Ministers convene at ICAO to explore global aviation emissions reduction objectives to combat climate change


Ministers and officials from 119 countries convened at ICAO Headquarters for an important four-day round of high-level discussions and briefings toward a new collective global long-term reduction goal for international aviation CO2 emissions. The new international emissions reduction goal is expected to be formally established at the 41st ICAO Assembly to be held this September, and States had asked the ICAO Council to work in advance of that event to help them explore the feasibility of various emissions reduction options.

The result of that work is an important new report from the ICAO Committee on Aviation Environmental Protection, on the feasibility of a global long-term aspirational goal (LTAG) for international civil aviation CO2 emission reductions, outlining three integrated aviation in-sector scenarios. The report will be serving as a cornerstone for States’ aviation emissions reduction discussions this week, and closely informing the recommendations they establish for Assembly States.

“This high-level meeting can demonstrate our collective determination to build a sustainable future for international aviation,” underscored ICAO Council President Salvatore Sciacchitano in his opening remarks, which were followed by a keynote by Dr. Bertrand Piccard, Initiator and Chairman of the Solar Impulse Foundation. President Sciacchitano also called for an expression of strong political will on the part of States to work together with each other and industry through ICAO, and to deliver outcomes for an ambitious new global long-term aviation emissions reduction goal.

As part of the extensive lead-up to the high-level environmental engagements this week in Montreal, ICAO has been pursuing environmental outreach and capacity building with States through a series of Global Aviation Dialogues over 2021 and 2022.

ICAO has been hosting an annual series of environmental innovation stocktaking events, featuring presentations on latest environmental technologies and research efforts so that countries can better consider how proposed solutions can support the long-term decarbonisation of international air transport. The latest stocktaking engagement concluded on the eve of the high-level meeting, and had included inspirational remarks from ICAO Secretary General Juan Carlos Salazar, Farnborough International CEO Gareth Rogers, and the Co-Founder of the Sustainable Aviation Youth Foundation, Dirsha Bohra.

ICAO also recently launched its ‘ACT-SAF’ Assistance, Capacity-building and Training programme for Sustainable Aviation Fuel, in its effort to help generate more partnerships and cooperation in this area among States, industry, and related stakeholders.

Participants to the ICAO High-level Meeting on the Feasibility of a Global Long-term Aspirational Goal for International Aviation CO₂ Emissions Reductions elected The Honorable Bishop Juan Edghill, Minister of Public Works of Guyana, as Chairperson for the event, as well as first and second Vice-Chairpersons Ms. Aishath Nahula, Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation of Maldives, and Ms. Charity Musila, the Alternate Representative of Kenya to ICAO.

In concluding his opening statement, President Sciacchitano emphasized that “the international aviation sector needs to seize this opportunity for responsible action now, and an ambitious global long-term aspirational goal will empower ICAO and its Member States together with air transport stakeholders to be part of the global solution in addressing climate change.”