Message from the President of the Council
Aviation today is on the brink of some major transformations, and it’s heartening to review in this latest Annual Report of the Council how ICAO’s leadership is helping to anticipate and enable the sector’s 21st Century evolution.
This is not only evident in our rule making activities and global planning, but also quite notably through the capacity-building being driven by ICAO’s Regional Offices under the No Country Left Behind initiative — an assistance and coordination framework which has literally transformed some States in terms of their overall ICAO compliance and therefore their preparedness to benefit from forecast air transport growth.
Throughout our global aviation network and our ICAO Member States, a tremendous modernization will take place over the years ahead. We will see the adoption of new technology and the implementation of new infrastructure in order to accommodate capacity and air traffic management challenges. This will reflect the fantastic growth in passenger and cargo traffic volumes that we forecast and the launch of autonomous, suborbital, and supersonic activities, along with the increasing deployment of renewable energies.
The foundation for these operations is now being realized through the implementation of the operational concepts and capabilities reflected in various developments for which ICAO is driving and delivering important regulatory foundations. These include Collaborative Decision Making (CDM), System Wide Information Management (SWIM), cyber safety and security preparedness, and of course the more specific communications, navigation and surveillance advances which these core developments are helping to enable.
Performance-based Navigation (PBN) was the initial procedural advance to begin ushering in this new era, but many new and exciting developments are now poised to take advantage of the CDM and SWIM foundations we’ve been laying and join PBN in transforming the world of civil aviation for decades to come.
Let me give a few examples. In just a few years’ time we will see the dawn of truly global aircraft tracking becoming a reality. Its implementation is guided by the ICAO Global Aeronautical Distress and Safety System (GADSS) concept of operations. The consultations we are currently undertaking through the DRONE ENABLE series of events will eventually lead to globally agreed approaches for the management of smaller and slower autonomous and remotely-piloted aircraft in dense urban environments. And by the time manned outer space operations have become the rule and not the exception, ICAO’s foundational work, currently progressing in cooperation with the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA), will have established how those flights will be safely managed alongside both traditional and newer terrestrial operations.
In some ways, I think that we find ourselves in a very similar position today to the one which confronted the original drafters of the historic Convention which guides our cooperation and consensus-driven work in ICAO, and which next year will be celebrating its 75th Anniversary along with ICAO itself. In their era, they were confronted with how to adapt for civilian use an expansive network of very recently established military routes and airfields, facilities and connections which presented an entirely new capability to connect the peoples and cultures of the world. Like us today, they were confronted with the challenge of opening their minds to the new aviation capacities confronting them, and to finding a way to overcome their legacy preconceptions to optimize those nascent capacities to the benefit of all humanity. The results of their ingenuity and diplomacy still guide our work in ICAO today, just as it is my hope that what we are accomplishing now will have lasting impacts for many decades to come.
Taking stock as the Convention’s 75th Anniversary rapidly approaches, I rest assured that there has never been a stronger or more energetic cooperation among ICAO Member States towards the development of international civil aviation. This reflects the fact that there has never been a deeper comprehension of the shared benefits which a holistic, network-wide approach to air connectivity can realize, or of how all countries must work together to see this through.
Preliminary statistics for 2017 provide ample illustration of this: it was a record-breaking year in terms of both traffic growth and the enhancement of our network’s safety, efficiency and security performance, something we can appreciate as direct results of the strategies and aligned objectives presented in ICAO’s primary strategic planning initiatives.
Recent revisions to our ICAO Global Plans for Aviation Safety and for Air Navigation capacity and efficiency have been focused on making the implementation of their targets achievable, something which all States, both developed and developing, have greatly appreciated and which today are already bearing fruit in terms of higher effective implementation rates of ICAO’s oversight and other objectives.
And in terms of our related and quite critical objectives in the field of aviation environmental protection, we continue to benefit from tremendous participation from our States in ICAO’s multi-pronged strategy. While technology and operational improvements progress on pace, including through the adoption last year of the world’s very first global design Standard for CO2 emissions by any sector, we also can take great pride in the fact that our continuing work in preparation for the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) roll-out has resulted in a minimum of 87.7 per cent of international air traffic being covered by it when its voluntary phase kicks off in 2021.
Despite all of these achievements, however, greater impetus will still be needed across all of our Strategic Objectives to keep up this momentum and effectively address the full extent of the transformational challenges ahead of us. Important headway in this regard was made when we convened the first-ever ICAO World Aviation Forum to take place outside of ICAO Headquarters last year in Abuja. It resulted in a wide variety of very tangible outcomes, including toward the enhancement of the air connectivity of currently underserved States.
We also launched the ICAO Traveller Identification Programme (TRIP) Strategy Compendium, a guide for the planning and implementation of this key element in our approach to the prevention of terrorist acts.
I’d also like to make special mention of our contributions to human resources development in 2017, which included the hosting of the inaugural ICAO Next Generation of Aviation Professionals (NGAP) Global Summit. Our NGAP work is critical to aviation’s sustainability in the years ahead, as is the wide variety of initiatives in support of aviation gender equity now being driven and pursued through ICAO, and the continued extension of our cooperative network of training centres.
Dear friends and colleagues, the above represents just a brief overview of the work and accomplishments outlined in this 2017 Annual Report of the Council. We are deeply committed to capitalizing on the momentum that enabled the progress recorded last year, in particular through ICAO’s Regional Offices.
It is worth reiterating that aviation has never been and never will be a solitary enterprise. In the same way that each safely completed flight is the result of intense teamwork, our achievements of this year, and every year, have been the result of our global aviation community’s unwavering focus and cooperation.
Some very exciting advances are now being made through ICAO, with many more to come, and as we look now towards the 75th Anniversary of this Organization, and of the Convention frameworks which have permitted the countries of the world to share the skies to their mutual benefit, I see only more excitement and innovation ahead of us.
Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu
President of the ICAO Council