The Secretary General of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), Dr. Fang Liu, put forward her global community’s strong case for increased aviation development this past weekend during the Plenary Session of the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit held in New York.
“ICAO is here to underscore the role of air transport in connecting the world, generating sustainable prosperity, and transforming lives,” stressed Secretary General Liu. “Our goal is to ensure that governments in every region of the world understand that safe, rapid and reliable global connectivity is essential to realizing this ambitious and visionary 2030 Agenda.”
ICAO has mapped its current Strategic Objectives for global civil aviation against 13 of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals which comprise the 2030 Agenda. “The total economic impact of aviation reaches some 3.5 per cent of GDP or 2.4 trillion US dollars and the employment of 58.1 million people, because of its cross-cutting nature and multiple links to other economic sectors. Yet despite its clear economic significance, only 2.6 per cent of global 2005-2015 funding for infrastructure and services has supported aviation development,” Secretary General Liu highlighted. With the eyes of the world focused on the United Nations this past weekend, the specialized UN agency for civil aviation emphasized that worldwide flight and passenger volumes are projected to double between now and 2030, and it is critical that States invest in aviation infrastructure and oversight resources today to benefit from this growth sustainably in the years ahead.
ICAO and the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) have been actively cooperating since 2010 to reinforce the need for convergent air transport and tourism policies in States. The stakes are high for States who fail to do so, given that half of the annual 1.1 billion international tourists travel to their destinations by air, and that this figure rises to over 80 per cent for many Small Island and Landlocked States where aviation is even more fundamental to connectivity and economic growth.
Besides the very clear economic and local prosperity links between air transport and tourism growth, ICAO also noted aviation’s fundamental role in supporting world employment and trade by opening up access for local businesses and producers to global supplies and markets, and the critical importance of assuring that its future growth is managed safely, securely, and in an environmentally responsible manner.