Stressing the importance for our planet and for the air transport sector, ICAO Secretary General Dr. Fang Liu emphasized to the participants of the week-long Ibero-American Symposium on Environment, Civil Aviation and Climate Change, that “it is a time for bold commitments and determined efforts supporting our shared goal of eliminating the threats now posed by accelerating global warming.”

The important regional environment event attracted high-level officials and expert participants from North and Central America, the Caribbean, South America, Europe and Africa to Guatemala City, Guatemala from 18 – 21 July 2017. There, Dr. Liu highlighted ICAO’s ongoing work on a variety of programmes and priorities aimed at mitigating the carbon and other emissions impacts from international flight operations.

The majority of her remarks focused on the historic adoption by world governments last October during the  of the ICAO Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation, or ‘CORSIA’, and updated them on the comprehensive work now being undertaken through ICAO to address CORSIA’s coming global roll-out – a world first for any major global industry sector.

Addressing participants at the Ibero-American Symposium on Environment, Civil Aviation and Climate Change in Guatemala City on 18 July 2017

“ICAO and its Member States, with close cooperation from our industry colleagues and other stakeholders, will continue to lead the sector-wide efforts to address the environmental impacts of international aviation, including the CORSIA’s successful implementation,” Secretary General Liu confirmed. “To date, 71 States representing 87.7 per cent of international air traffic have already announced their voluntary participation in CORSIA as of its pilot phase in 2021,” she added, recognizing the admirable and proactive local CORSIA commitments on behalf of Guatemala, El Salvador, and Costa Rica.

While in Guatemala, Secretary General Liu met with its Vice-President, Mr. Jafeth Cabrera Franco, Guatemala’s Minister of Communications, Infrastructure and Housing, Mr. Aldo Estuardo García Morales, its Director General of Civil Aviation, Mr. Carlos Fernando Velásquez Monge, and other key senior government officials. Throughout she was accompanied by Mr. Melvin Cintron, the Regional Director of the ICAO North American, Central American and Caribbean  Regional Office, and the Symposium benefited from the inputs and calls to action by Ms. Jane Hupe, Deputy Director for Environment, Air Transport Bureau.

In her discussions with Vice-President Franco, Secretary General Liu addressed the importance of fostering due political will to support the advancement and modernization of the country’s air transport system, as well as the related importance of that political will to the realization of the sustainable socio-economic benefits for which international aviation connectivity is so vital.

The ICAO Secretary General also stressed the importance of aligned local, regional and global aviation security targets under ICAO’s forthcoming Global Aviation Security Plan, while encouraging the government to consider ICAO’s Traveller Identification Programme (TRIP) priorities to best ensure its complimentary traveller facilitation and security objectives.

With respect to safety, Guatemala is presently scheduled to receive an ICAO Coordinated Validation Mission in January 2018, and Dr. Liu signalled her expectation that it would confirm how Guatemala’s renewed commitment and actions are helping to establish it as a compliance leader in the region.

Vice-President Franco thanked the Secretary General for her visit and dedication to the region, and reaffirmed the President’s and his own commitment to ensure that these issues will have the continuous support of the government given its priority on attaining greater aviation-derived socio-economic benefits in Guatemala. Minister Morales and the other senior officials on hand also assured Secretary General Liu of their full support on these matters.

ICAO Secretary General Dr. Fang Liu with the President of the Congress of Guatemala, Mr. Oscar Chinchilla

At a later meeting with the President of the Congress of Guatemala, Mr. Oscar Chinchilla, Secretary General Liu emphasized the importance of ensuring that Guatemala has a revised and updated legal framework, and expressed appreciation to the government for their proactive actions toward a revised law that will help the country ensure an autonomous aviation authority.