Stressing that it will align respective national and regional programmes and targets with ICAO’s new Global Aviation Security Plan (GASeP), ICAO Secretary General Dr. Fang Liu is welcoming the recent endorsement of an Aviation Security Roadmap for the UN specialized agency’s North American, Central American, Caribbean (NACC) and South American (SAM) Regions.
The ICAO Regional Aviation Security Conference, hosted by Panama, was opened by Secretary General Liu and Mr. Carlos Rubio, Minister of Government, who was acting on behalf of the President of Panama. Panama’s Minister for Public Security, Mr. Alexis Bethancourt, also participated in the programme.
In her address to the Conference, Dr. Liu highlighted key priorities set forth under the GASeP, which are now important areas of focus for the Organization, its Member States and other agencies.
“Aviation security has experienced a major shift over the past two years,” Dr. Liu underscored, “with new resolutions supporting its effectiveness and sustainability being adopted by the most recent ICAO Assembly, and by the UN Security Council. The GASeP and UN Security Council resolution 2309, taken together, provide us with an aligned foundation from which to pursue better coordinated and more effective actions to prevent acts of unlawful interference against civil aviation targets.”
The new Regional GASeP Roadmap will improve international coordination among the States of the NACC and SAM regions, and Secretary General Liu praised the related commitments which were realized specific to the implementation challenges, gaps and resources of these Regions and their States.
She also noted that ICAO was seeing a similar dynamic being emulated worldwide, and that the new Roadmap would entail some important work ahead for a number of States. She called on these governments “to be open to accepting assistance to enhance their local effective implementation, whether it involves training, technology, or mentoring, and to ensure that any solutions set out are fully sustainable.”
Highlighting ICAO’s Regional Aviation Security Coordination Forums, Dr. Liu reiterated that a key first step will be to advertise the GASeP and the new Regional Roadmap as widely as possible among all Regional stakeholders. She added that ICAO will continue to help coordinate assistance and capacity building activities between donor and partner States, and organizations and recipient States, consistent with its ongoing No Country Left Behind initiative.
Thanking the U.S.A. and Canada for the voluntary funds they have provided to support related assistance projects, Dr. Liu reiterated ICAO’s priority “to ensure that States have available, and can retain, sufficient numbers of regulatory and operational aviation security professionals.”
Dr. Liu also reminded her audience that ICAO will discuss GASeP and other aviation security progress made at its back-to-back AVSEC2018 Symposium and second ICAO High-Level Conference on Aviation Security in Montréal this November.
“It will only be by virtue of sustained political will, especially at the highest levels of government and industry, that the Global Aviation Security Plan will succeed in its ambitious mandate,” she concluded.
While in Panama, Dr. Liu conducted bilateral discussions with the President of Panama on the roles of international civil aviation connectivity and ICAO compliance as key enablers for socio-economic development. His Excellency Juan Carlos Varela appreciated Dr. Liu’s views and ensured that Panama’s vision for civil aviation development is fully aligned with ICAO’s Strategic Objectives.
The Secretary General held additional meetings with the Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs of Panama, Mr. Luis Miguel Hincapié, and the Director General of the Civil Aviation Authority of Panama, Mr. Alfredo Fonseca Mora, focused on projected air transport growth, related aviation infrastructure needs, and the benefits to be realized when States incorporate their aviation development requirements into their national planning strategies,
During the bilateral meetings with local authorities, the current Aviation Security deficiencies identified by the audit in Panama were an important theme raised by the Secretary General. Dr. Liu stressed ICAO’s support to help address the situation as soon as possible, and the authorities, including the President of Panama and its DGCA, ensured her that a corrective action plan would be presented to ICAO in the next few weeks.
Dr. Liu also spoke in Panama with the Administrator of the United States’ Transport Security Administration, Mr. David Pekoske, and with the Assistant Deputy Minister for Safety and Security of Transport Canada, Mrs. Lori MacDonald. During these bilateral meetings, the continuous mutual support for Security and Facilitation activities as well as the development of new initiatives to address emerging issues and capacity building in local States were discussed.
Dr. Liu was accompanied throughout her visits by ICAO Regional Directors Mr. Melvin Cintron and Mr. Fabio Rabbani, and by ICAO’s Deputy Director for Aviation Security and Facilitation, M. Sylvain Lefoyer.
ICAO’s Panama Conference was the first multi-regional event to convene NACC and SAM aviation security leaders, and was attended by more than 200 delegates representing 40 Member States and three International Organizations.
The event concluded with a declaration of support for the Regional GASeP Roadmap and the related event themes.