Between 21 September and 9 October the Committee Phase of the 206th Session of the Council of ICAO took place. The meetings were attended by the Polish Permanent Representative on the ICAO Council - Dr. Małgorzata Polkowska.
The session was preceded by a 3 day meeting of a special Task Force on Unruly Passengers (15-17 September, 2015). The meeting was attended by Poland, Argentina, Canada, China, Cuba, Egypt, Finland, United Kingdom, Jamaica, Japan, Kenya, Singapore, South Korea, Switzerland and the United States. Representatives from ALADA, IATA (International Air Transport Association), IFALPA (International Federation of Air Line Pilot’s Associations), and UNODC (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime) also participated along with representatives from the Legal Bureau of ICAO. The Task Force met with the aim of updating ICAO Circular 288 – Guidance Material on the Legal Aspects of Unruly Passengers to include a more detailed list of offences and make consequential changes to the Circular arising from the adoption of the Montreal Protocol of 2014 (Protocol to Amend the Convention on Offences and Certain Other Acts Committed on Board Aircraft). The Representative of Poland was elected as the Chairperson of Task Force, and the Representative of Canada was elected as the Vice Chairperson. The Task Force completed the initial identification of the necessary changes to be made, and three drafting groups were established to draft changes to the text that were agreed upon. The proposals of each group will be discussed at the next meeting of the Task Force which will take place in March 2016. IATA plans on hosting the meeting in Geneva. Before the meeting, the legal experts will meet during the 36th Meeting of the Legal Committee in November/December 2015 at the ICAO Headquarters in Montreal. The drafting groups were invited to finish their drafting work by the end of January 2016. At the next meeting of the Task Force, the participants will make a decision regarding the validity of preparing a resolution on updating Circular 288 for the upcoming ICAO Assembly in September/October 2016. At the end of the Task Force meeting the participants accepted a report.
Every week of the committee phase of the Council began with an EU Coordination meeting, during which issues planned for discussions within each committee were deliberated. Current affairs (EAG) and reports following bilateral meetings held in relation to EAG were also discussed. Poland participated in such bilateral meetings with Mexico, Tanzania, and the United States. Taking into account the current importance of the subject within Europe and ECAC before deciding its strategy for the 2016 Council elections.
An informal briefing took place on 21 September, 2015 during which five budget options for the 2017-2018-2019 budget were presented by Rahul Bhalla, Chief of the Finance Branch at ICAO. The presented budget options maintain a results-based structure and focus on enhancing efficiency and effectiveness within the organization. Inflation rates, staff cost increases, as well as the possible impacts of choosing one of the lower budgets were presented to ensure the FIC can take all the relevant factors into account before approving a budget to present to the Council for approval. The Polish delegation enquired about the possibility of a system of priority or limit on the number of programmes and initiatives with urgent status, as the presentation highlighted they were not able to fully accommodate all of the programs which had attained urgency within the existing budget envelope. Questions were also asked about the inflation rate included in the budget and whether a mechanism could be included to allow for its readjustment in the event that the inflation rate or other economic factors significantly influence the cost increase factor. It also enquired about any concrete solutions to address the issue of ICAO being considered “reactive, not proactive” as an organization.
In the afternoon of the same day, the first meeting of the FIC took place. The Chairperson of the Committee (The Mexican Representative to the ICAO Council) ordered the nomination of a candidate for the Vice-Chairperson and a delegate of France was chosen. The FIC was invited to consider the different budget scenarios and provide guidance to the Secretary General to commence preparation of the Draft Regular Programme Budget for the next triennium. This draft will be presented for consideration by the Council during the 207th Session, after which it will be revised accordingly and presented to the Council for its approval during the 208th Session. The participants asked the Secretary General many questions regarding, amongst others, the “No country left behind” campaign and the programs it contains, as well as their implementation within the set budget. There was a lengthy debate on this topic. Many delegates noticed the need to establish a business plan before selecting a budget option for the Assembly.
The informal briefing on 22 September consisted of 2 presentations. The first one was on the provision of assistance under the State Improvement Plan (SIP) Framework, which has been renamed Aviation Security Improvement Plans (ASIPs) in order to realign it with ICAO terminology. Mr. Boubacar Djibo, who presented the topic, went on to describe the ASIP Process Map and how it is utilized to deliver assistance catered to a specific state and how its outcomes are measured. He highlighted that the aim of ASIPs is for ICAO to establish a collaborative relationship with the State, and ultimately help States help themselves.
