Addressing North American, Central American and Caribbean (NACC) Directors General of Civil Aviation by videoconference, ICAO Secretary General Dr. Fang Liu stressed the pivotal role of international cooperation, including through ICAO, to the success of their COVID-19 recovery plans.
“For cooperation to do its part, all parties must be involved on a clear and coordinated basis, whether government or non-government, regulator or industry,” she emphasized. “If a common path and set of goals cannot be achieved among all of the stakeholders being negatively impacted by COVID-19, the strength we normally derive from our diversity could quickly devolve into detrimental challenges and risks.”
Dr. Liu recognizes how critical aviation is to so many economies in the region, noting that ICAO was very sensitive to the fact that financial resources can vary quite significantly State-to-State, and that for some governments the levels of industry recovery assistance being discussed aren’t realistic under present circumstances.
“As we have all learned after decades of global interconnectivity generating many billions of dollars in tourism and trade revenue for NACC economies, we all need each other to be capable and effective,” she underscored.
“If the NACC’s post-COVID recovery is to be truly successful and sustainable, your goal must therefore be to assure not only your State’s recovery, but also the recoveries of your neighbours and their neighbours. This principle of successful recovery and sustainability is at the heart of the UN-wide ‘Recover Better Together’ calls now being promoted in every area of global socio-economic priority.”
Dr. Liu urged the Directors Generals participating in the meeting, which had been organized by ICAO’s NACC Regional Director Mr. Melvin Cintron, to recognize the critical role of ICAO and other UN agencies to effective multilateral crisis response.
She highlighted the need for highest level political buy-in to assure meaningful commitments and follow-ups on the path to jump-starting the aviation engines of their economies and rebooting of the region’s critical networks of travel, trade and tourism.
She welcomed that a second, higher level meeting was already under discussion to include the region’s Ministers of Transport, Trade, Tourism, and Health, noting that “It’s critical that the regional recovery of aviation is raised to the Ministerial level of consideration, because simply put the challenges being faced are beyond the control of a single director general or secretary of transportation.”