At ICAO’s 38th Assembly in 2013, our Member States agreed to finalise a new CO2 Standard and to develop a global market-based measure (GMBM) to address international aviation emissions by the next ICAO Assembly in September 2016. It was also agreed that the GMBM should be implemented by 2020. 2015 is a critically important year in terms of ICAO’s preparation for our next Assembly, and the UNFCCC COP21 is an important milestone in that process. This landmark climate event will be seeking to reach a universal and legally binding agreement to effectively combat climate change, and in so doing bring greater impetus to the much needed global transition towards resilient, low-carbon society.
ICAO, governments, civil society and the industry have been working in concerted partnership towards delivering a practical GMBM proposal next year. Aviation must remain fully unified in these efforts to achieve progress. A positive outcome at COP21 will be crucial to encouraging ICAO Member States to make further progress at ICAO’s 39th Assembly on reducing emission from international aviation, including an agreement on a GMBM.
In September 2015, as part of our preparations in advance of COP21, ICAO held a Global Aviation Partnerships on Emissions Reduction Seminar. Impressively, over a thousand partnerships to address aviation emissions were presented during this event, including emerging challenges for aviation such as aircraft recycling and adaptation.
We should also take note that the 2015 United Nations Summit has now adopted the new post-2015 UN Sustainable Development Goals. Aviation substantially contributes to a number of these and as a sector we should work harder to underscore the positive impacts of safe and reliable air operations on the SDG targets relating to emissions reduction, socio-economic prosperity, infrastructure development and poverty eradication.
These goals are also related to several of the priorities ICAO is pursuing under our “No Country Left Behind” (NCLB) initiative. ICAO's capacity building and financing strategy in support of actions by our Member States to reduce aviation emissions, in particular the ICAO State Action Plans initiative and two ongoing green financing projects supported by the European Commissions and UNDP/GEF, are concrete examples of our action and resolve under NCLB.
Through partnerships and visionary commitments, the international aviation sector has been actively progressing its own strategy to address its CO2 emissions, and to achieve ICAO’s global aspirational goals of improving fuel efficiency by two per cent per year while stabilising our sector’s CO2 emissions at 2020 levels. ICAO States are seeking to realise these targets through measures including technological and operational improvements, alternative fuels and market-based measures.
Taking action in all areas is crucial for the success of next ICAO Assembly, and I am grateful to ATAG that this publication highlights a series of actions and partnerships to address aviation and climate change.
We now find ourselves on a shared journey toward achieving carbon neutral growth from 2020 – a clear and common objective for ICAO and ATAG. I strongly believe that this will be possible only by continuing to work together, in line with our historic tradition in global civil aviation, and by actively forging and refining our related partnerships.
Few goals have ever been more critical to our sector, and none are as urgently essential to our shared and future prosperity today than attaining meaningful environmental sustainability.