Encouraging solidarity and a focus on building back more sustainably at ATAG 2020 Global Forum

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In his virtual remarks to industry leaders attending the Air Transport Action Group’s (ATAG’s) 2020 Global Sustainable Aviation Forum, ICAO Council President Salvatore Sciacchitano drew attention to how COVID-19’s impacts on global mobility had tragically impacted the lives of the hundreds of millions of economically vulnerable men and women around the world, with further negative effects on intercultural exchange and the peace and economic prosperity of many developing and developed societies.

“Given the importance of air travel to so many of our fundamental collective aspirations, and to every global citizen’s quality of life, aviation leaders have a great responsibility upon them today as we confront the existential threats of the ongoing pandemic,” he emphasized.

“Health and safety, and the fundamental economic viability of operators must be assured, and as medical conditions permit we must also work better together to see that traffic recovery proceeds on the basis of continuously improving international alignment,” he continued. “But we must also recognize the opportunity this crisis provides to build back commercial aviation greener, and more sustainably, including in terms of its overall role in the social and climate impacts of international travel and tourism.”

The ICAO Council President also drew the leaders’ attention to the fact that, to achieve this higher degree of sustainability, it would require “the vision and strong commitment of everyone attending this summit today, and a heavy reliance on innovation going forward.”

He underscored that ICAO is placing a strong focus on innovation Organization-wide, and noted the green aviation innovations recently explored at the CO2 Emissions Stocktaking event ICAO conducted earlier this month.

“I was very much encouraged to see the level of excitement on hand there for what could be possible for our sector going forward,” Sciacchitano noted, “and particularly so by the announcement there by the oneworld alliance on its new commitment to net-zero aviation emissions by 2050.”

Alongside the upcoming ICAO Seminar on Aviation Green Recovery this November, Mr. Sciacchitano drew attention to how these latest events were providing an important platform for exchanging ideas, and that the insights and perspectives emerging from the ATAG forum would be appreciated by ICAO’s global audience.

He also noted, where aviation and the UN Sustainable Development Goals are concerned, that the inter-relationships between aviation, tourism, and the natural environment and civil societies are complex and symbiotic, and “not simply a matter of carbon emissions from commercial jets.”

In concluding, Mr. Sciacchitano assured his audience that the ICAO Council and Secretariat will continue to move forward on the key objectives of the Environmental work programme States have assigned them, and on “tackling even the most challenging diplomatic aspects of the pandemic’s impacts on that programme – as the Council recently achieved with the CORSIA baseline adjustments.”

“All of us must recognize today that this is a time not only for strong leadership and commitment, but also deeper collaboration and progress founded in the solidarity called for in the Council’s CART Report,” he said. “Fortunately, there is no other global community more capable in those capacities than our own.”