By VICTOR NZE
The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Council has endorsed the Global Aviation Security Plan (GASep) to improve international coordination, response, and planning to counter threats to aviation passengers, cargo, aircraft and facilities.
This is also as the International Air Transport Association (IATA) similarly called for the implementation of the GASep, developed by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).
In a statement posted on its website, Wednesday, President of ICAO Council, Nigeria’s Dr Olumuyiwa Bernard Aliu said the new strategic document would assist Member-States in their aviation security coordination with other states and applicable security agencies.
“It will also help to nurture security cultures and capabilities, place greater focus on the role of new technologies and innovations, and refine related frameworks for oversight and quality assurance,” he added.
According to him, a set of indicators and target dates have also been established, and all associated targets and outcomes will be regularly reviewed and adjusted, taking into account all new and emerging aviation security threats.
He said the council had encouraged the ICAO Secretariat to continue refining and improving this critical living document on the basis of close continuous cooperation with states and security stakeholders globally.
Aliu said subsequent to its first review of the new global aviation security plan in June 2017, the council authorised its transmission to ICAO member-states and international organisations for comment.
He added that 96 per cent of those replies indicated agreement with its scope and purpose, as well as the related strategies and global targets, which would continue to be refined.
The statement also quoted the ICAO Secretary-General, Dr Fang Liu as saying “the document was developed on an accelerated basis to answer the call of ICAO’s Council and member states.’’
It would be recalled that, last Tuesday, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) learnt its voice to the clamour for the implementation of the Global Aviation Security Plan (GASep), developed by ICAO.
Director-General of IATA, Mr Alexandre de Juniac, made the call at the IATA Aviation Security World Conference in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates.
The IATA chief noted that global standards were critical to managing the security of the aviation industry globally.
“States are responsible for implementing effective security measures. Annex 17 of the Chicago Convention, which has been in place for four decades, makes this clear. But shockingly, 40 per cent of states have struggled to implement even the baseline requirements. This is not good enough.
“Development and implementation are different things as we clearly see with low levels of compliance to Annex 17 requirements. Capacity building will be critical. States will need to integrate the priority actions outlined in GASeP into their respective National Civil Aviation Security Programme if it is to be effective,” de Juniac said.
He called for strengthening of partnership between governments and the industry in order to improve aviation security.
“Governments and the industry are partners in aviation security. Airlines have operational know-how. Governments have the financial and intelligence resources. We have to put them together effectively in a continuous dialogue focused on improving security.
“We cannot predict the next security challenge. But some things we do know for sure. Our common defense is stronger when governments and industry work together. And, if we can avoid long-term extra-territorial measures, focus on global standards, share information and develop technology efficiently, our hand is strengthened even further.”
The IATA chief further noted that better information sharing and coordination on security measures among governments and with the industry was essential.
According to him, the failure to share information among states manifests itself in many ways.