Message from the President of the Council

Message from the President of the Council


2016 was a tremendous milestone in the history of ICAO and international civil aviation governance.


At the 39th Session of the ICAO Assembly (A39), States adopted ground-breaking measures to enhance the sustainability of the international civil aviation network and to mitigate its environmental impacts.


They further made major contributions to aviation safety, efficiency, security and economic viability, and adopted key measures in support of our ongoing reprioritization of assistance and capacity-building in these areas under the No Country Left Behind initiative.


Taking note of aviation’s fundamental role as a driver for enhanced socio-economic prosperity in States, Assembly participants also adopted measures in support of our efforts to foster Global Partnerships for Aviation Development through the ICAO World Aviation Forum (IWAF) facility, as well as related programmes aiding ICAO’s strategic partnership and resource mobilization activities.


All of these developments will be helpful to ICAO’s objective of having aviation development priorities aligned with national development objectives, ultimately laying a firmer foundation from which our Member States can continue to pursue the attainment of the United Nations’ Agenda 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.


Certainly the major ICAO accomplishment of 2016 was reflected in the Assembly’s endorsement of the landmark Resolution on the new Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA). This was one of the most significant environmental achievements in the history of civil aviation, and one I was very happy to identify in worldwide media reports as aviation’s “Paris Moment”.


The CORSIA represents not only a new benchmark for international emissions governance, but also the very first market-based measure to address the global CO2 emissions from any industry sector. The Assembly’s endorsement was all the more gratifying given the significant challenge the CORSIA consensus represented in terms of the diversity in our Member States’ levels of socio-economic development, volumes of international air traffic, and many other local or regional contributing factors.


Importantly, the CORSIA acknowledges and accommodates this diversity, while at the same time complementing the other elements in the basket of measures already being pursued by States and industry since 2010. ICAO’s Member States, the aviation industry, NGOs, and many international organizations were essential to this process, as they will be to the further supporting work for the CORSIA framework which we are now actively engaged in.


We also continued to make notable progress on aircraft noise and local air quality objectives in 2016. It was gratifying to receive the Assembly’s recognition of our work on a new supersonic noise Standard for future aircraft – and the possible certification of a new supersonic aircraft in the 2020-2025 timeframe – in addition to development of the first-ever global CO2 emissions certification Standard for new type and in-production aircraft, and a new non-volatile Particulate Matter (nvPM) emissions Standard for all turbofan and turbojet aircraft.


2016 was also a year when our Member States delivered very clear endorsements of the ICAO Council’s approvals of the newly-revised targets and approaches being pursued under ICAO’s comprehensive strategic Global Plans for Aviation Safety (GASP) and Air Navigation (GANP). They also supported the need for similar ICAO global leadership on a new Global Aviation Security Plan (GASeP) and endorsed ICAO’s proposed consideration of a fourth Global Plan focused upon Air Transport Economic Development.


With respect to the GASP, latest determinations will support its enhancement through intensified Safety Management System (SMS) and State Safety Programme implementation activities. The development of safety performance indicators, once SMS implementation is complete, will enable further progress toward predictive risk management. ICAO will also continue to pursue its long-term safety objectives under the Comprehensive Regional Implementation Plan for Aviation Safety in Africa (AFI Plan), aligned with and aided by these endorsed GASP priorities.


Another notable safety development in 2016 was the very first Council President Certificates of Recognition awarded to 14 States at the 39th Session of the Assembly, based on the significant improvements they registered to their Safety Oversight Audit results the previous year.


With regard to air navigation and the GANP, the Assembly urged the Council to provide States with a standardization roadmap, and called upon States, planning and implementation regional groups (PIRGs), and the aviation industry to continue to be guided and aligned by its strategic planning. Member States also encouraged the continued and complementary monitoring and reporting being undertaken to track global progress against the GANP’s targets and objectives, and attention was further focused on the need for States to coordinate with ICAO and align their local air navigation and air traffic management modernization plans.


Other notable air navigation developments included further improvements to the concept of operations for ICAO’s Global Aeronautical Distress and Safety System (GADSS) and the new performance-based Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) for rapid location finding of downed aircraft and the prompt recovery of black box data, which the Council adopted in March.


A number of 2016 events reinforced for us that security and facilitation remains an important priority in air transport. While we have made great progress over the decades on traditional acts of unlawful interference, new cyber, landside and other emerging security threats made the A39 call for the new GASeP as an urgent priority.


In the meantime, our community is staying focused on the effective implementation of existing security and facilitation SARPs, through the continued support of ICAO’s Universal Security Audit Programme Continuous Monitoring Approach (USAP CMA). The Assembly also encouraged Member States of the AFI Region to strengthen security and facilitation cooperation through regional and subregional projects, noting that ICAO has taken steps to address these issues through the development of a Comprehensive Regional Implementation Plan for Aviation Security and Facilitation in Africa (AFI SECFAL Plan).


The 39th Session of the Assembly also called on ICAO to begin exploring the need for a new Global Air Transport Plan. It additionally endorsed the need for near-term finalization by the Council of template international agreements to liberalize market access, air carrier ownership and control, and air cargo services, as well as the customization of global and regional forecasts for aviation personnel. ICAO was directed to strengthen and expand its partnerships, with all applicable stakeholders, in support of greater data-sharing and analysis supporting increased investment for air transport development, a process which was aided by a second successful ICAO World Aviation Forum on the eve of A39.


Our technical cooperation and assistance activities were reinvigorated as well in 2016, mainly through the development of new tools. We have also established and are progressing work on the new ICAO Programme for Aviation Volunteers, in order to take advantage of the knowledge, experience and the passion of our aviation professionals whom I kindly invite to participate in this effort to assist States in need.


In the area of Global Aviation Training and related human resources development capacity-building, ICAO’s GAT Office assessed or re-assessed 30 per cent more institutions, TRAINAIR Plus programme membership increased another 10 per cent, and 31 ICAO-harmonized Training Packages were developed. We continued to encourage the best and brightest through the Young Aviation Professionals Programme, which ICAO runs cooperatively with IATA and ACI.


Finally, our commitment to our Member States, to consultation and consensus, and to the continuous and sustainable growth of international air connectivity, will receive a significant boost following the agreement at the 39th Session of the Assembly that Articles 50 (a) and 56 of the Chicago Convention should be amended to increase the membership of the ICAO Council from 36 to 40 States, and the Air Navigation Commission from 19 to 21 members.


ICAO has consistently grown in tandem with the aviation sector, both in terms of our geopolitical coverage and the depth of aviation issues we address. States’ active participation in our activities and the mandate they entrust in ICAO have enabled our global civil aviation network to evolve into the crucial role it plays today in underpinning socio-economic development throughout our membership.


Taken together, the results of 2016 showcased States’ continued appreciation for ICAO’s important mission and role in global air transport. They also demonstrated how we are becoming a more efficient and effective organization in the service of Member States. The Organization’s consultative processes have been made more efficient, and we have focused on ensuring that States are better prepared to implement new ICAO provisions. More effective impact assessments are being carried out, and we are making sure that sufficient guidance material on any new measures is made available to States, well in advance.


Our safety and security audit programmes, under the Continuous Monitoring Approach, are being optimized today to ensure timely validation of States’ corrective actions to address identified deficiencies. This helps to ensure robust feedback that further enhances the overall Standard-setting process.


And perhaps most importantly of all, under No Country Left Behind, and with a more active, engaged and accountable role for ICAO’s Regional Offices, we have enjoyed robust success in helping States understand that their commitment to the effective implementation of ICAO Standards is the most important factor in their ability to realize aviation’s benefits.


Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu

President of the ICAO Council

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