Between 11 and 29 of January 2016 the Committee Phase of the 207th Session of the ICAO Council was held. Each week commenced with an EU meeting, preparing members for further Committee meetings. In the second week of the Session, due to meetings of EAG (Environmental Advisory Group), additional coordinating meetings of EU were organized.
On 12 January, 2016 the Committee Phase of the 207th Session of the ICAO Council commenced with an Informal Briefing. Two presentations were conducted by Mr. Stephen Creamer (Director ANB - Air Navigation Bureau), Mr. Catalin Radu (Deputy Director, Aviation Safety, ANB), and Mr. Henry Gourdji (Deputy Director, Monitoring and Oversight, ANB). The first presentation was titled “Cabin Safety & Evacuation Procedures”. It focused on existing guidance material and documents on cabin safety, as well as new guidance and deliverables under development. The second presentation titled “USOAP-CMA Update” (Universal Safety Oversight Audit Programme – Continuous Monitoring Approach) provided an overview of the activities undertaken under the USOAP-CMA framework in 2015. It also outlined the concept, scope, and different components of the Programme, such as the online framework.
On 13 January 2016, the first meeting of the Committee phase took place. The Committee on Unlawful Interference (UIC) and the Air Transport Committee (ATC) held a joint meeting, followed by a UIC meeting. During the joint meeting the Council discussed the Amendment to the Note on the Notification of Differences. The paper proposes amendments to the existing Note and form for the notification of differences to SARPs (Standards and Recommended Practices) and PANS (Procedures for Air Navigation Services) in order to provide more clarity and consistency in the process of identifying and reporting such differences. The Secretariat also noted that the filing of differences to Annex 17 – Security is not yet done electronically, and that security measures for facilitating such a process are being considered. It also stated that it will aim to publish the new Manual on Notification and Publication of Differences before the deadline for submitting differences in November 2016. At the beginning of the UIC meeting, the Korean Representative was elected the Vice-Chairperson of the UIC. Other items on the agenda were the Draft Assembly Working Paper on the ICAO Comprehensive Aviation Security Strategy, during which the possibility of establishing a Global Aviation Security Plan (GASeP) to replace the ICASS (ICAO Comprehensive Aviation Security Strategy) was discussed. The last item was the Work Programme of the UIC for the 208th Session, which was approved by the Committee.
On 14 January 2016, the ICAO Council attended an Informal Briefing. The first presentation given by the Secretary General, Dr. Fang Liu, was on the ICAO Business Plan for the years 2017-2018-2019. The Polish Representative asked about how ICAO plans to ensure that there is a high level of understanding and communication between the stakeholders and the organization regarding the implementation of the plan throughout this 3 year period. The presenters responded that in order to ensure this a high level of support and cooperation is needed between all the involved parties. The President of the Council also added that emerging issues may affect the plan, therefore it is important to have a holistic view, as reprioritization may be needed during such a period. Many Council members also commented that the Business Plan should be consolidated with the Regular Budget of the organization.
The second presentation was given by the Secretary General and Mr. Henry Gourdji (Director – Air Navigation Bureau) on the ICAO Resource Mobilization Policy. The Proposed Policy aims to complement the ICAO Regular Programme Budget by mobilizing adequate, timely and predictable financial resources to support the achievement of ICAO objectives at all levels and to assist States in securing funds to enhance their civil aviation systems. This is closely related to the No Country Left Behind Program of ICAO. The Secretary General stated that the Policy will encourage investment in the aviation sector through ICAO. The Secretariat will address concerns raised about the policy, and consolidate the current provisions and policies in this area into a single resource mobilization policy to present to the Council.
On 15 January the Finance Committee held its first meeting. The first item on the agenda concerned language services in ICAO, which proposed 2 budget scenarios for the next triennium – one keeping the same level of services as in the present triennium and the other increasing the level of services by incorporating more translators and interpreters in more languages. Many countries (e.g. United Kingdom, Germany, Australia, India) supported multilingualism at the next Assembly, though it was difficult to come to a decision as to the funding of these services given that the draft budget had not been distributed to the committee members at the time of the meeting. The Draft Assembly Working Paper on the Appointment of the External Auditor of ICAO for the Financial Years 2017, 2018, 2019 (C-WP/14401) was quickly approved as the External Auditors accepted the Council’s offer to extend their contract for another term. This will now be presented for approval by the Assembly later this year. Next, the ICAO Business Plan was up for discussion. On 18 January 2016, another Informal Briefing to the Council was held. The first presentation was titled “Developments in the ICAO Public Key Directory (PKD)”. Mr. Boubacar Djibo (Director ATB) and Mr. Ivan Galan (Director TCB – Technical Cooperation Bureau) presented on this topic and stated that the aim is to reach a level where all ICAO member states contribute to the PKD. The Polish Representative raised the question of why certain states issue e-passports but do not participate in the PKD. Mr. Djibo explained that most member states do not participate in the PKD yet. The process of introducing e-passports is a lengthy and costly undertaking for states which typically unfolds over a 5-10 year period. Different states join the PKD at different times in that process, but PKD membership is ultimately inevitable once e-passports are introduced.
