2014 was a remarkable year for ICAO, and indeed for all of aviation. Closer to home it marked the landmark 70th Anniversary of the Convention on International Civil Aviation, the launching of ICAO’s No Country Left Behind implementation support initiative, as well as a number of other firsts for the Organization which I will touch upon in more detail shortly.
From a more general international civil aviation standpoint, however, 2014 will likely be remembered for two very high-profile aircraft accidents which prompted ICAO, its States, and indeed our entire sector, to respond with an incredible degree of rapidity and consensus.
Fortunately, civil aviation as a sector has a long history of meeting and resolving even the most difficult of challenges. And when we have been called upon to react especially quickly to rapidly unfolding events, we have consistently done so. The extraordinary qualities and benefits of modern air services, including our global network’s still enviable safety performance, are the direct result of the commitment of our Member States, industry and international organizations to work together, through ICAO.
Council Off-site Meeting and No Country Left Behind
As I mentioned above, 2014 saw a number of important firsts take place at and through ICAO. Foremost among these was the inaugural Council Off-site Strategy Meeting I initiated, which was subsequently resolved by Council to be held on an annual basis. This event importantly reflected the increasingly proactive approach of the Council in providing strategic leadership towards enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of ICAO, as we continue to meet the needs of our Members States.
During our first 2014 Off-Site event, Council’s States’ Representatives were joined by myself, Secretary General Benjamin, and ICAO’s HQ and Regional Office Directors for a lively series of discussions structured and planned very effectively in advance by the Council Off-site Planning Group.
Overall, the ICAO Council Off-site meeting met its objective to identify recommendations and actions supporting more efficient and effective assistance to, and communication with ICAO’s States, fostering teamwork and increasing each participant's satisfaction and performance within ICAO's leadership team. Another important outcome of this event was the subsequent proposal for ICAO to place greater priority on assistance and capacity-building actions and resources in aid of States’ effective implementation of ICAO SARPs.
This was subsequently launched during our 70th Anniversary ceremonies in December 2014 with the ‘No Country Left Behind’ slogan and will be an important area of focus going forward. I am encouraged as well that in this 2014 Annual Report there are many Technical Cooperation and Assistance projects highlighted under each Strategic Objective which further demonstrate the importance of this work to ICAO’s Mission and Role.
70th Anniversary Celebrations and Model ICAO Council
To celebrate the 70th Anniversary of the Chicago Convention, ICAO arranged a series of events in Montréal and Chicago which were extremely well-received by both internal and external participants. In Montréal our events kicked-off with a first-ever ICAO Model Council featuring young representatives from ICAO’s Council States, held in conjunction with a global symposium for the Next Generation of Aviation Professionals. It is always a source of pride and hope to see that world youth are still excited by aviation and the prospect of careers in our sector, and these events certainly did not disappoint in that regard.
Subsequent to the Model Council, ICAO was joined by dignitaries from all local governments for a gala event here in our headquarters. Included in this itinerary were a series of addresses marking the occasion to dignitaries and staff, a visit by the ICAO Council and visiting Ambassadors to the new ICAO Museum, a wonderful reception hosted by the Government of Canada, and a concert hosted here in ICAO by the mayor of Montréal.
After events in Montréal had wound up, ICAO’s Council Representatives and senior staff were flown to Chicago where we were joined by US senior officials and the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon for a special session of the ICAO Council in the exact room and premises where the Chicago Convention was originally drafted and concluded in 1944. This very impressive event was deeply appreciated by all, supported generously by Boeing, Airbus, United Airlines and Air Canada, and ended with a commemorative plaque marking the occasion being permanently housed in the Chicago Hilton’s Grand Tradition Room.
ICAO also realized a first-ever ICAO Museum on my personal request, in advance of receiving our 70th Anniversary guests in December. This new facility celebrates the Organization’s storied history and the many accomplishments ICAO has made in support of air transport development and the Chicago Convention’s guiding principles and aims. It could not have been realized in such a short time period without the dedicated support of the Secretary General and ADB Director Fang Liu and the team she assembled, and in the future our goal will be to enhance its ability to instill excitement around aviation and its benefits in the public at large, while providing interesting air transport educational exhibits for local and visiting youth.
