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Published on : Thursday, June 11, 2015
Some 600 participants from 48 States and 18 international and regional organizations gathered in Maputo, Mozambique this May for a special four-day series of meetings for ‘AFI Aviation Week’ hosted by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
ICAO Secretary General Raymond Benjamin opened the event, which was designed to further the development of the aviation network supporting Africa and delivered important results in the areas of safety, security, facilitation and human resources capacity-building. All present recognized the value of the AFI Aviation Week’s consolidated meetings and agreed that it should become an annual event on Africa’s aviation calendar.
The week kicked-off on 18 May with the AFI Security/Facilitation (SECFAL) Plan meeting and the launching of the Plan, where discussions focused on the need for a high-level conference to generate political support from all segments involved in AVSEC/FAL implementation. The important coordination roles of ICAO and the African Union were underscored, and the First Meeting of the AFI SECFAL Steering Committee further supported the African Civil Aviation Conference’s (AFCAC) proposal to establish a regional SECFAL Group.
Turning to safety the following day, the Fifteenth Meeting of the Comprehensive Regional Implementation Plan for Aviation Safety in Africa (AFI Plan) Steering Committee reviewed progress made on the implementation of ICAO Plans of Action for AFI States. It also recognized efforts being made by aviation safety partners, key stakeholders and ICAO to assist States with establishing and maintaining effective safety oversight systems, and welcomed recent efforts by ICAO Council President Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu and Secretary General Benjamin to drive greater momentum on effective implementation of ICAO Standards.
“It is an important priority for our Organization to assist Member States with their training and capacity-building objectives,” noted Secretary General Benjamin in his opening remarks. “Through our Global Aviation Training (GAT) office, ICAO will continue to work closely with the Association of Aviation Training Organizations in Africa (AATO), the AFI Plan secretariat and the AFI SECFAL Plan secretariat, so that all of our objectives supporting improved safety, security, facilitation and human resources development in Africa are eventually met or surpassed.”
Driving further progress on aviation safety, the Second AFI Safety Symposium during the AFI Aviation week developed a Collaborative Implementation Programme, and it stressed the need to re-engage States and stakeholders in their efforts to implement the Abuja Safety Targets established in 2012.
The week ended with a meeting of the AFI Human Resources Development Fund (HRDF), where participants reviewed a progress report on the implementation of the initiative and explored further steps to address human capital capacity challenges facing Africa’s aviation sector. The HRDF was created subsequent to the Malabo Declaration of 2014, and AFCAC was mandated to establish a secondment and internship programme. The Fund seeks to establish a framework supporting secondments of aviation professionals to ICAO and internships for young aviation professionals in Africa.
“AFI Aviation Week served as an important step forward as ICAO and its Member States continue toward our safety, security and human resources development priorities in this region,” commented Council President Aliu. “ICAO must now build upon the collaborative outcomes we have achieved this week so that our standards and policies are more effectively implemented all across the African continent. Only in this way can ICAO ensure that No Country is Left Behind where the benefits of safe, secure and reliable air transport are concerned.”