ICAO and the United Nations


At the Chicago Conference, the drafters of the Convention on International Civil Aviation had anticipated the emergence of a United Nations type of post-war organization and had written into the Convention a provision covering the possibility of ICAO becoming a constituent of such organization. Article 64 of the Chicago Convention signed on 7 December 1944 reads as follows: “The Organization may, with respect to air matters within its competence directly affecting world security, by vote of the Assembly, enter into appropriate arrangements with any general organization set up by the nations of the world to preserve peace.”


Mali – 10 November 1975

30th Anniversary of UN Charter

UN emblem and names of the Specialized Agencies (including OACI, Organisation de l’aviation civile internationale, in the right branch of the letter N) forming the acronym ONU (Organisation des Nations Unies)

At the first ICAO Assembly held in May 1947, the resolution A1-2 was adopted on 13 May 1947, by the unanimous vote of the 32 Contracting States represented at the 3rd Plenary Meeting, that approved the agreement of relationship with the United Nations (UN) and authorized the President of the Council to sign a protocol bringing into force the agreement concerning such a relationship between the UN and ICAO. President Warner signed the protocol on 3 October 1947. ICAO became a Specialized Agency in relationship with the UN, and thereby joined the UN family. By this agreement, each organization undertakes to fulfil certain requirements whereby the other may participate in its work in the measure required for fulfilment of certain articles of the Chicago Convention and the Charter of the UN. The safety and security of international civil aviation are overriding objectives of the Organization, a principle entrenched in the constitution of ICAO, the Convention on International Civil Aviation (Chicago, 1944). Accordingly, ICAO is the global international organization competent for establishing international Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) and Procedures covering the technical fields of aviation.


While ICAO remained an independent and autonomous agency, its acquisition of constituency status in the United Nations Organization was a major step, which greatly benefited many of its Contracting States in the years that followed, mainly through the United Nations Programme of Technical Assistance.


The UN family of organizations, i.e. the United Nations system, is made up of the UN Secretariat, the UN Programmes and Funds (such as UNICEF, UNHCR, WFP, or UNDP) and the Specialized Agencies (such as ILO, UNESCO, WHO, WMO, FAO, IMO, ITU, UPU or ICAO).


As a Specialized Agency of the UN, ICAO works closely with the UN, and particularly with the Economic and Social Council. Moreover for its technical activities, ICAO works closely too with other UN Specialized Agencies and International Organizations, such as:

1.     The International Telecommunications Union (ITU);

2.    The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA);

3.    The International Labour Organization (ILO);

4.    The International Maritime Organization (IMO);

5.    The Universal Postal Union (UPU);

6.    The World Meteorological Organization (WMO);

7.    The World Health Organization (WHO); and

8.    The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).


In the ICAO collection, several countries observed the close cooperation of the UN family by issuing first day covers (FDC) showing the relationship between the members of the family. The circumstances of those issues varied, e.g. the United Nations Day (24 October), the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (10 December 1948) or just on the occasion of a new issue. 


Congo - First day cover dated 10 December 1958.

(Afrique Équatoriale Française or French Equatorial Africa in 1958).

10th Anniversary of UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Black cachet.



Liberia – 17 December 1958.

10th Anniversary of UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

UN emblem and initials of UN Agencies (with ICAO’s name, in the upper-right corner).



Costa Rica – 24 October 1961- United Nations Day - The UN family.

Note that the acronyms in the cachet are spelled in French and that the acronym BIRF should have been written BIRD for Banque internationale pour la reconstruction et le développement (International Bank for Reconstruction and Development - IBRD).


United Nations New York – 8 January 1969.

Postal stationery (or stamped envelope) with a 6-cent stamp which is an adaptation of the 50-cent definitive stamp issued by the UN on 6 March 1964.

The cachet depicts the UN family and was overprinted by Art Craft after the issue of the postal stationery.

As regards the ICAO emblem, note that the wings have been truncated and the top-circle has been doubled.


Canada – First Day Cover dated 13 May 1970.

25th Anniversary of the United Nations.

The text in the Rose Craft cachet recognizes the achievements of the UN and its Agencies (among which is ICAO).

To commemorate UN’s silver jubilee, Canada Post Office issued two stamps (10-cent and 15-cent) symbolically representing a sense of emergence and illustrating the tremendous force and energy being focused towards a unification of the world.


Brazil - First day cover dated 24 October 1970.

25th Anniversary of the United Nations.

The UN family’s tree (with ICAO’s name, on the lower-left side)

The stamp strip reads: Peace, Justice, Progress.


United Nations New York – 20 November 1970.

On the occasion of its 1970 yearly show, the Lincoln Stamp Club, at Lincoln, Nebraska, commemorated the 25th anniversary of the United Nations by overprinting this cover with the emblems of some of the members of the UN family.

The cachet depicts the UN family with the emblems of (from left to right, clockwise): IMO, ITU, WHO. ILO, ICAO (with the wings partially truncated), UNESCO, and WMO.


United Nations New York – 12 March 1971. Cachet by S.L.F.

Franked with the UN New York stamp issued on 12 March 1971 for the International Support for Refugees and the British Postal Strike Stamp tied.

The cachet depicts the UN family with the emblems of (from left to right, clockwise): IMO, ITU, WHO, ILO, ICAO (partially hidden by the stamp), UNESCO, WMO, and UNICEF.

The first full national strike in the history of the British Post Office took place from Wednesday 20 January to Sunday 7 March 1971. It took place against a background of increasing inflation and worsening industrial relations over the preceding decade, both in the Post Office and in the country in general.

On 15 January a pay offer from the Post Office Board was rejected by the executive of the Union of Post Office Workers. An "all-out" strike was called to start at midnight on 19/20 January. Although local mail deliveries were possible in some areas, either where the postmen did not go on strike or as some gradually returned to work, the bulk of the country's postal services came to a complete halt.

Fortunately for mailers and collectors alike, the government announced the suspension of the monopoly on carrying mail, instantaneously giving rise to several hundred private posts throughout the country. Many were purely philatelic in nature, created only to sell labels to collectors.


Republic of Korea - 30 May 1971.

The world of United Nations Organizations.


Equatorial Guinea - 24 October 1975.

30th Anniversary of the United Nations.

UN and UN Specialized Agencies emblems.

(including ICAO preliminary emblem with larger wings).


Bhutan - 24 October 1985.

40th Anniversary of the United Nations.

Preamble to the UN Charter. The miniature sheet has bright blue margins

picturing the emblems of the UN agencies.


United Nations – 26 June 1990.

 45th Anniversary of the signing of the UN Charter in San Francisco on 26 June 1945.

Pictures identifying the major areas of attention of the United Nations, its Agencies and Programs, forming the number “45”. As regards ICAO’s relationship, an airplane is shown in the upper-side of digit 5.

The activity of the UN Organizations is depicted as follows: UN (several programmes are illustrated - security: yellow circle surrounded by a red crown; peace: dove holding an olive branch in its beak; human rights: flaming torch); FAO (wheat); ICAO (aircraft); UNDP, Technical Assistance to Least-Developed Countries (LDCs), ILO, and UN Economic and Social Council - ECOSOC (two cogwheels as vital gear in a machine); IMO (ship); UNEP (clean environment) and WMO (sky and clouds).