Message from the President of the Council

Message from the President of the Council


Sustainable growth, innovation and partnership were three key themes characterizing ICAO’s work over 2015.


At the Paris Climate Change Conference (COP21), States took a major step forward in addressing climate change and its impact on our planet, recognizing the commonality of the environmental challenges it poses while agreeing that the developmental imperatives of each country are as diverse and unique as the States themselves.


And at the first-ever ICAO/UNOOSA AeroSpace Symposium, ICAO took new and pioneering steps towards extending our work in the field of aviation to govern the safe integration into this framework of suborbital flights.


ICAO also realized its first-ever World Aviation Forum (IWAF) in 2015, which drew further attention to the work we are pursuing under No Country Left Behind to enhance the effective implementation of Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) globally.


The IWAF also placed renewed focus on the partnerships and collaboration needed to make that goal a reality, while stressing the related objectives for global air transport relating to overall system modernization and the significant infrastructure investments needed to assure we can manage future growth safely and efficiently.


2015 was also an exceptional year for ICAO in that it witnessed the appointment of the Organization’s first-ever female Secretary General. Notably, this landmark in our agency’s history speaks not only to changes taking place within ICAO, but also across the entire air transport sector.


2015 Highlights




As mentioned above, rather than including international aviation emissions in its agreement, the COP21 invited ICAO to continue to report progress on its wide-ranging environmental work programme to future sessions of the UNFCCC’s Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA).


This decision was taken in consideration of ICAO’s continuing work on the development of a market-based measure for limiting CO2 emissions and on aircraft CO2 emission regulations, and it supported the ICAO Council’s November Declaration that the Council would continue to provide the necessary leadership, through ICAO, on all environmental issues relating to international civil aviation.


First-ever ICAO/UNOOSA symposium


Suborbital activities are rapidly emerging as a new sector for the civil aviation industry. In order to ensure that the adequate regulatory frameworks are in place to support and encourage the development of this field, ICAO and the United Nations Office of Outer Space Affairs organized the first-ever Aerospace Symposium. It brought together, for the first time, both aviation and space communities. Industry, regulatory and academic experts specialized in civil aviation, suborbital flight and space transport from around the globe came to explore existing regulations and practices as well as safety management and systems engineering methods.


In addition to making full use of the exceptional networking opportunity, they exchanged information on technical and commercial progress to date and discussed challenges on and beyond the horizon. The event’s success has led to its establishment as an annual series.


Next Generation of Aviation Professionals (NGAP) elevated to full programme status


Aviation is challenged by two phenomena when it comes to human resources: extraordinary expansion and demographic attrition. ICAO’s Council therefore decided to elevate our NGAP initiative to full programme status to better assist States with the attraction, education and retention of new aviation professionals.


Aviation in conflict zones


ICAO promptly and effectively addressed one of the early MH17 Task Force recommendations in 2015 by launching the online Conflict Zone Repository in April. We also began work on agreed contingency flight routings for conflict zones through our regional air navigation planning groups. Safety, as always, is our priority in aviation, and the deployment of this tool will help prevent the recurrence of a similar, avoidable tragedy.


No Country Left Behind


ICAO’s No Country Left Behind (NCLB) initiative took a major step forward in 2015 with the launch of the first-ever ICAO World Aviation Forum (IWAF).


Over 800 participants representing the Organization’s Member States, international organizations, financial institutions and the industry sector came together under the event’s “Aviation Partnerships for Sustainable Development” banner. This event was an opportunity for States to reiterate aviation’s strategic importance and acknowledge the associated need to increase effective implementation of ICAO SARPs and investments in infrastructure and other aviation development priorities.


Another important NCLB development in 2015 was the launching of the ICAO Programme for Aviation Volunteers (IPAV.) This initiative enables volunteers to assist States with shortcomings identified during ICAO audits, and also provides a framework for intervention in the event of crisis and emergency situations affecting civil aviation. It is expected that the IPAV framework will provide assistance which is both results-oriented and cost-effective for States, fully in line with our NCLB goals.


Lastly, NCLB received an important boost through the realization of ICAO’s new iMPLEMENT tool, a product which was launched at the 2015 IWAF and which helps States prioritize and enhance their implementation of ICAO SARPs.


Enhancing Effectiveness and Efficiency


From signing-in the participants for ICAO events to recruiting a new Director for the Organization, ICAO continued its thorough review of its processes and practices throughout 2015 and implemented many innovations, as outlined further in this report.


The progress that has been made is indicative of an Organization-wide prioritization of the imperative to “work smarter.” And of particular note are the digitization and modernization of many administrative and communication practices, which will now improve the services we are able to offer to our stakeholders while still providing significant cost savings.


ICAO also benefitted from the effectiveness and efficiency associated with the recommendations for training and capacity-building which emerged from the 2015 Council Off-site Strategy Meeting (COSM), as well as the Council's visit to the ICAO North American, Central American and Caribbean (NACC) Region subsequent to the generous invitation extended by the Government of Jamaica.


2015 COSM participants identified important gaps and priorities and recommended concrete strategies relating to training delivery, planning, funding, and analysis, as well as the development of competencies for the implementation of SARPs and for human resources planning. These proposals were discussed and approved at the 206th Session of the Council and are already making a difference to ICAO’s work.


