International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)
Information
  • Date submitted: 1 Nov 2011
  • Stakeholder type: United Nations & Other IGOs
  • Name: International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)
  • Submission Document: Download
Keywords: Green economy (6 hits),

General Content

a) What are the expectations for the outcome of Rio+20, and what are the concrete proposals in this regard, including views on a possible structure of the Outcome document?

ICAO is undertaking intense preparations for Rio+20, and recognizes its essential role on the path leading to a more sustainable future. International civil aviation plays a key part in society as it affects the social, economic and environmental aspects of life, and is therefore critical when examining opportunities and strategies for sustainable development. ICAO has the following high expectations of the political agreement that will be reflected in the outcome document of Rio+20:


1) Rio+20 is expected to deliver an outcome that strikes a balance among the three pillars of social, economic and environmental sustainability which, once applied to the international aviation sector, will allow this sector to grow in an environmentally sustainable manner and at the same time, will continue to ensure freedom to travel, access to mobility, facilitate poverty eradication and the exchange of cultural and educational experiences.


A truly sustainable development seeks to secure the well-being of present and future generations by striving for a balance among social, economic and environmental objectives. The three pillars of sustainable development are especially relevant to the international aviation sector which, by offering the safest and most efficient means of public transportation, is universally recognised as an essential link to the global economy and cultural exchange.


The environmental pillar of sustainable development has always been high on aviation stakeholders? agenda ? levels of noise and emissions have been reduced dramatically as air transport operations today are 70 per cent more fuel efficient and 75 per cent quieter than they were 40 years ago.


Air travel today is an integral part of our global society. It is the lifeline of economies on all continents, creating or supporting millions of jobs, and spreading immense social benefits everywhere ? from the enjoyment of leisure and cultural experience, to the rapid and effective delivery of emergency and humanitarian aid in many regions of the planet. The increased efficient and affordable access that air transport has provided to global markets helps improve living standards and foster economic growth. This, in turn, alleviates poverty and results in reduced environmental degradation.


In this regard, the achievement of the global aspirational goals for the international aviation sector, adopted by the 37th Session of the ICAO Assembly, will require adequate financial resources within the sector itself, enabling it to effectively respond to the global climate change challenge. The ICAO Assembly agreed on the guiding principles for the design and implementation of market-based measures, and decided to explore a global scheme for international aviation.


It is of utmost importance that the design and implementation of market-based measures for international aviation be treated as an element of ICAO?s comprehensive mitigation strategy to achieve the global aspirational goals, as part of a global strategy for the sustainable future of international aviation, and not in isolation.


2) ICAO expects Rio+20 to set clear objectives and establish a strong framework to address new energy challenges in the context of the transition to a Green economy. In this regard, the role of renewable energies will be critical in meeting both the world?s and aviation?s sustainable development objectives. On the use of sustainable alternative fuels, aviation is a real and concrete example of how much can be done, within a relatively short timeframe, to turn a dream into reality. Today, the use of drop-in biofuels in aviation has become a reality, as a number of airlines have begun using such fuels in commercial flights.


In 2009, ICAO established the Global Framework on Aviation and Alternative Fuels (GFAAF ? www.icao.int/env), a platform for sharing information on best practices and initiatives worldwide to facilitate the development and deployment of sustainable alternative fuels for aviation, on a global scale.


The impressive rate at which alternative aviation fuels projects and programmes are growing is a testament to their feasibility, and an even greater indication of the progress that can be made by a single sector if there is the willingness to take advantage of a valuable opportunity for collective action toward a common goal. While technological aspects have proven to be viable, the use of biofuels is not yet financially sustainable. The cost, scalability and distribution of biofuels still need to be further examined.


