President of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), Dr. Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu, has stated world aviation regulatory body’s resolve to help African countries surpass their challenges and enable them to effectively initiate standards and policies that would aid them.
He made this known 25th triennial Plenary Session of the African Civil Aviation Commission (AFCAC), in Cairo, Egypt where he highlighted that the challenges to Africa with regards meeting aviation standards stem from funding and coordination regarding technical, managerial and financial resources required to ensure effective implementation Standards and policies.
According to the ICAO President, although ICAO’s function to address these challenges under its ongoing No Country Left Behind initiative (NCLB), the body has gone a step further to provide African States with the assistance and capacity building they require.
He said, “Besides ICAO’s work to address these gaps under its ongoing No Country Left Behind initiative, ICAO’s further commitments to provide African States with the assistance and capacity building they require, whether through the ICAO Comprehensive Regional Implementation Plan for Aviation Safety in Africa (AFI Plan), or the ICAO/AFCAC Human Resources Development Fund (HRDF) programme.”
“Many of the challenges Africa faces today are tied to shortfalls in funding and coordination, especially regarding the technical, managerial and financial resources required to ensure effective implementation of ICAO Standards and policies by African States.”
“Whether we are talking airport development, the modernization of air navigation technologies and infrastructure, or greater liberalization in African skies, no targets will be met unless African aviation training capacity is sufficiently expanded,” he commented.
“ICAO has established Global Plans for aviation Safety and Air Navigation for the next fifteen years, with clear targets and timelines for States to adhere to, but we must also ensure sufficient numbers of skilled personnel are in place to ensure that any progress made is sustainable and effective over the longer term.”
The Council President also expressed concern on the global security situation, stating that due to recent terrorist-related incidents on the continent, aviation security concerns have been heightened.
Aliu highlighted to the Plenary’s high-level participants, representing 55 African and other world States, the recent implementation of ICAO’s AFI Security and Facilitation (SECFAL) Plan in May of this year, while noting in separate discussions that airport security concerns will be on the agenda at the next ICAO Aviation Security (AVSEC) Panel meeting in March of 2016.
“Our newly-established AFI SECFAL effort supports the establishment and resourcing of suitable authorities and programmes to ensure effective aviation security and passenger facilitation standardization in all African States,” he elaborated. “As this work proceeds, we are hopeful it will foster deeper collaboration and improve related capacities across the continent.”