Policy and Standardization
New and Emerging Activities
Technical Cooperation and Assistance Projects (TCB)
Risks to Civil Aviation Arising from Conflict Zones
The second ICAO High-level Safety Conference (HLSC 2015), held on 2-5 February at ICAO Headquarters, noted the progress and conclusions of the Task Force on Risks to Civil Aviation Arising from Conflict Zones and recommended that ICAO and States work to implement the Task Force’s strategy for strengthening arrangements to address risks to civil aviation arising from conflict zones.
In particular, HLSC 2015 recommended that ICAO establish a simple, centralized web-based repository to make information available to support the assessment of risks over or near conflict zones (Recommendation 1/2 refers). During its 204th Session, the Council approved in principle an interim procedure for Member States to use the repository developed by the Secretariat to disseminate information on risks to civil aviation arising from conflict zones. On 20 March, ICAO issued State letter SMM 1/4-15/16, informing Member States of the development of the conflict zone information repository as well as the interim procedures. The repository was made available on the ICAO public website on 2 April for an initial evaluation phase.
The President of the ICAO Council established the Repository Review Group (RRG) to periodically review the implementation and progress of the repository. The RRG, comprised of representatives from China, Japan, Mexico, Nigeria, Russian Federation, United Kingdom and United States, and chaired by the Representative of Libya, met in April, June and again in November to review the implementation and progress of the conflict zone information repository. It is anticipated that the RRG will provide a final report to the ICAO Council during its 207th Session, including recommendations for any modifications required to support the continued operation of the repository.
Global Flight Tracking
In response to the disappearance in March 2014 of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH 370, ICAO convened a multidisciplinary meeting regarding global aircraft flight tracking to bring stakeholders together and make recommendations to ensure that these types of events would not reoccur. As an outcome of the meeting, two documents were produced in 2014: the Global Aeronautical Distress and Safety System (GADSS) and the Tracking Task Force (ATTF) Report.
The second High-level Safety Conference (HLSC 2015) supported the GADSS Concept of Operations (CONOPS) and called upon ICAO to lead a Normal Aircraft Tracking Implementation Initiative (NATII) using existing technologies. A NATII Steering Committee, with global participation, was formed, and the Asia-Pacific Region was selected as a representative area of operations for this initiative.
Amendment proposals developed for Annex 6 regarding normal aircraft tracking, autonomous aircraft tracking and aircraft data retrieval benefited from the GADSS CONOPS, ATTF Report and NATII Recommendations. The Council adopted the normal aircraft tracking Standards in Amendment 39 to Annex 6, Part I — International Commercial Air Transport — Aeroplanes, in November.
An ICAO public website area was launched in September to serve as a repository for all aircraft-tracking-related initiatives.
Aviation Response to Public Health Emergencies
ICAO was contracted to participate in the coordinated action in the aviation sector to control public health threats (AIRSAN) project, which was managed by the Technical Cooperation Bureau (TCB). The project began in November 2013 and was completed in December 2015.
The project was funded by the Health Programme of the European Union (EU), with the objective of developing a well-organized and coherent response to public health threats to air transport in Member States. This was done mainly through the development of an AIRSAN network of stakeholders, guidance documents, an AIRSAN website and communication platform, and an AIRSAN training tool.
In 2015, the annotated AIRSAN bibliography was updated and the AIRSAN website was launched, which provided a communication platform for the multisector AIRSAN network. Guidelines for risk assessment of an on-board case of communicable disease and contact tracing were developed, and a training tool was produced. Consideration is being given to continuing the AIRSAN work under a different funding mechanism.
In August 2014, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the Ebola virus disease outbreak in West Africa to be a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). During the initial outbreak, ICAO coordinated the Joint Ebola Travel and Transport Task Force, which provided guidance to the transport sector with regard to management of the outbreak. A Memorandum of Understanding with the United Nations Development Programme on Operational Aspects of the Ebola Response Multi-Partner Trust Fund, signed by ICAO in October 2014, provided funding for managing the Ebola outbreak in the transport sector.
Building on lessons learned from the Ebola outbreak in 2014, the application of the UN Ebola Response Multi-Partner Trust Fund has been expanded beyond Ebola-related activities to also provide for other public health emergencies in 2015. Activities include providing training and conducting assistance visits to States to facilitate management of public health emergencies. These activities are focused primarily on African States.
Communicable diseases and other public health emergencies can impact air travel and public health globally. The Collaborative Arrangement for the Prevention and Management of Public Health Events in Civil Aviation (CAPSCA) project provides a platform to facilitate global management of public health emergencies.
ICAO works in close partnership with States, the WHO, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and international aviation organizations to implement Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) and core capacities to manage public health emergencies. This is done primarily through guidance material, meetings, training and, when requested, assistance visits to States and international airports.
In 2015, a global CAPSCA symposium was hosted by ICAO in Montréal. Three regional meetings were held in the Netherlands, Panama and South Africa. Technical advisory training sessions were conducted in Kenya and Senegal to build capacity. Since the start of the project, in December 2014, a total of 16 assistance visits have been undertaken in Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Togo.
The project is funded by major grants received from the UN Central Fund for Influenza Action and the UN Ebola Response Multi-Partner Trust Fund. Contributions have also been received from States and other international organizations. Timely additional funding for 2016 activities is needed to achieve the objectives of CAPSCA, otherwise there is a risk of losing the momentum for this project.