Together, the ICAO Museum – which details our historical achievements while presenting them in a prestigious and entertaining format – as well as the very successful Model Council event, will undoubtedly serve to generate increased interest and passion in international aviation in the important high school and university level demographics we will need to become our Next Generation of Aviation Professionals. And the fact that the Model Council was associated with our very successful NGAP Symposium in December draws this connection even more clearly.
Human Resources Development Fund
Consistent with ICAO’s renewed focus on capacity-building and assistance to States, and responding to some of the challenges identified by the Steering Committee for the Regional Implementation Plan for Aviation Safety in Africa (AFI Plan) and the African Civil Aviation Commission (AFCAC), in 2014 the Council established a new Human Resources Development Fund (HRDF) targeted to African youth. The HRDF is a concrete example of the type of practical measures which can be realized through the cooperation of Member States and stakeholders for compliance and implementation of ICAO’s Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs). I will be watching its progress closely in 2015 and onward and am very encouraged to see ICAO becoming more proactive in this regard.
Enhancing Efficiency and Effectiveness
Throughout 2014, the Organization has undertaken various initiatives to improve efficiency and effectiveness in order to meet the evolving needs of the Organization to carry out programme activities for the benefit of Member States and the Aviation Community. I have been encouraged to note the progress achieved in many areas with respect to the streamlining of administrative processes, structural optimization, improved electronic managerial tools, specialized cooperative programmes for junior professionals, and several organization-wide data management initiatives. Further detailed information can be found in the reports of our Bureau of Administration and Services and other areas within the Secretariat.
Progress on ICAO’s Strategic Objectives
Under our Strategic Objective for Safety, the 2014-2016 Global Aviation Safety Plan, endorsed by the 38th Session of the Assembly, continued to be implemented during 2014 as a high-level safety policy, planning and implementation document to be used at the global, regional and State levels.
ICAO’s major safety accomplishments during this period focused around the emergency response Task Forces which were convened on flight tracking and the risks to civil aviation arising in conflict zones. In both instances useful findings and practical recommendations quickly emerged from these multidisciplinary discussions amongst State and industry experts, leading to a series of results and measures which were endorsed by the Council and prepared for the subsequent assessment of all ICAO Member States at the February 2015 High-Level Safety Conference. These results represented a great deal of progress on extremely challenging dossiers in a very short time period. Accordingly, the efforts of all concerned deserve our profound recognition and appreciation.
Other notable accomplishments in the Safety area centered around enhanced provisions for the Legal Protection of Safety Information and recommended amendments to Annexes 6, 13, and 19, continuing USOAP CMA results and outreach, advances through the Monitoring and Assistance Review Board (MARB) and the new regional performance dashboards which were launched this year, and targeted cooperative efforts to further reduce runway-related and Loss of Control Inflight (LOC-I) accidents and fatalities. Many other advances and achievements were seen under Safety in 2014, and I would encourage all Annual Report readers to review these in more detail.
Air Navigation Capacity and Efficiency
In the Air Navigation Capacity and Efficiency domain, the 2014-2016 Global Air Navigation Plan continues to make its mark guiding global progress on new performance improvements and will be benefited going forward by a new Air Navigation Integrated Work Programme. Performance-based Navigation (PBN) continued to be pursued as the sector’s highest Air Navigation priority, and to better reflect this a new PBN Programme Office was formally established within the Air Navigation Bureau. I was also encouraged to see that, in a related development, over twenty States signed onto the new Africa Indian Ocean (AFI) Flight Procedures Programme (AFI-FPP) in 2014, which builds on our APAC-FPP success.
