During its 206th Session on 18 November 2015, the 36-State Governing Council of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) adopted a formal Declaration. The Declaration stated that the Council would ensure continuous leadership of ICAO on environmental issues relating to international civil aviation, including greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
In its Declaration, the Council reiterated the need for ICAO and its Member States to express a serious concern, through the UNFCCC process, on the use of international aviation as a potential source for the mobilization of revenue for climate finance for other sectors in a disproportionate manner.
“There have been a number of calls for global air transport revenues to be taxed by States for use in non-aviation-related climate change mitigation programmes,” remarked ICAO Council President Dr. Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu. “The ICAO Council, through this recent Declaration, wished to stress very clearly in advance of COP21 that this is an unfair approach and one which is ultimately counter-productive given the historic and exemplary environmental performance of our sector and the significant socio-economic benefits it brings to States and Regions all over the world.”
The Council Declaration will be communicated by ICAO to the COP21 conference in Paris next month, which is expected to adopt an outcome with legal force applicable to all Parties. Importantly, it also affirmed the ICAO Council’s commitment to the basket of measures being undertaken by ICAO and States to improve aviation’s environmental performance. These include operational improvements in air traffic management to reduce fuel burn, a CO2 Standard for new aircraft by 2016, alternative fuels development, States Action Plans to aid in aviation emissions reduction, and finalizing work on a global market-based measure (MBM) scheme for international aviation from 2020, a final decision on which will ultimately be taken at ICAO’s 39th triennial Assembly in the fall of 2016.
In this regard the Council also agreed on a new series of interactive consultations with States – the ICAO Global Aviation Dialogues (GLADs) – over March-April 2016, followed by the convening of a High-level Meeting next May when the draft Assembly Resolution on a global aviation MBM will be discussed.
“A successful COP21 will be a very important step for a positive outcome on international aviation and climate change at the ICAO Assembly in 2016,” President Aliu emphasized. “And given the very positive responses we received from government decision makers and wide ranging stakeholders to the first interactive round of Global Aviation Dialogues in April of this year, it is expected that this new second round of GLADS in early 2016 will be very much appreciated.”