The NACC visit to Jamaica provided an invaluable opportunity to convene with NACC Directors General of Civil Aviation and local representatives from regional and international organizations, and to enjoy first-hand reports on their current priorities and ICAO’s support and coordination in the region. It was also very encouraging to hear the regional overview from the ICAO NACC Regional Director, and his expectations that the NACC No Country Left Behind assistance methodology and culture transformation will be highly positive for NACC States.


Progress on ICAO’s Strategic Objectives




We are now in the final year of the 2014-2016 Global Aviation Safety Plan (GASP) and are preparing for the next edition with a view to enhancing its links with the Global Air Navigation Plan (GANP).


This final year for the GASP has been a very fruitful one in terms of ICAO’s safety initiatives, opening in February, for example, with the Second High-level Safety Conference. The conference resulted in 57 recommendations; many of which could be implemented with existing resources and which have already been adopted by Council.


ICAO also continued the enhancement of its Universal Safety Oversight Audit Programme Continuous Monitoring Approach (USOAP CMA), both in terms of its accessibility, by way of a migration of its online framework to a cloud-based system, and by undertaking training initiatives for Member States. Of particular note is the confirmation this year that the programme is now fully compliant with the ISO 9001:2008 quality management standard.


In terms of entirely new Safety initiatives, we held our first-ever Aviation Safety Implementation Assistance Partnership face-to-face meeting with the goal of facilitating discussion among donors and assistance providers.


In conjunction with Airports Council International (ACI), we also commenced a global study into the implementation of Runway Safety Teams — which have proven to be highly successful at mitigating the risks of runway incursions and excursions.


Finally, as mentioned above, we opened our online conflict zone information repository this year, along with a repository for airline tracking information. Both were pragmatic and rapidly implemented initiatives, undertaken in light of the recommendations of related Task Forces. The prompt realization of these tools was very encouraging and demonstrated to the world how rapidly ICAO can respond when called upon to do so.


Air Navigation Capacity and Efficiency


Innovation was a key theme in the air navigation capacity and efficiency domain this year. ICAO pushed ahead with the implementation of Air Traffic Flow Management (ATFM), and indeed the use of ATFM in congested airspace is being proposed as one of the key priorities in the 2017-2019 Global Air Navigation Plan for which we are currently preparing.


We made further progress with the new electronic Regional Air Navigation Plan (eANP), populating its web platform with information in collaboration with our Regional Offices, and we also undertook the first demonstration of the updated International Codes and Route Designators Database.


Finally, we adopted a new practical arrangements agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency. It sets forth our collaboration in the event of a radiation incident or emergency.


Security and Facilitation


Cybersecurity, risks to civil aviation arising from conflict zones, Foreign Terrorist Fighters (FTFs), Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) and other security threats which ICAO addressed in 2015 were as varied as they were numerous.


One of the highlights in this area was the organization of the 24th AVSEC World Conference, which offered ICAO the opportunity to underscore, in conjunction with IATA, its engagement with industry and other stakeholders with regard to these topics.


Cybersecurity in particular was a focus for ICAO, following the December 2014 signing of the Industry High-level Group (IHLG) Civil Aviation Cybersecurity Action Plan.


We also participated in the United Nations Security Council’s Counter-Terrorism Committee Extraordinary Meeting on Security Council Resolution 2178 (2014), which addressed amongst other concerns several points relating to ICAO’s travel document, traveller identification and Public Key Directory (PKD) programmes.


2015 was also an auspicious year with respect to our facilitation efforts, as Amendment 25 to Annex 9 — Facilitation became effective in October, just four months after the Madrid meeting. This Amendment relates directly to cornerstone tools such as Machine Readable Travel Documents and INTERPOL’s Stolen and Lost Travel Documents database.


Taken together, these events encouraged our continued broad outreach throughout the regions to ensure the progressive implementation of these and other security and facilitation-related SARPs and initiatives.


Economic Development of Air Transport


2015 will prove to be a momentous year for ICAO’s economic development activities, as Council adopted our long-term vision for international air transport liberalization, a result of Assembly Resolution A38-14.


This resolution additionally called upon ICAO to develop a set of core principles on consumer protection, which we also achieved. Furthermore, the Air Transport Regulation Panel, which contributed to these visions and principles, produced recommendations on the development of international agreements for liberalization of market access, air cargo and air carrier ownership and control. These were presented at its 13th meeting, which took place in March.


These achievements could explain why this year’s ICAO Air Services Negotiation Event (ICAN2015) was the most widely attended yet, with 803 participants from 95 States and Territories. They concluded more than 550 arrangements and agreements, including many open skies agreements. Some of these will figure amongst the 3 600 documents featured in our online World Air Services Agreements, which was launched this year.


Environmental Protection


It is hard to overstate the importance of 2015 in ICAO’s environmental work, and it is hard to imagine a more ringing endorsement of the track we are on than the recognition of our leadership by the participants of the COP21 conference.


The ICAO Council’s Committee on Aviation Environmental Protection (CAEP) continued to push forward in 2015 with a new CO2 emissions Standard for aircraft, a new aircraft engine particulate matter Standard, innovations in alternative and sustainable fuels, and of course continued to support the ICAO Council and its Environment Advisory Group (EAG) on the development of a global market-based measure for limiting international civil aviation’s carbon footprint.


COP21 has offered ICAO an opportunity to ensure 2016 will be an internationally historic year for the environment and for our sector, and I am optimistic that we will be as pragmatic, energetic, innovative and successful as we were in 2015.


Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu

President of the ICAO Council

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