In this regard, ICAO convened the Workshop on Aviation and Sustainable Alternative Fuels (www.icao.int/sustaf) in October 2011, as part of its preparations for Rio+20. Mr. Sha Zukang, UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs and Secretary-General of Rio+20, remarked in his keynote address to the workshop that ?The development of an effective and efficient transport system is essential to secure sustainable development??, that the International Civil Aviation Organization is ?actively promoting the reduction of aviation environmental impacts through appropriate operational measures, standards and market-based options? and concluded, stating that he hopes ICAO ?will report the outcome of the workshop and inform the intergovernmental process of [its] findings, valuable efforts and forward-looking activities?.


The over 200 participants from governments, aviation industry, fuel producers, financial institutions and academia concluded the workshop with the following messages to Rio+20:


a) the development and deployment of alternative fuels for aviation contributes to all three pillars of sustainable development: they can have a positive effect on the environment by reducing net CO2 emissions and improving local air quality; the creation of an alternative fuels industry provides a new source of employment and further facilitates travel, thereby delivering a positive contribution to society; and alternative fuels can help to stabilize fuel price volatility, while providing a source of economic development in non-traditionally fuel producing regions of the world;


b) the definition of sustainability criteria, though not exclusive to aviation, remains a key issue that will determine the types of feedstocks and processes used to provide alternative aviation fuels in the future; and


c) with the technological aspects of alternative aviation fuels resolved, the remaining challenges relate to ensuring sufficient, cost-competitive quantities of sustainable fuels be available for use in aviation in a timely manner, and regulatory and financial frameworks can help to address this challenge.


ICAO will continue to be at the forefront of international efforts to facilitate the development and deployment of sustainable alternative fuels for aviation on a global scale. Rio+20 is expected to reach an agreement that recognizes the positive contribution of alternative aviation fuels to the three pillars of sustainable development and the challenges for ensuring the availability of such fuels for use in aviation. The agreement is further expected to provide strong policy support to stimulate the enhancement of a viable biofuel industry capable of meeting the future fuel demands for the aviation sector.


3) The outcome of Rio+20 is expected to keep a good balance and flexibility among those principles already endorsed by different UN Conventions and Declarations. ICAO has already achieved substantial progress in this direction.


With the adoption of Resolution A37-19 on international aviation and climate change, ICAO was able to move forward on the challenging task of reconciling the principle of ?non-discrimination? under the Convention on International Civil Aviation (Chicago Convention) with the principle of ?common but differentiated responsibilities (CBDR)? under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and its Kyoto Protocol.


Both the principles of non-discrimination and CBDR are clearly acknowledged in the text of Resolution A37-19, and reconciled in a balanced manner, including through: the setting of global aspirational goals which do not attribute specific obligations to individual member States; and agreeing on the development of a mechanism for the provision of assistance to States.


4) In terms of governance, Rio+20 is expected to deliver an agreement that acknowledges ICAO?s achievements as the specialized agency for international aviation in the area of climate change, and encourages its member States to work further through ICAO towards the sustainable development of international aviation.


ICAO is the first UN Organization to lead the sector in the establishment of a
globally-harmonized agreement for addressing its CO2 emissions. Through Assembly Resolution A37-19, ICAO established global aspirational goals of improving fuel efficiency and stabilizing global CO2 emissions of the sector in the medium-term.


The agreement on the submission of member States? action plans to ICAO will lead to a dynamic shift in the Organization?s policy outlook on the environment from a ?Standards and policies setting? phase to a more action-oriented ?implementation? mode. The action plans will allow States to identify their basket of measures and assistance needs, and enable ICAO to assess the progress in achieving the global aspirational goals and address the assistance needs of States. ICAO has already developed guidance material and an interactive website, and held a number of hands-on training workshops across the ICAO regions, in order to assist member States in preparing and submitting their action plans by June 2012 ? when Rio+20 will be convened.

b) What are the comments, if any, on existing proposals: e.g., a green economy roadmap, framework for action, sustainable development goals, a revitalized global partnership for sustainable development, or others?