The second presentation was presented by Mr. Ivan Galán, Director of TCB. He presented the framework through which the TCB provides both technical assistance (funded by ICAO) and technical cooperation (implemented on a cost-recovery basis) to States. He also described the project cycle for projects undertaken by TCB, describing each stage and their financial implications for ICAO. The presentation was quite general and questions were asked regarding the clarification of its content.
The joint first meeting of the Unlawful Interference Committee (UIC, which due to the Chairperson and USA Representative’s absence was, upon the President’s request, led by the previous Chairperson - Representative of the United Kingdom) and the first meeting of the Air Transport Committee (ATC) was held on 25 September, 2015. The Chairperson of ATC (Spain) appointed the Representative of Kenya. Items discussed were mainly concerning the organization of agendas and work programmes for the two committees for the 207th Session of the Council, as well as the agenda for the upcoming 39th Session of the ICAO Assembly. Another topic discussed was the auditing of Annex 9 – Facilitation Standards.
The first meeting of the Technical Cooperation Committee (TCC, whose Chairperson is the Representative of Nigeria, and Vice-Chairperson the Representative of Nicaragua). The second meeting of the Finance Committee (FIC) also took place on 28 September, 2015. The TCC discussed the Administrative and Operational Services Cost (AOSC), budget estimates and update of the budget for 2015. Following that, the TCC discussed the results of the Customer Satisfaction Surveys conducted by the Centre for Research in Air & Space Law of McGill University at the request of the Technical Cooperation Bureau (TCB) of ICAO (C-WP/14317). The authors of the survey presented the intention of the project, and answered questions about it. The Director of the McGill Institute of Air & Space Law, Professor P.S. Dempsey also presented about the research process and the methodology used in creating the survey. The information presented was of a general nature, thus some delegations asked detailed questions about the survey.
Generally, the delegates recognized the necessity of the survey and highlighted that it would be worthwhile to repeat it systematically (especially since the costs of subsequent surveys would be lower). The results of the survey were positive overall, with infrequent negative results because of delays in different phases of projects surveyed. The results can be seen as suggesting a shortage of staff is causing such delays, and the Polish Delegation both enquired about possible ways to resolve the issue and made suggestions for steps that can be taken, especially with regards to improving communication between ICAO and its clients. Delegates enquired about the confidentiality of information in the survey, cooperation with other bureaus within ICAO, and whether there are any procedures for verifying the efficiency of TCB projects. According to some delegates to ICAO (Italy, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela), there lacks an evaluation of TCB projects that are still taking place. Poland noticed that it is not completely certain which projects can be deemed completed and which are still taking place, and suggested this is the reason for low transparency and a lack of KPIs. Certain delegates also mentioned the list of experts from which TCB chooses experts to carry out its projects. Many delegates (Chile, Nicaragua, UAE), including Poland, noticed the need for further improvement in customer satisfaction, and therefore expect TCB to propose an Action plan to correct existing issues which the survey results point out. Some delegates mentioned the public image of ICAO and TCB and the need to continue such a survey in the future. Taking into account the great amount of questions, the President decided to address them directly to TCB.
Next on the agenda, the Management Plan for the Technical Cooperation Program for 2016 - 2018 was presented. The Polish delegation enquired about the possibility of measuring Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) twice a year, rather than annually in order to be able to keep track of progress and adjust it in order to have a greater chance of reaching the KPIs. Finally, the Technical Cooperation parts of the Draft Provisional Agenda for the 39th Session of the Assembly were discussed, along with the Work Programme of the TCC for the 207th Session.
The WGGE sub-group on Performance and Management (SGPM) which the Polish Delegation is a member of held a couple meetings throughout the Committee phase of the 206th Session. The sub-group worked on a proposal for key performance indicators (KPIs) to be used to assess the efficiency and work of the organization. After presenting draft KPIs (one of which was by the Polish Delegation) the Chairperson decided about the final form of the draft KPIs based on existing KPIs as well as the sub-group’s discussions. The final Oral Report on the sub-group’s work was presented at the end of the committee phase, during a meeting of the WGGE (Working Group on Government and Efficiency). During the committee phase the Polish Representative took part in consultations with the Chairperson of the CC3P group – the Committee on Cooperation with Third Parties as well as the Chairperson of the WGGE sub-group on Policy regarding reconvening meetings during the upcoming Council phase once further instruction and tasks are received from the Secretary General of ICAO. Such meetings will be taking place at the beginning of the Council phase in November 2015.
