ICAO’s Support to the Recovery of Aviation from the COVID-19 Pandemic — High-level Conference on COVID-19

High-level Conference on COVID-19


The High-level Conference on COVID-19 was convened to reach a global consensus on a multilateral approach, supported by political will and commitments of States, that would enable the safe and efficient recovery of aviation from the COVID-19 crisis and build a foundation to strengthen resiliency and sustainability in aviation.


The meeting was attended by 1 784 representatives from 129 Member States and 38 invited international organizations. The record-high attendance by 56 ministers and deputy ministers, as well as 24 heads of international organizations, demonstrated the global recognition of ICAO's leading role and of the importance of aviation at the political level. Ministers carried out a comprehensive review of pandemic-driven priorities for global air transport, formalizing new commitments on border risk management, facilitation of passenger flows, international cooperation, and building air transport back better for sustainability and resilience to future pandemics, and other key priorities aimed at accelerating air tourism and trade recovery, and reconnecting the world.


The nine days of intensive multilateralism resulted in a Ministerial Declaration adopted by ministers, deputy ministers and heads of international organizations. The Declaration conveyed a strong political message to the international community, demonstrating the solidarity of Member States and all stakeholders, and their determination to ensure the restart and recovery of aviation.


Key commitments focused on recovery, future resilience and sustainability, while emphasizing: a) the need for a multilayer risk management strategy for international aviation; b) a harmonized and inclusive approach to facilitate safe international air travel; c) economic and financial support to the sector; and d) ensuring the interoperability and mutual recognition of, and accessibility to, digital applications. Commitments were also made to support the long-term resilience of international aviation by enhancing its crisis response capability and strengthening mechanisms for providing assistance to States.


The Conference included a facilitation stream that resulted in the adoption of 79 recommendations. The recommendations covered a wide range of subjects, including: operational facilitation measures in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond; enhancing national coordination and international cooperation; enhancing digital data sharing to facilitate seamless and contactless processes during and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic; future approaches to the management of sustainable health related facilitation measures; assistance to aircraft accident victims and their families; and unruly and disruptive passenger incidents in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.


The Conference also included a safety stream, under which a total of 147 recommendations were adopted. The recommendations covered a number of subjects, including:


  • safety and operational measures related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the establishment of contingency arrangements by States, lessons learned and planning for the mitigation of effects of a similar event in the future;
  • the Global Aviation Safety Plan (GASP), the implementation of regional and national aviation safety plans as well as evolving regulatory capacity;
  • standardization associated with oversight and new approaches, risk management and ground handling;
  • implementation and support to States in accomplishing certain safety oversight, accident and incident investigation, and safety management functions and activities;
  • accident and incident investigation (AIG), the Universal Safety Oversight Audit Programme Continuous Monitoring Approach (USOAP-CMA), the Global Air Navigation Plan (GANP), the Global Aeronautical Distress and Safety System (GADSS) and the impact of 5G on safety-critical radio altimeter functions.


In addition, a review of the Collaborative Arrangement for the Prevention and Management of Public Health Events in Civil Aviation (CAPSCA) framework and its governance was recommended in order to optimize preparedness planning and response to public health emergencies, strengthen CAPSCA and develop a comprehensive framework for responding to significant public health emergencies in close cooperation with CAPSCA experts.


As a follow-up to the Conference, ICAO identified several priorities and actions, including addressing the urgent need to increase adherence to the Declaration in order to restore and revitalize aviation.

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