ICAO fully supports the Millennium Development Goals, in particular, Goals 7 and 8 relating to environmental sustainability and developing a global partnership for development. ICAO also fully supports and cooperates with the work of other UN bodies, in particular the UNFCCC and its ongoing negotiation process, towards a future global climate change agreement.


ICAO and its member States are committed to the development of concrete and global solutions for the sustainable future of international aviation, in cooperation with other UN bodies. While the reconciliation of the principle of non-discrimination under the Chicago Convention and the principle of CBDR under the UNFCCC and its Kyoto Protocol has been one of the biggest challenges for the work of ICAO, ICAO has been able to move forward in addressing this challenge with the adoption of its Assembly Resolution A37-19. To reiterate, the outcome of Rio+20 should maintain a good balance and flexibility among those principles already endorsed by different UN Conventions and Declarations.



c) What are the views on implementation and on how to close the implementation gap, which relevant actors are envisaged as being involved (Governments, specific Major Groups, UN system, IFIs, etc.);

The agreement on the submission of member States? action plans to ICAO, as part of Resolution A37-19, will lead to a dynamic shift in the ICAO?s policy outlook on the environment from a ?Standards and policies setting? phase to a more action-oriented ?implementation? mode. The action plans will allow member States to identify their basket of mitigation measures to reduce CO2 emissions from international aviation and their assistance needs to implement such measures.


In this regard, ICAO has already developed guidance material and an interactive website, and held a number of hands-on training workshops, in order to assist member States in preparing their action plans in cooperation and partnership with their industry stakeholders, and submitting them to ICAO by June 2012 ? when the Rio+20 will be convened.


The member States? action plans will enable ICAO to assess the progress in achieving the global aspirational goals of the international aviation sector, as well as identify the implementation barriers and assistance needs of States, towards the provision of technical and financial assistance to States.



d) What specific cooperation mechanisms, partnership arrangements or other implementation tools are envisaged and what is the relevant time frame for the proposed decisions to be reached and actions to be implemented?

N/A
Specific Elements
a) Objective of the Conference: To secure renewed political commitment for sustainable development, assessing the progress to date and remaining gaps in the implementation of the outcomes of the major summits on sustainable development and addressing new and emerging challenges.

Contributions could include possible sectoral priorities (e.g., (e.g., energy, food security and sustainable agriculture, technology transfer, water, oceans, sustainable urbanization, sustainable consumption and production, natural disaster preparedness and climate change adaptation, biodiversity, etc.) and sectoral initiatives that contribute to integrate the three pillars of sustainable development could be launched and endorsed at Rio+20.


ICAO looks to Rio+20 to deliver an outcome that reflects the expectations of ICAO for the international aviation sector, as contained in Section 1. a. above.



For example, the ICAO Workshop on Aviation and Sustainable Alternative Fuels held in
October 2011, as part of its preparation process for Rio+20, clearly acknowledged that the development and deployment of alternative fuels for aviation contributes to the three pillars of sustainable development. It also identified challenges relating to sufficient, cost-competitive quantities of sustainable alternative fuels to be available for the use of aviation in a timely manner. Rio+20 is an appropriate forum to reach an agreement that provides strong policy support to stimulate the availability of sustainable alternative fuels for aviation.



b) Green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication: views regarding how green economy can be a means to achieve sustainable development in its three dimensions, and poverty eradication; what is its potential added value; experience to date, including what has worked and how to build upon success, what are the challenges and opportunities and how to address the challenges and seize opportunities, and possible elements of an agreement in outcome document on a green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication

ICAO looks to the Rio+20 to deliver an outcome that reflects the expectations of ICAO for the international aviation sector, as contained in Section 1. a. above.



The Green economy can be considered as a means to accelerate progress towards sustainable development and poverty eradication, a way of reorienting decision making in the public and private sectors to respect the valuable benefits nature provides us, and an approach to development and growth that systematically seeks to mutually reinforce the three pillars of sustainable development.



