harmonized manner.

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