The regional collaborative approach achieved by the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) will contribute to an accelerated and sustainable recovery of the aviation sector, ICAO Council President Mr. Salvatore Sciacchitano remarked during a ministerial meeting that took place this week.
The Ministerial Meeting on the Strengthening of the Eastern Caribbean Civil Aviation Authority (ECCAA) and the Safety and Security Oversight Systems of the Eastern Caribbean ICAO Contracting States focussed on the authority’s role in assuring regional air transport safety and security performance.
Collaborative safety and security oversight approaches are critical for many countries in the world today, permitting them to cost-effectively pool their resources and share responsibilities. In the Caribbean, the pandemic and recent tragic eruption on St. Vincent has demonstrated the scope of aviation challenges faced by Small Islands States, together with the financial burdens associated with mitigating them.
This in turn highlights the tremendous need for the effectiveness of regional air transport organizations and multinational entities in delivering affordable and sustainable solutions.
“ICAO commends the OECS States’ commitment and implementation of the ECCAA as an excellent multi-State solution to achieve alignment with all current global policies, and complementing the ICAO No Country Left Behind goal to improve States’ effective implementation of ICAO standards and recommended practices,” declared President Sciacchitano.
The collaboration now being forged through the ECCAA will require commitments from each of its six ICAO Member States in assuring the authority’s mission, particularly in terms of the provision of sufficiently resourced national civil aviation authorities. Globally, however, when the pandemic is still very much a reality, resourcing has been curtailed in some countries, despite the fact that it is needed now more than ever to ensure continued global connectivity and operations.
“The ability of cooperative solutions to augment and optimize the socio-economic benefits of safe and reliable air services in this region relies to a great extent on your political will, your governments’ commitments, and on the continued dedication and leadership of local Civil Aviation Authorities,” said the President.
Here, the President noted the success of the Systemic Assistance Programme implemented by ICAO’s North American, Central American and Caribbean (NACC) Regional Office, which, with the support of larger Champion States, is generating impressive results and “serving as a prime example of regional solidarity and cooperation.”
The effort is one of the NACC Regional Office’s highest priorities and strongest commitments. States’ continued support for these efforts “will be important not only to regional air transport objectives, but to your societies’ overall and sustainable economic well-being,” he said.
ICAO and its Member States clearly recognize that the COVID-19 pandemic is not only a health crisis – it is also an economic and financial crisis presenting governments with very difficult trade-offs in terms of the varying health, economic, and social priorities concerned.
In order to assist States with navigating these issues, last month the ICAO Council adopted the latest Phase III amendments to the Take-off guidance of its COVID-19 Aviation Recovery Task Force (CART). These amendments prioritize safe and efficient global vaccine distribution, the facilitation of all-cargo air services, the exploration and realization of public health travel corridors, and standardized COVID-19 testing certificates for secure international use. The recommendations also encourage national civil aviation and transport officials to advocate more vigorously within their governments and ministries for air transport public health and economic priorities.
Expressing the ICAO Council’s “gratitude for how your States have answered this call,” the President highlighted in conclusion that all ICAO States were strongly encouraged to attend ICAO’s upcoming High-Level Conference on COVID-19 (HLCC), where “these complex issues and others will be at the forefront of discussions.”