ICAO, with the support of its 190 member States, and in close cooperation with the aviation industry, is committed to taking further steps towards developing global solutions, aimed at a Green economy under blue skies. Rio+20 is expected to deliver an outcome with a good balance among the three pillars of social, economic and environmental sustainability which, once applied to the international aviation sector, will allow this sector to grow in an environmentally sustainable manner and at the same time, continue to ensure freedom to travel, access to mobility, facilitate poverty eradication and the exchange of cultural and educational experiences.



c) Institutional framework for sustainable development: Priorities and proposals for strengthening individual pillars of sustainable development, as well as those for strengthening integration of the three pillars, at multiple levels; local, national, regional and international.

One of ICAO?s main priorities for the consideration of the Institutional Framework for Sustainable Development (IFSD) is to avoid unnecessary duplication of activities already being successfully undertaken by existing UN Organizations.


In particular, the analysis of legal powers arising from the potential change in the mandate of existing (or newly created) entities should be mainly focused on the compatibility with the existing provisions of Conventions, agreements and policies.



d) Any proposals for refinement of the two themes. Recall that Resolution 64/236 describes the focus of the Conference: "The focus of the Conference will include the following themes to be discussed and refined during the preparatory process: a green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication and the institutional framework for sustainable development".

N/A

Full Submission

Input and Contributions of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD ? Rio+20)

(26 October 2011)

1. GENERAL CONTENT ICAO is undertaking intense preparations for Rio+20, and recognizes its essential role on the path leading to a more sustainable future. International civil aviation plays a key part in society as it affects the social, economic and environmental aspects of life, and is therefore critical when examining opportunities and strategies for sustainable development. ICAO has the following high expectations of the political agreement that will be reflected in the outcome document of Rio+20:

1) Rio+20 is expected to deliver an outcome that strikes a balance among the three pillars of social, economic and environmental sustainability which, once applied to the international aviation sector, will allow this sector to grow in an environmentally sustainable manner and at the same time, will continue to ensure freedom to travel, access to mobility, facilitate poverty eradication and the exchange of cultural and educational experiences.

A truly sustainable development seeks to secure the well-being of present and future generations by striving for a balance among social, economic and environmental objectives. The three pillars of sustainable development are especially relevant to the international aviation sector which, by offering the safest and most efficient means of public transportation, is universally recognised as an essential link to the global economy and cultural exchange.

The environmental pillar of sustainable development has always been high on aviation stakeholders? agenda ? levels of noise and emissions have been reduced dramatically as air transport operations today are 70 per cent more fuel efficient and 75 per cent quieter than they were 40 years ago.

Air travel today is an integral part of our global society. It is the lifeline of economies on all continents, creating or supporting millions of jobs, and spreading immense social benefits everywhere ? from the enjoyment of leisure and cultural experience, to the rapid and effective delivery of emergency and humanitarian aid in many regions of the planet. The increased efficient and affordable access that air transport has provided to global markets helps improve living standards and foster economic growth. This, in turn, alleviates poverty and results in reduced environmental degradation.

In this regard, the achievement of the global aspirational goals for the international aviation sector, adopted by the 37th Session of the ICAO Assembly, will require adequate financial resources within the sector itself, enabling it to effectively respond to the global climate change challenge. The ICAO Assembly agreed on the guiding principles for the design and implementation of market-based measures, and decided to explore a global scheme for international aviation.

It is of utmost importance that the design and implementation of market-based measures for international aviation be treated as an element of ICAO?s comprehensive mitigation strategy to achieve the global aspirational goals, as part of a global strategy for the sustainable future of international aviation, and not in isolation.

2) ICAO expects Rio+20 to set clear objectives and establish a strong framework to address new energy challenges in the context of the transition to a Green economy. In this regard, the role of renewable energies will be critical in meeting both the world?s and aviation?s sustainable development objectives. On the use of sustainable alternative fuels, aviation is a real and concrete example of how much can be done, within a relatively short timeframe, to turn a dream into reality. Today, the use of drop-in biofuels in aviation has become a reality, as a number of airlines have begun using such fuels in commercial flights.