On October 2, 2015 an Informal Briefing of the Council on Carbon Markets took place. The presenters were Mr. Boubacar Djibo, Director of the Air Transport Bureau (ATB), Ms. Jane Hupe, Deputy Director, Environment, ATB, and Mr. Robin Rix on behalf of UNFCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change). The presentations provided an overview of carbon markets and how along with the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) they can help meet climate neutrality goals.
During the third meeting of the FIC, many issues were discussed. The Annual Report of the Evaluation and Audit Advisory Committee (EAAC) – was presented and the appointment of the External Auditor for the Financial Years 2017-2018-2019. The delegates decided to extend the appointment of the current External Auditor for another term of 3 years. Other items on the agenda included the budget and business plans for the Ancillary Revenue Generating Fund (ARGF) for 2016 and the Actuarial study of the long-term impact of the After-Service Health Insurance Scheme on the net assets of ICAO.
An informal briefing on the next generation of aviation professionals (NGAP) was presented to the Council on 2 October, 2015. There were several presenters from the Air Navigation Bureau (ANB). The current budget did not foresee any expenses regarding NGAP, which is why it was discussed by the Council. The presentation reviewed the outcomes of Phase 1 of the NGAP Programme (2009-2014) and outlined the next steps to be taken during Phase 2 (2015-2019). It also addressed the challenges NGAP faces, and how the programme will move forward and hopefully be strengthened. The Polish Delegation suggested the NGAP Programme could be implemented at lower levels for example through cooperation between Regional Offices and States, or between industry players, but under the umbrella of ICAO because of its success already with NGAP, since budget and resource issues will usual be present regardless. As the Polish Representative highlighted, it is worthwhile to consolidate efforts which have already been exerted for many initiatives, including for example internship opportunities. ICAO is the proper platform for exchanging information and finding potential sponsors for initiatives serving not only students, but also young professionals who dream of a career in aviation but for a varying reasons (oftentimes financial ones) are not able to achieve it. The delegates also pointed out a number of regional issues regarding migration and the building up of a future aviation work force. ICAO should continue to direct its programmes at the needs of select countries. It may be that ICAO guidelines or data will prove useful for ensuring that countries which require support from ICAO will be able to continue receiving it. The Representative wanted to find out how the NGAP Program affects the ICAO budget. The President admitted, that NGAP is a project and that there is a need to consolidate ICAO policies on confirming what exactly a given country requires. The ANB concurred that NGAP should be a strategic objective of ICAO. The Representative of the United States found it necessary to consult the programs within ICAO with the private sector in order to determine its demand. The possibility of ICAO providing service training to trainers, who could further train personnel in their region was also discussed. It is important to focus on the needs of the country within this scope (Japan), and training is very important, especially within the “No country left behind” campaign.
The Joint Support Committee held a meeting on October 5. There were many items on the agenda, mainly concerning the approval of the costs of the Danish and Icelandic Joint Financing Agreements with ICAO and the Work Programme of the Committee for the 207th Session was approved. The first meeting of the Human Resourced Committee (HRC) with its new Chairperson, the Representative of Egypt (and Vice-Chairperson, the Representative of Tanzania) took place on 6 October, 2015. During the meeting of the RHCC (Relations with Host Countries) Committee, pending issues for example simplifying the provision of credit facilities for diplomats, visas for national delegates, etc. were reviewed.
On 9 October, 2015 the last meeting of the committee phase of the 206th Session took place. The Air Transport Committee (ATC) discussed reports of meetings such as the Thirteenth Meeting of the Air Transport Regulation Panel (ATRP/13) and further steps for liberalizing the air transport industry. Another topic was the possibility of countries nominating experts to join the Technical Advisory Group on Machine Readable Documents (TAG/MRTD) in order to ensure both world expertise and geographical representation within the group. The experts currently in the Group, not necessarily from the aviation field and the amount of them were discussed in detail. When discussing the document about the Facilitation Panel it was recommended that the meeting should take place over 3 days instead of 4. The Secretariat is to consider this, as it would be the last Panel before the Assembly in 2016. The committee also discussed and approved the Work Programme of the Committee for the 207th Session.
This was the last committee meeting during the committee phase of the 206th Session of the Council of ICAO. The Council will continue its work during the second phase of the session – the Council phase.