As a UN agency, ICAO works with its 192 Member States through a range of capacity building programmes that are crucial to the sustainable future of global air transport operations. These partnerships establish policy foundations to help States realize the numerous socio-economic benefits that increased connectivity offers.
They also ultimately ensure the safety and security of the 100,000 flights that carry a little over 10 million people around the world every day, and which make safe travel possible for over half of the 1.4 billion tourists who move across international borders each year.
ICAO Secretary General Dr. Fang Liu and the Consul General of China in Montreal, Mr. Xueming Chen, recently launched one of these partnerships: the ICAO Civil Aviation Authority Senior and Middle Managers Training Course. Funded by the Government of China, under its South-South Cooperation Assistance Fund, the new initiative directly supports the key priorities of ICAO’s No Country Left Behind capacity-building initiative.
As part of the new partnership, ICAO’s Global Aviation Training Office (GAT) will be organizing training sessions targeted at enhancing participants’ understanding of effective safety and security oversight systems training and improving States’ compliance with the UN aviation agency’s global Standards.
“This course will provide essential updates on ICAO Safety Management Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs), which together constitute the benchmark against which international civil aviation compliance is measured,” Myrna Charles, a participant and air traffic controller from the Grenada Airport Authority, said before heading into the first training session under the initiative.
Charles joins 25 other participants, including trainees from China, Antiqua and Barbuda, Mexico, Cuba, Dominican Republic and The Bahamas in the five-day training session.
“Coming from a developing country, I’m excited for the opportunity to learn from experts and engage with like-minded colleagues on SARPs implementation, the importance of which to ICAO compliance cannot be overstated,” said Alexander Fergusson, who is Legal Counsel and Board Secretary at The Bahamas Civil Aviation Authority.
In her remarks at the launch of the new initiative, Dr. Liu stressed her commitment to prioritizing resource mobilization efforts in ICAO, highlighting the need to establish new donors and support for the tremendous capacity-building challenges the UN aviation agency seeks to address in global aviation.
The ICAO Secretary General particularly underscored the importance of China’s donation to these priorities, noting that “providing this type of quality training, which has such clear tie-ins to States’ ultimate realization of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), is directly in line with ICAO’s core commitment to support our Member States in their design and oversight of safe, secure, efficient, economically sustainable, and environmentally responsible air transport systems.” “I am very encouraged that this ICAO-China partnership is delivering concrete benefits to the air transport sector, and in clear recognition of the tremendous socio-economic benefits which States can realize once they establish ICAO-compliant international connectivity.”
Dr. Liu’s remarks were re-echoed by Consul General Chen, who praised China’s longstanding support of the United Nations and multilateralism.
“The Chinese government is now actively propelling ‘the Belt and Road Initiative’ from concept to reality,” Consul General Chen said. “I believe the overall objectives of ‘the Belt and Road Initiative’ have a lot in common with the ‘No Country Left Behind’ initiative of ICAO. China and ICAO can work together on aviation capacity building, to enhance civil aviation safety and security oversight capabilities and to meet the increasing needs for aviation managers and professionals.”
Consul General Chen’s recognition of the UN aviation agency’s vital role in ensuring the safe, secure, efficient and sustainable development of the global air transport system highlights its key enablement of socio-economic progress and international development.
Through this partnership, the initial phase of the new initiative will be delivered to 500 Civil Aviation Authority senior and middle managers, under a scholarship scheme, across 20 locations and in English, French and Spanish.
Indeed, greater partnership and cooperation among ICAO and States hold huge prospects for global aviation’s future. This will assure global aviation’s safety and security, even as massive growth in air traffic volumes continue, and strengthen the sector’s longstanding contributions that have established air transport as a veritable economic lifeline for many cities, States and regions of the world.
Dr. Liu is joined by Consul General Chen, senior ICAO officials, and participants of the first training session under the new initiative