For the first time since International Civil Aviation Day was established, in 1994, ICAO is commemorating 7 December this year with a special Joint Statement with the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) calling for accelerated global efforts to reconnect the world.
With global connectivity recovery on course, both UN bodies called for intensified efforts towards vaccine equity and stressed that restrictions on travel due to new variants of COVID-19 must only be used “as a very last resort,” noting they’re “discriminatory, ineffective and against the guidance of the World Health Organization.”
They also underscored that the pandemic has “pressed pause on trillions of dollars’ worth of economic activity, affecting millions of livelihoods globally,” and that with better mitigation strategies, and greater international coordination in place, the air travel and tourism sectors “can be drivers for economic recovery, both in the developed and the developing worlds.”
“As UN Secretary General Guterres has highlighted today in his own Aviation Day message, countries have recently pledged to enhance cooperation and risk management on COVID-19 border restrictions, and this commitment was strongly reaffirmed in the Declaration they issued at ICAO’s High-level Conference on COVID-19 this October,” remarked ICAO Council President Salvatore Sciacchitano.
“Whether toward current priorities on how to address variant risks on the basis of the best science and recommendations, or to build the travel and tourism sectors back better to minimize emissions and become more resilient to future pandemic threats, the solidarity of our UNWTO colleagues at this very important moment in global air transport and tourism recovery is greatly appreciated,” noted ICAO Secretary General Juan Carlos Salazar.
As part of their pledge to build back better post-pandemic, the statement further highlights the two agencies’ shared commitment to taking “every opportunity to facilitate and accelerate the pace of innovation… advance progress towards the use of renewable energy, sustainable fuels, and other emissions reduction and elimination solutions, while continuously encouraging countries and the industry itself to meet or surpass the Net-Zero 2050 commitments we need to achieve the Global Goals.”