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 on Friday during the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit being held in New York.
“ICAO is here to underscore the historic ability and role of air transport to connect the world, generate sustainable prosperity, and transform lives,” stressed Secretary General Liu. “Our goal is to demonstrate to governments in every region of the world that rapid and reliable global connectivity is essential to realizing the United Nations’ Post-2015 Development Agenda.”
ICAO has already begun to map its current Strategic Objectives for global civil aviation against 13 of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals which the UN expects to adopt by the end of its Summit this Sunday. The specialized UN agency for civil aviation highlighted to all present that global flight and passenger volumes are projected to double between now and 2030, and that States must invest in aviation infrastructure and oversight resources today to benefit from this growth in the years ahead.
“Aviation supported 8.5 million jobs in 2014 and its direct contribution to global GDP was over 700 billion dollars, and yet despite this economic significance only 2.6 per cent of development funding for infrastructure and services over the past decade has supported aviation development objectives,” Secretary General Liu highlighted.
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 to help optimize the sustainable economic benefits they support. For instance over half of the 1.1 billion tourists who traversed international borders last year did so by air, a figure which rises to over 80 per cent for various small island states where aviation is even more fundamental to economic growth.
And besides the very clear economic and local prosperity links between air transport and tourism growth, ICAO also noted aviation’s fundamental role in opening up access for local businesses and producers to foreign supplies and markets, as well as the many other benefits for societies which emerge once they have established the safety and efficiency baselines for dependable air transport.