ICAO Secretary General stresses priorities for Caribbean reconstruction and tourism sector resilience

PRESS RELEASE:-Montréal, 25 September 2017 – In her address to the Directors General of Civil Aviation for the ICAO North and Central America and Caribbean (NACC) Region last week in Washington, D.C., ICAO Secretary General Dr. Fang Liu stressed the UN Aviation agency’s appreciation for the tremendous challenges being faced by local governments as they deal with the devastating impacts of the 2017 hurricane season.

“No one has escaped these impacts,” she commented.” The role of aviation in assuring rapid assistance has been important to the humanitarian responses undertaken thus far, and you may count on the partnership and generosity of everyone in this room as you now work to rebuild and reinvigorate the aviation and tourism services which are so essential to your economic vitality.”

Commercial aircraft carried more than 80 percent of the tourists who visited Caribbean Small Island States over 2016, and it is presently forecast that air transport and tourism will support some 9.7 million jobs and $430 billion dollars in regional GDP by 2034.

“ICAO encourages local leadership to seek to ensure that more robust infrastructure and facilities are rebuilt so that these important economic benefits are less exposed to future risks,” Dr. Liu added.

The 7th Meeting of NACC DGCAs which Dr. Liu was addressing focused directly on aviation development and the regional collaboration so essential to its success. ICAO and its Regional NACC Office in Mexico City have been supporting and guiding a range of capacity building and assistance missions and partnerships in recent years under ICAO’s No Country Left Behind initiative, and in aid of local skilled human resource development needs, State Action Plans for aviation carbon emissions reduction, and other priorities.

Dr. Liu stressed that both public and private investment would be key to future air transport capacity and sustainability in the region, noting that “investors will be more eager to work with States which have a stable regulatory framework, and on projects where their return on investment is clearly outlined.”

ICAO aids States in developing these investor partnerships, and in fine-tuning their development project planning, through its annual ICAO World Aviation Forums. The next iteration of this event will be taking place this November in Abuja, Nigeria.

In addition to her main points on sustainable tourism and aviation development, Dr. Liu also updated the regional DGCAs on a range of programme priorities for ICAO today, including its new Global Aviation Security Plan, domestic airspace traffic management solutions for drones and other unmanned aircraft systems being discussed at ICAO’s Drone Enable event this week, and the general need to strengthen civil aviation authorities and make them more autonomous in their roles and responsibilities.

While in Washington, Dr. Liu met with the Deputy Administrator of the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Mr. Dan Elwell, and the U.S. Department of Transport’s (DOT) Deputy Assistant Secretary for Aviation and International Affair, Ms. Susan McDermott. Dr. Liu discussed ICAO’s work on the expansion of ICAO’s programmes and activities over the years as mandated by Member States through its Assembly, related to, inter alia, aviation security, environmental protection, and CORSIA, as well as its ongoing organizational transformations with respect to performance-based management and results-based budgeting. The Secretary General expressed her gratitude to the United States for its generous voluntary contributions (financial and in kind) towards ICAO’s programme and activities, including for assistance initiatives aimed at local NACC States. Deputy Elwell, and Deputy Assistant Secretary McDermott assured the Secretary General of the U.S. commitment to continue supporting ICAO.

The Secretary General also met with U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officials, and took time to recognize the progress and achievements of Ms. Shaesta Waiz of the Dreams Soar round-the-world flight for Sciency, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).

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