As we come to the end of this 223rd Council session, I am honoured to extend the Council’s sincere appreciation to Dr. Fang Liu, who will soon complete her mandate as Secretary General. When Dr. Liu was first appointed to serve as ICAO’s 12th Secretary General, in 2015, it was on the basis of her commitment to transform ICAO into a more efficient and relevant United Nations Specialized Agency.
Over the past six years, we have witnessed her efforts to strengthen ICAO’s management team and place a heightened focus on resources mobilization and a comprehensive risk management framework, to mention just some of her initiatives.
We also saw her empower and expand the role of ICAO’s Regional Offices so that they could become much more active and effective partners in the implementation of the Organization’s programmes and activities to better support member States, and ultimately our objective of leaving ‘no country behind’ in terms of effective ICAO compliance.
Throughout her mandate, Dr. Liu has guided ICAO in becoming a much more relevant player in the United Nations system, using advocacy to promote the significant socio-economic benefits of air transport. Through the many initiatives she undertook with respect to UN programmes on behalf of the Organization, her work has contributed to improved global recognition of aviation’s benefits to economic growth and sustainable development.
As our sector experienced its most severe crisis with the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Liu’s acute understanding of aviation’s importance to recovery facilitated a timely and effective response at the Secretariat level. In the early days of the pandemic, she quickly mobilized staff to form the Secretariat COVID-19 Emergency Programme Group. Similarly, when the Council established its Aviation Recovery Task Force, dedicated Secretariat support was provided for all phases of the CART’s activities and this support remains ongoing.
Perhaps one of the best examples of Dr. Liu’s leadership is her work to promote gender equality and the empowerment of women at ICAO and in the aviation industry. As the first woman Secretary General, she championed the development of the Organization’s first-ever Gender Equality Programme and the convening of the sector’s first-ever Gender Equality Summit. Undoubtedly, these initiatives will provide longstanding benefits to our sector.
In addition to promoting gender equality in aviation, Dr. Liu’s dedication to the Next Generation of Aviation Professionals initiative resulted in the Organization convening its first Next Generation of Aviation Professionals (NGAP) Global Summit and the first Model ICAO Forum to engage young people in discussions on current issues critical to the operations of ICAO and the international civil aviation community.
Fang, on behalf of the Council, and certainly everyone present here today, I wish to thank you for the contribution you have made to this Organization and for the years of service you have devoted to leading the Secretariat.
On a more personal note, having known Fang since 2011, I wish to share something very special about her that some of you may not know that demonstrates perfectly her dedication and commitment to this Organization. That is, her tremendous ability to work around the clock, day and night, including when travelling. I am always amazed at her responsiveness, regardless of the time zone she is in. Fang, this is certainly a unique skill that you have truly mastered!
Regardless of what the next chapter holds, I am certain that you will approach it with the same degree of dedication and commitment. Congratulations and once again on behalf of this governing body, thank you.