This 2020 Annual Report of the Council to the Assembly documents ICAO’s comprehensive responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic remains the single worst crisis in the history of civil aviation, and one of the most serious threats to global sustainable development since this agency was founded.
The 2020 Report outlines ICAO’s efforts to ensure an aligned and coordinated response to the pandemic, and eventually a harmonized recovery among our Member States as medical conditions permit. Through the dedicated work of the Council Aviation Recovery Task Force (CART), and in complete coordination with the World Health Organization (WHO) and other UN organs, ICAO drew on the international aviation community’s long-standing commitment to cooperation to deliver strategies for a prudent, health-focused air transport sector response to COVID-19, and an optimized recovery of global air connectivity.
Also outlined in the Report are the extensive and immediate reactions by ICAO to the declaration of the Public Health Emergency of International Concern by the WHO, including the emergency guidance and resources for States which were established to maintain the safety and security of critical passenger and air cargo services. As relating to events later in the year, it also highlights ICAO’s delivery of materials to enable the safe and efficient delivery of the COVID-19 vaccines and the maintaining of critical global supply chains.
All of these activities were undertaken within the context of a severe impact on ICAO’s own day-to-day operations, and another portion of this year’s report focuses on how the Secretariat and the Council carried out not only the critical activities demanded by the pandemic response, but also the continuation of the vital regular activities of the Organization that have always underpinned the safety, security, and sustainability of international aviation.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Secretariat leadership and staff for their dedication and their professionalism in support of the Council’s activities, throughout these extremely difficult and truly unprecedented circumstances.
Building back better is at the heart of the recovery strategy developed at ICAO, and performance improvements via innovation among all of ICAO’s longstanding strategic objectives will be key to achieving this. ICAO Global Plans and targets for civil aviation safety, air navigation, and security continue to help guide these developments, as does our determination to augment the economic and environmental sustainability of our sector.
At the time of writing, certain domestic markets are showing signs that the recovery is underway, but in terms of international mobility we are still confronted with the fact that less than 5 per cent of the global population has been fully vaccinated, and that a great deal of work is ahead which will continue to depend on our solidarity as one aviation community.
It’s my hope that the commitment and resolve this report records will help inspire and sustain the spirit of cooperation and solidarity which has brought us this far, and that will continue to be critical as we reconnect the world.
Salvatore Sciacchitano President of the ICAO Council