In 2009, ICAO established the Global Framework on Aviation and Alternative Fuels (GFAAF ? www.icao.int/env), a platform for sharing information on best practices and initiatives worldwide to facilitate the development and deployment of sustainable alternative fuels for aviation, on a global scale.

The impressive rate at which alternative aviation fuels projects and programmes are growing is a testament to their feasibility, and an even greater indication of the progress that can be made by a single sector if there is the willingness to take advantage of a valuable opportunity for collective action toward a common goal. While technological aspects have proven to be viable, the use of biofuels is not yet financially sustainable. The cost, scalability and distribution of biofuels still need to be further examined.

In this regard, ICAO convened the Workshop on Aviation and Sustainable Alternative Fuels (www.icao.int/sustaf) in October 2011, as part of its preparations for Rio+20. Mr. Sha Zukang, UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs and Secretary-General of Rio+20, remarked in his keynote address to the workshop that ?The development of an effective and efficient transport system is essential to secure sustainable development??, that the International Civil Aviation Organization is ?actively promoting the reduction of aviation environmental impacts through appropriate operational measures, standards and market-based options? and concluded, stating that he hopes ICAO ?will report the outcome of the workshop and inform the intergovernmental process of [its] findings, valuable efforts and forward-looking activities?.

The over 200 participants from governments, aviation industry, fuel producers, financial institutions and academia concluded the workshop with the following messages to Rio+20:

a) the development and deployment of alternative fuels for aviation contributes to all three pillars of sustainable development: they can have a positive effect on the environment by reducing net CO2 emissions and improving local air quality; the creation of an alternative fuels industry provides a new source of employment and further facilitates travel, thereby delivering a positive contribution to society; and alternative fuels can help to stabilize fuel price volatility, while providing a source of economic development in non-traditionally fuel producing regions of the world;

b) the definition of sustainability criteria, though not exclusive to aviation, remains a key issue that will determine the types of feedstocks and processes used to provide alternative aviation fuels in the future; and

c) with the technological aspects of alternative aviation fuels resolved, the remaining challenges relate to ensuring sufficient, cost-competitive quantities of sustainable fuels be available for use in aviation in a timely manner, and regulatory and financial frameworks can help to address this challenge.

ICAO will continue to be at the forefront of international efforts to facilitate the development and deployment of sustainable alternative fuels for aviation on a global scale. Rio+20 is expected to reach an agreement that recognizes the positive contribution of alternative aviation fuels to the three pillars of sustainable development and the challenges for ensuring the availability of such fuels for use in aviation. The agreement is further expected to provide strong policy support to stimulate the enhancement of a viable biofuel industry capable of meeting the future fuel demands for the aviation sector.

3) The outcome of Rio+20 is expected to keep a good balance and flexibility among those principles already endorsed by different UN Conventions and Declarations. ICAO has already achieved substantial progress in this direction.

With the adoption of Resolution A37-19 on international aviation and climate change, ICAO was able to move forward on the challenging task of reconciling the principle of ?non-discrimination? under the Convention on International Civil Aviation (Chicago Convention) with the principle of ?common but differentiated responsibilities (CBDR)? under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and its Kyoto Protocol.

Both the principles of non-discrimination and CBDR are clearly acknowledged in the text of Resolution A37-19, and reconciled in a balanced manner, including through: the setting of global aspirational goals which do not attribute specific obligations to individual member States; and agreeing on the development of a mechanism for the provision of assistance to States.

4) In terms of governance, Rio+20 is expected to deliver an agreement that acknowledges ICAO?s achievements as the specialized agency for international aviation in the area of climate change, and encourages its member States to work further through ICAO towards the sustainable development of international aviation.

