Minister within the Ministry of Public Infrastructure, Annette Ferguson, led a five person team to represent the Government of Guyana at the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) 39th General Assembly in Montreal, Canada.
The general assembly commenced on September 27, 2016 and concluded on October 7, 2016.
The Guyana delegation, headed by Minister Ferguson, also included a senior management team of the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), including Lt. Col. Rtd. Lawrence London, Chairman, GCAA Board; Lt. Col. Egbert Field, Director General GCAA, Mr. Saheed Sulaman, Director, Air Transport Management and Mr. Rickford Samaroo, Director, Air Navigation Services. Also included as part of the Guyana delegation were two members from the CARICOM Secretariat, Ms. Desiree Field-Ridley, Advisor, Single Market Programme and Dr. Pauline Yearwood, Deputy Programme Manager.
The 39th Assembly was opened by Dr. Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu (Nigeria), President of the ICAO Council, and the Mayor of Montréal, the Honourable Denis Coderre. Many Ministers with responsibilities for civil aviation attended the triennial Assembly along with technical experts from civil aviation authorities and representatives from airlines and international organizations. This 39th Assembly was the largest in the history of the ICAO, with attendances from 184 Member States and 2,225 delegates.
As mandated by the Chicago Convention on International Aviation, the Assembly meets once every three years to review the work of ICAO in the technical, economic, legal and technical assistance fields and to set ICAO’s work programme and budget for the next triennium.
At the Assembly, Member States elected the thirty-six (36) Member States that make up the ICAO Council under three (3) parts, as follows:
- Part One – (States of chief importance in air transport) – Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russian Federation, United Kingdom, and the United States
- Part Two- (States which make the largest contribution to the provision of facilities for international civil air navigation) – Argentina, Colombia, Egypt, India, Ireland, Mexico, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, and Sweden.
- Part Three – (States ensuring geographic representation) – Algeria, Cabo Verde, Congo, Cuba, Ecuador, Kenya, Malaysia, Panama, Republic of Korea, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania, and Uruguay
The Council carries out the directions of the Assembly and discharges the duties and obligations laid on it by the Chicago Convention.
The Assembly was conducted in five commissions and committees: 1) Executive Committee, 2) Technical Commission, 3) Economic Commission, 4) Legal Commission and 5) Administrative Commission. Some of the high level issues that were discussed included Environmental Protection (International Aviation and Climate Change), Aviation Security Policies; Civil Aviation Training Policy and Capacity Building; Aviation Safety and Air Navigation Standardization; and the Economic Development of Air Transport.
The 39th Assembly adopted a historic resolution to implement a Global Market-based Measure (GMBM) scheme in the form of a Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) to address annual increase in total CO2 emissions from international civil aviation (i.e. civil aviation flights that depart in one country and arrive in a different country) above the 2020 levels. The GMBM scheme is part of the ICAO basket of measures which include developing aircraft technologies, operational improvements, and sustainable alternative fuels to achieve ICAO’s global aspirational goal of keeping the global net CO2 emissions from international aviation from 2020 at the same level.
Civil Aviation is a key facilitator of global, regional and national development. Globally the sector moves 3.3 billion passengers annually, contributes roughly 3.5 percent of global Gross Domestic Product, and employs some 58 million people worldwide. In Guyana, the aviation sector provides an estimated 3,000 plus direct jobs and is responsible for bringing over 80 percent of tourists to Guyana. The aviation sector connects Guyana’s coastland and hinterland communities and supports a variety of activities and sectors such as agriculture, forestry, mining, tourism and social services.
Guyana’s participation in the Assembly provided opportunities for Guyana to join with other small States to represent the interest of small developing countries and also to reach out to both States and international organizations for financial and technical assistance to raise the standards of aviation in Guyana. During the Assembly, Guyana held bilateral meetings with Malaysia, United Arab Emirates, Republic of Korea, and the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).
Presently, Guyana’s level of effective implementation is 44.21 percent as it relates to the eight critical elements of safety oversight as established by ICAO. The Government and GCAA Board of Directors are working with the newly appointed Director General, Lt. Col. (Rtd.) Egbert Field to remedy Guyana’s low level of compliance. To move the process forward, work has already commenced on modernizing the civil aviation regulations in order to be compliant with ICAO’s Standards and Recommended Practices.