South Africa, represented by the Minister of Transport Ms. Dipuo Peters, is participating in the International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) first ever World Aviation Forum which started on Monday, 23rd November and will conclude on Wednesday, 25 November 2015 at its headquarters in Montreal, Canada. The theme of the conference is “Aviation Partnerships for Sustainable Development”.
The conference is attended by various ICAO member states as well as members of the aviation business community including international industry structures and associations. The programme boasts speakers from various countries amongst the 191 member states affiliated to ICAO.
Delivering his keynote address at the opening of the conference, the President of the Council of ICAO, Dr Olumuyiwa Aliu, invited member states to support the No Country Left Behind (NCLB) goals of ICAO and further committed to providing assistance particularly to developing states. Delegates were welcomed by the Minister of Transport in Canada, Hon Marc Garneau who also expressed the commitment of the Canadian government to supporting matters of aviation.
The programme of the conference comprises various panel discussions led by various states on topical aviation themes such as the economic benefits delivered by aviation from a safety and reliability of air travel perspective. Under this theme the delegates listened to various perspectives on the importance of the NCLB goals to socio-economic development, the connection between the effective implementation of global aviation standards and policies and the resultant social and economic benefits.
Minister Peters was the co-moderator of a panel discussion and also a speaker on the experiences and expectations of emerging economies and the Development Community. South Africa has positioned itself as a flagship African aviation state and to this end Minister Peters confirmed the country’s commitment to supporting ICAO’s “No Country Left Behind” goals. According to Minister Peters, aviation safety has become a global issue that ranks as one of the most pressing matters facing society today.
“Considering that aviation remains a critical catalyst for development in terms of economic and social development, the South African government took a conscious decision to identify aviation as one of the key economic drivers. This led to the establishment of the three autonomous entities, namely the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) responsible for Aviation Safety and Security, Air Traffic Navigation Services (ATNS) dealing with air navigation service provision and Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) in charge of airports management”, said Minister Peters.
The benefits enjoyed by the country through this model include the high rating South Africa consistently receives through the CAA in terms of ICAO compliance with the eight critical elements on safety and security. ATNS is regarded as one of the schools of excellence in terms of aviation training, and ACSA airports are rated amongst the top in the world.
This has also ensured that airport development, air navigation infrastructure and regulatory oversight have become less burdensome on the state’s already stretched fiscus, thereby directing resources towards high priority socio-economic challenges such as health, education and poverty alleviation.
Air travel has compressed the world into an increasingly global village, with associated massive downstream contributions towards other key economic sectors such as trade and tourism.
“For the continent of Africa and given the vastness of our land, it is imperative that the collaboration amongst states is encouraged, thus avoiding duplication of efforts whilst creating an environment where states can learn from each other. In keeping with the theme of “No Country Left Behind”, South Africa has signed MOUs to provide technical assistance and cooperation with several African States with respect to aviation safety and security, capacity building and skills development”, concluded Minister Peters.
Day 1 of the conference culminated in a high level dialogue on inter-sectoral collaboration on aviation strategies for the Sustainable Development Goals as well as on global investment and aviation development.
SOURCE: SOUTH AFRICAN OFFICIAL NEWS