Additional Capacity and Efficiency successes last year included the approval of PANS-Aerodromes which increases aerodrome capacity, the outcomes of the Meteorology Divisional Meeting (2014) which was held conjointly with the 15th session of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Commission for Aeronautical Meteorology, and Council’s approval of the new regional Air Navigation Plan (ANP) template. It was further recognized last year that air traffic flow management in congested airspace will likely emerge as one of our main Capacity and Efficiency priorities for the next triennium.
Security and Facilitation
Under our Security and Facilitation Strategic Objective, the publication of Amendment 14 to Annex 17 was accompanied by the issuance of the Ninth Edition of the Aviation Security Manual (Doc 8973/9). The latest edition of Doc 8973 provides aviation security authorities with strengthened guidance to implement Annex 17 provisions, including those introduced by Amendment 14. Furthermore, and recognizing the importance of ensuring that security defenses remain at all times appropriate and proportionate to the risk, in March ICAO published the Third Edition of the ICAO Aviation Security Global Risk Context Statement.
ICAO also held its first-ever Symposium on Innovation in Aviation Security in October 2014, and it was an unqualified success. Similarly positive results and events emerged from the Air Cargo area, all of which were focused on improving implementation of the cargo security-related measures introduced by Amendment 13 to Annex 17. Other advances in Security and Facilitation focused on ICAO/WCO/IATA jointly-endorsed guidelines for Advance Passenger Information (API) and Passenger Name Record (PNR) data, FAL Regional Seminars in Lima and Paris, USAP-CMA progress, and a number of significant implementation and outreach activities conducted under the ICAO Traveller Identification Programme (TRIP) Strategy.
Under the framework of the ICAO Aviation Security Assistance and Capacity Building Strategy, nine State Improvement Plans were initiated and the Africa-Indian Ocean (AFI) Security/Facilitation (AFI SECFAL) Initiative was approved by Council in October. In other areas, ICAO remained actively involved in facilitating and coordinating the work of regional partnerships and developed new aviation security assistance performance indicators using USAP-CMA data, and the worldwide network of Aviation Security Training Centres (ASTCs) endorsed by ICAO was expanded to 28 during 2014.
Economic Development of Air Transport
Under the Strategic Objective on the Economic Development of Air Transport, good progress was made on furthering the implementation of decisions taken at ICAO’s Sixth Air Transport Conference (ATConf/6), including the development of international agreements for the liberalization of market access, air carrier ownership and control, and air cargo services, as well as core principles on consumer protection. A number of major air transport events were also conducted promoting ICAO policies and guidance in the fields of taxation, fair competition, consumer protection, and user charges, and in cooperation with States and concerned stakeholders, two regional events were organized to promote air cargo development.
The Seventh ICAO Air Services Negotiation Conference (ICAN) was also held in 2014, in Bali, Indonesia, and the event boasted record-breaking participation. Other highlights under this Objective included three courses conducted on airport user charges under the Airport Management Professional Accreditation Programme, the establishment of a Working Group linked to the implementation of the Aviation System Block Upgrades, an ICAO Aviation Data Analyses Seminar for Middle Eastern States, and publication of the first annual State of Air Transport statistics for 2013. Further achievements were made in the areas of forecasting and analysis joint financing agreements, and I would encourage your more detailed review of all of this progress.
ICAO’s Environmental Protection work focused largely on requests from the 38th Session of the Assembly and advances made by the Council’s Committee on Aviation Environmental Protection (CAEP). Also significant was the development and facilitation of mitigation measures to reduce CO2 emissions from international aviation, such as aircraft technology, operational improvements, sustainable alternative fuels for aviation, a global market-based measure (MBM), and implementation support for Member States’ action plans through capacity-building and assistance.
The ICAO Council agreed on a clear process for the development of a global MBM scheme for international aviation, including the establishment of the Environment Advisory Group (EAG) which met eight times in 2014. Further progress was also seen on ICAO’s CO2 Emissions Standard for aircraft, a new aircraft engine particulate matter (PM) Standard, alternative fuels, airport planning, ASBU environmental benefits analyses, and a potential noise certification for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS).
Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu
President of the ICAO Council