As?? local civil aviation?? staff?? prepare to?? wind down a?? week of?? activities to?? commemorate?? International?? Civil?? Aviation?? Day, the United Nations agency responsible?? for???? the development of international?? safety?? standards, has underscored its continued commitment to this end.

In?? a?? message to mark the December 7 observance, as read by?? Director of Civil Aviation, Tony Archer, President of the International?? Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), Roberto Kobeh Gonzalez,?? charged that with 2.3 billion passengers a year on more than 26 million flights worldwide, air transport was?? "by far?? the safest mode of mass transportation ever created.

"In the spirit of continuous improvement aimed at enhancing security even further, our work never ends. Today attention is focused on the greater sharing of information among governments and industry to identify and resolve potential safety issues before they become accidents," Mr. Gonzalez explained.

Noting that the profile of aviation demanded that the most comprehensive and effective security systems were developed and employed, the ICAO spokesman maintained: "Terrorism is a global problem that requires global solutions implemented in a harmonised manner around the world. ICAO assures that the systems constantly evolve as the threats change."

Pointing out that states within the industry?? were committed to working together?? in tightening security measures, while simplifying procedures to reduce burden on both passengers and airlines, Mr. Gonzalez?? emphasised?? that every effort was made to prevent illegal?? acts against aviation, passengers and?? cargo, with the full force of the legal system being?? brought to bear on those involved.

In terms of future projections, he underscored the sector’s commitment to increasing fuel efficiency and stabilising global CO2 emissions at a sectoral level, despite representing a minor source of greenhouse gas emissions.

"Looking forward, aviation aims at a two per cent annual fuel efficiency improvement up to the year 2050, a CO2 standard for aircraft by 2013, market-based measures for limiting emissions, and support for states in implementing their action- plans to contribute to the global effort. Combined with other technical, operational and political commitments, aviation is well on its way to building a carbon neutral future," Mr. Gonzalez projected.

In conclusion, the ICAO President addressed the issue of unity within the sector, a facet which, he maintained had been ICAO’s mission since its inception in 1944.

"Given the complexity and scope of the challenges, governments and industry must leverage the same high degree of collaboration and effort that has been the hallmark of?? ICAO throughout its history. Only by working together can the collective goal of "Safe, Secure and Sustainable Aviation for Our Planet" [the theme for this year] be maintained," Mr. Gonzalez surmised.??

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