The next presentation was on “The use of ‘Big Data’ in ICAO and the United Nations” – presented by Mr. Djibo, Mr. Stephen Creamer (Director ANB – Air Navigation Bureau), and Mr. Vincent Smith (Director ADB). The question was raised as to how the organization can handle the program within the designated budget envelope. The response given was to distribute the workload by for example having interns contributing to different elements of it at all times. The Polish Representative stated that they support the program and enquired about on-going commitments required from states in the continued implementation of the big data program and the individual benefits a state may have thanks to the program. Mr. Djibo answered that ICAO has already tried to integrate the data with the safety indicators of states for them to be able to monitor their aviation domains. This could help them save time and money. He highlighted that States bring their own perspective and Big Data brings cross-industry cross-border perspective, which will help regulators adapt their safety programs to ensure a stable and uniform approach among member states. Thanks to the Big Data program, information obtained and lessons learned from bigger countries with greater economies can be shared with the smaller countries which would not be able to collect and analyze the data relying solely on their own resources.
In the afternoon the Air Transport Committee (ATC) meeting was held. The first item discussed was the Draft Assembly working paper – Report on implementation of recommendations of the Sixth Worldwide Air Transport Conference (ATConf/6) and decisions of the Thirty-eighth Session of the Assembly. Most concerns raised by Council members were to add more information and detail to the report, as well as to harmonize the terms used in it with the ICAO Business Plan and Budget. The Chairman, highlighted that the purpose of the Report is to present a vision and plan for the next few years at the upcoming Assembly. The Draft Assembly working paper – Report on developments regarding economic aspects of airports and air navigation services received a few comments regarding the connection between the report and the ICAO Budget. Another Draft Assembly working paper – Modernization of the ICAO Statistics Programme was presented. The Polish Representative enquired about the way in which ICAO intends to decrease the burden on state while increasing the scope of the data collection. They also asked whether any revenue generated through the program is designated for further development of statistics program, or finance others areas in ICAO. They highlighted that all data is given free of charge so one should expect that any income generated would serve the member states. Malaysia asked about the influence this has on the budget of the organization. Spain highlighted that there are not sufficient resources contributing to the data collected. The Secretariat responded stating that State Letters have not been receiving many responses, and they will develop a strategy to ask member States to provide information in a different manner, for example electronically. The Australian Representative suggested that the benefits of sharing statistics should be pointed out in the revised version of the document. Next, the Draft Assembly working paper – Developments pertaining to the Public Key Directory (PKD) was discussed. The President of the Council agreed with Council members that it would be a valid suggestion to include a clarification of why it is valuable for states to join the PKD, other than monetary benefits. He also stated that the PKD is not expecting to increase expenses with increasing membership, so the costs will be lowered for states. The UK Representative commented that membership is not only based on payment, but there are obligations tied with it. The Chairman of the committee, ended the discussion by affirming that facilitation is important and ideally every member state should join the PKD voluntarily. The Work Programme of the Air Transport Committee for the 208th Session was readily approved by the committee.
On 19 January 2016, the first meeting of the Working Group on Government and Efficiency (WGGE) took place. The Group reviewed the overall structure and preparatory work for the Assembly. It discussed the procedures of preparing documents and deadlines for submitting them before the Assembly in order for all the official language versions of every document to be available 2 weeks before the start of the Assembly. Next, the Polish Representative presented the Proposed Council Resolution on promoting Women Representatives on the Council and professionals in ICAO Secretariat. The document was co-sponsored by Australia, Japan, Kenya, Nicaragua, Poland, Portugal and the United Arab Emirates, all of which are currently represented by women in the Council. This is the greatest number of women that have been part of the Council of ICAO since its formation. The proposed resolution received ample support, and will be presented to the Council in March. It will then be edited based on suggestions and to include more clearly defined goals for the organization before being presented during the 39th Assembly.
In the afternoon there was an Informal Briefing on the Draft Budget of the Organization 2017-2018-2019 was presented by Rahul Bhalla (Chief, Finance Branch). He explained that the Operating Plan of the draft Budget of the organization is aligned with key priorities and expected results of the Business Plan. It is also focused on 7 key areas to increase efficiency, effectiveness, and impacts of ICAO’s work. The Representative of Norway asked a question regarding the level of carryover in the Budget which was addressed – the carryover cannot be avoided since there is a beginning carryover, however in reality there is not much of a carryover as the budget will close with a similar level. The Polish Delegation enquired about how to review and control the budget. The Secretariat devised a system which allows Directors to review and manage budget, and the Secretariat will report on budget implementation and the progress of it. It will also describe the risks in the risk register to be able to establish prioritization and then find solutions both within the organization and outside of it.
