Effective aviation security requires strong political commitment at the State level to decide policies, allocate appropriate resources, set targets, and achieve results, ICAO"™s Secretary General Dr. Fang Liu told the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Committee (UN CTC) at UN Headquarters in New York today.
She called for deeper ICAO/UN cooperation. "UN CTC country visits are very useful opportunities to underscore the need for strong political commitments, and I welcome the dialogue we have initiated to take better advantage of them," Dr. Liu highlighted. "This will be an especially important priority as ICAO continues to lead the development of a new Global Aviation Security Plan, and on seeking State"™ commitments to implement it."
The ICAO Secretary General"™s wide-ranging address to the CTC covered ICAO"™s comprehensive programmes and priorities under its Strategic Objective for Security and Facilitation, its coordination and contributions supporting the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, and the impact of unlawful interference activities on international civil aviation.
While stressing the importance of regulatory frameworks at national and international levels, she also underlined the need to achieve their full and consistent effective implementation while balancing security and efficiency of air transport both for passenger and cargo. "Technical assistance and capacity building are essential to achieve these objective", she added.
Dr. Liu also raised issues relating to the recent airport attacks in Belgium, which took the lives of 32 victims and three perpetrators, while injuring over 300.
"The attacks at Brussels Airport on 22 March of this year, and the events which followed, were a tragic reminder of the enormous challenges faced in securing public areas, the inseparability of aviation security and national security, the economic and social consequences of terrorism, and the historic resilience of civil aviation," she declared.
ICAO"™s contributions supporting the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy «and the various Security Council resolutions with references to border control and security» include its work on the strengthening and modernization of passport issuance and related identity management frameworks in States. ICAO Annex 9 to the Convention on International Civil Aviation, to which 191 States adhere, addresses various aspects of travel document issuance and border integrity at international airports.
"An important contribution we make to restricting the international mobility of terrorist groups has been our Traveller Identification Programme (TRIP) strategy, which covers our passport and identity management priorities, and we have long recognized the facilitation benefits of Advance Passenger Information (API) as a tool for effective and efficient border control," she said.
This latest address by ICAO to the UN CTC was at the invitation of its Chair, H.E. Ambassador Amr Abdellatif Aboulatta.