ICAO council president Roberto Kobeh González opened (24-Sep-2013) the 38th ICAO assembly, noting that a priority for the meeting will be the endorsement of revised global safety and air navigation plans.
- Security: ICAO will use the assembly to continue to drive momentum on security linkages now being drawn between how States and industry secure aircraft, passengers and cargo without creating bottlenecks and other obstructions to traveller convenience and trade flows. On the cargo side specifically, ICAO is now closely cooperating with the World Customs Organisation (WCO) and cargo industry groups to achieve an effective security and facilitation solution governing the entire cargo supply chain;
- Environment: ICAO stressed that aviation contributes just 2% of global man-made greenhouse gas emissions each year and that approximately two thirds of this amount are due to international flights. ICAO states had previously set out a global aspirational goal for the sector of carbon neutral growth from 2020. To achieve this, a broad range of measures including operational refinements, alternative fuels, new technologies and improved government awareness and planning are being pursued. ICAO is "progressing on all these fronts" through the development of a CO2 standard for aircraft, the creation of guidance material on the environmental benefits of operational improvements and supporting progress on a globally-acceptable MBM solution for international flights, just to name a few of its environmental initiatives. Since the last assembly, ICAO has engaged and collaborated with states to significantly improve capacity building, resulting in the development of 'Action Plans' for CO2 emissions reduction activities by states. ICAO is also entering into partnerships for possible funding in support of Action Plan implementation;
- Global aviation roadmap: Mr González emphasised that "rapid and dependable" air transport connectivity "remains essential to the socio-economic hopes and expectations of industries and peoples all over the world". The expansion of global aviation capacity from 100,000 to 200,000 flights daily in "barely two decades poses significant challenges to aviation planners, from the standpoints of system safety, efficiency, security, economic viability and environmental stewardship". Mr González said that businesses and travellers all over the world "are looking to ICAO to help manage this process with little adverse impact on current service levels and this is precisely what our States are here to accomplish.” [more - original PR]