On 20 January 2016, the Polish Representative began the day with an EU coordination meeting focused on preparation for the Environmental Advisory Group’s 15th meeting – EAG/15. In the morning session, ICAO CAEP (Committee on Aviation Environmental Protection) presented the results of their technical analyses of a route-based approach, emissions data, and comparison of schemes for a global MBM (market-based measures) scheme. During the coordination meeting members of the Council from EU were notified about a visit of parliamentarians from the European Commission for the meeting of CAEP in ICAO (as observers) and also about the new form of the EAG. Starting in February this group will change into high level group with the participation of officials at the ministerial level – High Level Meeting on GMBM, (from now on the EAG name ceases to exist) as already mentioned in a State Letter sent to countries. From Europe, the countries which will take part are Norway (on behalf of the head of the ECAC), United Kingdom (DG) and on the behalf of Portugal the representative of the Netherlands (DG). Members of the Council are still able to participate in this meeting (planned on 24 and 25 of February 2016 and maybe longer if it will be necessary). Furthermore, the Council expressed hope that many countries will participate in the GLADS meetings which will be held in the end of March and April (meeting in April will be held in Europe, in Amsterdam).
The EAG members exchanged views on the roles of ICAO States, aircraft operators for monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV), emissions units criteria (EUC), and registries with regards to such a scheme. Overall, strong support of industry participation in future meetings on environmental matters was expressed as well. Bilateral meetings between the EU members on the ICAO Council and other countries also took place throughout the week in preparation for EAG/15. On 20 and 21 January, the EAG held discussions on a proposal for a Global Market-based measure scheme (GMBM). The purpose of such a scheme would be to reduce emissions, and set the framework for it, while the work of CAEP would focus on the technical measures for achieving this. There was discussion on whether to include an annex – some delegates were of the opinion that it is not needed, while others believed it should be included in a general way in order to identify issues which still need to be addressed in the implementation of the scheme.
During the session, meetings about the extension of the number of members of the Council and ANC were held, as well as one teleconference with ECAC.
On 22 January the Finance Committee held its second committee meeting of the 207th session. The first item up for discussion was the Action Plan to Implement the Recommendations of the Evaluation and Audit Advisory Committee (EAAC) in its Annual Report for 2014-2015. The Committee decided to recommend the Council to approve the proposed action plan and take note of actions set out in the plan. The next item had to do with the Actuarial Study of the Long-Term Impact of the Funding Options for After-Service Health Insurance (ASHI) Scheme. The Committee members asked general questions with regards to the plan, and the Secretary General responded saying she has requested an analysis and will present a proposal at the 208th committee and Council session. Next, a proposed Resource Mobilization Policy was discussed. The proposal outlined the policy along with the rationale for the need of its introduction. The aim is to achieve adequate, more predictable and sustainable voluntary contributions to ICAO – it would also facilitate one single project review committee responsible for managing different funds in ICAO, rather than separate groups being responsible for different funds. The meeting finished with a review of the Work Programme of the Finance Committee for the 208th Session.
A joint TCC and FIC committee meeting was held on 25 January, 2016. During the joint meeting, an oral report was presented by the Secretary General on the Technical Cooperation Programme Development. The rest of the meeting was only of the TCC. The first item on the agenda was an information paper the Customer Satisfaction Surveys which were provided by McGill University. The Polish Representative enquired about the status of certain projects which have not been completed in practice but were figured as completed, and also supported Saudi Arabia’s suggestion to include timelines for improvements in results. A few committee members also suggested establishing KPIs for on-going projects within the TCB in order increase the accountability. Some countries criticized that it was not a satisfaction survey but an audit and therefore strayed from the task that was assigned to them. A majority of the Council agreed with the suggestion that such a survey should be performed every 2 years. At the end of the meeting, the Work Programme of the Technical Cooperation Committee for the 208th Session was approved without any comments.
On 26 January, 2016 the WGGE Sub-group on Performance Management, which the Polish Representative is a member of, held a meeting. The group discussed their proposal for KPIs to be presented to the Council. The group discussed reaching compromises with regards to the KPIs and agreed to hold one more meeting to finalize their proposal. The committee will then meet with the 5 Bureau Directors of ICAO before presenting their proposal to the Council. In the afternoon, the Human Resources Committee (HRC) held a meeting. First the Committee reviewed the Annual Report of the Ethics Officer for 2015. The committee then had a lengthy discussion on the Review of existing practices relating to consultants as well as secondments. Next the HRC working group gave an oral report on the review of the terms of reference of the HRC Committee and the Work Programme for the upcoming 208th Session was approved.
On 27 January a short RHCC meeting took place. Pending issues of the committee were discussed, such example assistance with regards to visa requirements for family members/minors invited by Diplomats to stay in Canada. Most of the pending issues have on-going status and therefore some concrete situations were presented. The Polish Representative, in consecutive Wednesdays, also participated in the meetings of CC3P for analysis with ICAO agreements with third parties, including representatives of business aviation. The last meeting during the Committee Phase of the 207th Session of the Council took place on 29 January, 2016. It was an Informal Briefing outlining the Electronic Voting System for the upcoming Assembly and also a few cost scenarios for incorporating such a system. A demonstration was also given and the Council will make a decision as to using the system in the upcoming Council phase of the 207th Session.