Technical Team Activities

The Technical Team of the EUR/NAT Office has the central role in implementing the ICAO work programme in the European and North Atlantic Regions, managing in an efficient and effective manner a large amount of work. The area of accreditation of the EUR/NAT Office covers 56 States (30% of the 191 ICAO Member States), speaking five of the six ICAO working languages and spread over a vast geographical area, from North Africa to the North Pole and from the West cost of the Pacific Rim to the West cost of the Atlantic (14 time zones). In addition to the vast geographical area, the EUR/NAT Office is faced with a wide variety of geopolitical and economical diversity, cultural differences and constant changing technical and operational challenges.

Composed of only ten Regional Officers (eight ICAO regular staff and two secondees), supported by a team of seven technical assistants and secretaries and led by the Deputy Regional Director, the Technical Team covers a wide range of key technical and operational activities, such as: conduct and support to meetings, assistance to States, development and maintenance of regional documents, support to the ICAO USOAP and USAP, CAPSCA and NCLB activities.

The team is responsible for the planning, conduct and follow-up activities of the four EUR/NAT Regional Groups (NAT SPG, EANPG, RASG-EUR and ENAVSECG) and their working structure. On average, the members of the Technical Team support and/or participate in over 150 meetings every year (ICAO meetings or other Stakeholders’ meetings, all combined). The ICAO meetings only are counting for 300 meeting-days per year and are attended by over 1200 delegates (over 4500 participant-days year round).

During 2016 the Technical Team staff executed over 160 missions (meetings attendance, workshops, USOAP and USAP related activities, missions to States etc.) counting for more than 500 man working days spent outside the office.

The Technical Team is constantly praised for its continuous high quality work and timely outputs to all Stakeholders, by permanent innovation and aiming at an optimal use of the scarce resources while enabling the continuous development of the ICAO regional activities. The Technical Team is faced with many challenges, of which the most important is probably getting an efficient balance between the ever increasing workload and the limited resources available. The scope of work has almost doubled over the last years, requiring constant adaptation and implementation of new working methods in order to be able to respond to the new tasks occurred from the evolving mandate of the EUR/NAT Office.

Examples of recent activities cover inter alia:

  • increased involvement at the regional level in aviation security and facilitation;
  • civil aviation related environmental issues;
  • crisis areas resolution;
  • regional reports (safety, ASBU implementation, air navigation performance framework);
  • enhanced civil/military coordination;
  • increased support to the regional search and rescue activities; and
  • development and implementation of a significant number of technical assistance projects under the NCLB umbrella.

In order to be able to respond to all the challenges, we streamlined the EUR/NAT activities by applying a project management approach to most of our activities. The work is currently organized in the form of projects with clear deliverables, timelines and control of the project execution.

The Technical Team plays a critical role in ensuring that aviation system development plans within the European and North Atlantic Regions remain coherent and are compatible with those of the adjacent ICAO Regions and with the ICAO global plans and worldwide provisions. In doing that, an important aspect is assisting States in their planning and implementation efforts and paying due attention to the coordination and cooperation with other international and regional organisations to ensure that duplication of work does not occur.

This article was originally written for the ICAO EUR/NAT Office’s Newsletter (Issue 1) on May 2017. A full list of their newsletters can be found here