Last week ICAO Secretary General Dr. Fang Liu joined an illustrious cross section of government and travel/tourism leaders in Leipzig when she participated in two prominent panel discussions at the International Transport Forum’s 2018 Summit.
In her keynote speech introducing the opening day panel discussion on Protecting the skies with secure and efficient air travel, Dr. Liu stressed that since the 1970s, when commercial aircraft first began to be seen as legitimate and high value targets for terrorist groups, it has been beholden on ICAO to continuously review how world governments and air operators work together to find an effective balance where air travel security and efficiency is concerned.
“We must consider these dual priorities against a backdrop where global dependence on air transportation is growing every year, in every region, and for both passengers and commodities,”
Dr. Liu emphasized. “Globally, modern aircraft carry no fewer than 10 million passengers and many thousands of tonnes of freight each and every day, so whether we are discussing business, tourism, or trade, any disruptions or delays in aircraft operations can pose serious and often cascading disruptions.”
She explained that this is why ICAO collaborates so regularly with its 192 Member States, numerous industry groups, and other international organizations and associations to strengthen the aviation security system, adding that ICAO’s newly-endorsed Global Aviation Security Plan had been specifically structured to enhance all related cooperation and risk and threat response coordination. Additional references were made to the positive impacts ICAO’s security-related activities provide in support the counter-terrorism objectives reflected in UN Security Council resolution 2309 (2016).
Dr. Liu further highlighted the important role ICAO plays in improving the security and passenger processing aspects of contemporary customs and border controls through its Traveller Identification Programme (TRIP) strategy, and that how “all of this work is keeping ICAO focused on the future and how to realize even more robust, risk-based, efficient and cost-effective global clearance processes.” Her fellow Protecting the skiespanelists, including Eamonn Brennan, Director General of EUROCONTROL; Angela Gittens, Director General of Airports Council International (ACI); Arnaud Feist, CEO, Brussels Airport Company; and Salah Awadh Alfarajalla, Senior VP Security and National Pilot Development, Etihad Airways, appreciated these and other keynote points in the course of the discussions which ensued.
Also on Day 1 of the ITF Summit, Dr. Liu participated in the event’s Plenary Panel discussion on Safe and secure transport for the 21st century, where she enjoyed a lively series of interactions with Violeta Bulc, European Commissioner for Mobility and Transport; Derek Kan, U.S. Under Secretary of Transportation for Policy; Tomas Eneroth, Minister for Infrastructure, Sweden; Masamichi Kono, Deputy Secretary-General, OECD; Jean Todt, Special Envoy of the UN Secretary General for Road Safety; and Laurent Troger, President, Bombardier Transportation.
While on mission in Leipzig, Dr. Liu had the pleasure to meet with Young Tae Kim, Secretary-General, International Transport Forum (ITF), and to conduct bilateral meetings with Ms. Kim Hyun-mi, Minister of Land, Infrastructure and Transport for the Republic of Korea, and with Mr. Niels Annen, Minister of State of Foreign Affairs for Germany.
Dr. Liu thanked Minister Hyjun-mi for Korea’s continued support to ICAO, in particular the current ICAO legal seminar unfolding this week in Incheon which welcomed more than 500 participants from around the world. Dr. Liu also appreciated Korea’s support which has been provided through the technical experts the State has seconded to ICAO in support of all of the UN agency’s current strategic objectives for global civil aviation. Minister Hyjun-mi expressed Korea’s interest to further support ICAO, noting in particular its initiatives in the areas of safety and security.
In her discussions with Minister Annen of Germany, Dr. Liu highlighted the state of aviation today and its forecast growth and associated challenges, with particular emphasis on infrastructure and capacity constraints, aviation security and the need to foster a collaborative security culture among states and industry. The Minister welcomed Dr. Liu’s remarks and highlighted Germany’s particular interest in aviation security, environmental protection and the implementation of the ICAO CORSIA offsetting framework, and the role to be played by advancements in new technologies. The Minister reiterated his strong support for ICAO’s assistance and capacity-building activities under its No Country Left Behind initiative, and his commitment to further strengthen Germany’s close cooperation and partnership with ICAO in order to address areas of mutual interest.