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ICAO: common approach crucial to solving Asia-Pacific's capacity constraints

The DGCA-APAC/56 conference will conclude in Kathmandu on 23 August 2019

The stage has been set for progress toward the resolution of Asia-Pacific’s aviation capacity constraints at the 56th Conference of Directors General of Civil Aviation, Asia and Pacific Region (DGCA-APAC/56) in Kathmandu, with ICAO Council President Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu stressing the pivotal importance of cooperation towards ICAO compliance as the only sustainable solution to the challenges faced by region’s States.

The Prime Minister of Nepal, K.P. Sharma Oli, attended Aliu’s remarks, as did Nepal’s Minister and State Minister for Culture, Tourism, and Civil Aviation, Yogesh Kumar Bhattarai and Dhan Bahadur Budha. Nepal’s commitments to ICAO cooperation were in fact centre-stage at DGCA-APAC/56, with the State’s celebrations of ICAO’s 75th Anniversary providing particularly energetic momentum to discussions. These comprised the hoisting of the anniversary flag at the summit of Mount Everest by Pasang Tendi Sherpa, and they were echoed at a subsequent bilateral meeting between the ICAO Council President and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Nepal, Pradeep Kumar Gyawali.

ICAO compliance, especially in the area of safety and security oversight, is fundamental to both global and regional harmonization. Progress in this area is particularly pertinent in the Asia-Pacific Region, given the significant State-to-State diversity both in terms of economic capacity and development and with respect to the current reality of civil aviation infrastructure and regulatory oversight, such as the lack of a regional safety oversight body. In recognition of the associated challenges, ICAO is implementing the No Country Left Behind initiative in the region, and has strengthened its regional office. Both of these endeavours have proven highly successful at helping Member States to meet their compliance obligations.

Aliu also pointed to the importance of cooperation with private sector partners.

Human resource challenges are in fact a very critical issue for many States where capacity constraints are concerned. It involves their responsibilities to not only prepare and train but also to employ and retain the increasingly-skilled personnel civil aviation requires. In this regard, ICAO is working to help States define their specific needs. For example, 14 Pacific Islands Developing States are participating in ICAO’s on-going Aviation Needs Analysis Study.

Concluding his remarks, Aliu stressed that these and other compliance-related issues can be addressed through a harmonized and concerted effort to foster and implement innovative technological solutions. He gave the use of blockchain technologies “to monitor and manage the incredible amount of documentation and data we collectively generate” as a pertinent and important example.

Nonetheless, technological evolution will present challenges in terms of the identification of convergent and global aviation solutions that preserve the harmonization at the foundation of the contemporary aviation system, while practically applying as well to divergent local challenges and developments.

The DGCA-APAC/56 conference will conclude in Kathmandu on 23 August 2019.

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