ICAO is the first UN Organization to lead the sector in the establishment of a globally-harmonized agreement for addressing its CO2 emissions. Through Assembly Resolution A37-19, ICAO established global aspirational goals of improving fuel efficiency and stabilizing global CO2 emissions of the sector in the medium-term.

The agreement on the submission of member States? action plans to ICAO will lead to a dynamic shift in the Organization?s policy outlook on the environment from a ?Standards and policies setting? phase to a more action-oriented ?implementation? mode. The action plans will allow States to identify their basket of measures and assistance needs, and enable ICAO to assess the progress in achieving the global aspirational goals and address the assistance needs of States. ICAO has already developed guidance material and an interactive website, and held a number of hands-on training workshops across the ICAO regions, in order to assist member States in preparing and submitting their action plans by June 2012 ? when Rio+20 will be convened.

ICAO fully supports the Millennium Development Goals, in particular, Goals 7 and 8 relating to environmental sustainability and developing a global partnership for development. ICAO also fully supports and cooperates with the work of other UN bodies, in particular the UNFCCC and its ongoing negotiation process, towards a future global climate change agreement.

ICAO and its member States are committed to the development of concrete and global solutions for the sustainable future of international aviation, in cooperation with other UN bodies. While the reconciliation of the principle of non-discrimination under the Chicago Convention and the principle of CBDR under the UNFCCC and its Kyoto Protocol has been one of the biggest challenges for the work of ICAO, ICAO has been able to move forward in addressing this challenge with the adoption of its Assembly Resolution A37-19. To reiterate, the outcome of Rio+20 should maintain a good balance and flexibility among those principles already endorsed by different UN Conventions and Declarations.

The agreement on the submission of member States? action plans to ICAO, as part of Resolution A37-19, will lead to a dynamic shift in the ICAO?s policy outlook on the environment from a ?Standards and policies setting? phase to a more action-oriented ?implementation? mode. The action plans will allow member States to identify their basket of mitigation measures to reduce CO2 emissions from international aviation and their assistance needs to implement such measures.

In this regard, ICAO has already developed guidance material and an interactive website, and held a number of hands-on training workshops, in order to assist member States in preparing their action plans in cooperation and partnership with their industry stakeholders, and submitting them to ICAO by June 2012 ? when the Rio+20 will be convened.

The member States? action plans will enable ICAO to assess the progress in achieving the global aspirational goals of the international aviation sector, as well as identify the implementation barriers and assistance needs of States, towards the provision of technical and financial assistance to States.

2. SPECIFIC ELEMENTS ICAO looks to Rio+20 to deliver an outcome that reflects the expectations of ICAO for the international aviation sector, as contained in Section 1. a. above.

For example, the ICAO Workshop on Aviation and Sustainable Alternative Fuels held in October 2011, as part of its preparation process for Rio+20, clearly acknowledged that the development and deployment of alternative fuels for aviation contributes to the three pillars of sustainable development. It also identified challenges relating to sufficient, cost-competitive quantities of sustainable alternative fuels to be available for the use of aviation in a timely manner. Rio+20 is an appropriate forum to reach an agreement that provides strong policy support to stimulate the availability of sustainable alternative fuels for aviation.

ICAO looks to the Rio+20 to deliver an outcome that reflects the expectations of ICAO for the international aviation sector, as contained in Section 1. a. above.

The Green economy can be considered as a means to accelerate progress towards sustainable development and poverty eradication, a way of reorienting decision making in the public and private sectors to respect the valuable benefits nature provides us, and an approach to development and growth that systematically seeks to mutually reinforce the three pillars of sustainable development.

ICAO, with the support of its 190 member States, and in close cooperation with the aviation industry, is committed to taking further steps towards developing global solutions, aimed at a Green economy under blue skies. Rio+20 is expected to deliver an outcome with a good balance among the three pillars of social, economic and environmental sustainability which, once applied to the international aviation sector, will allow this sector to grow in an environmentally sustainable manner and at the same time, continue to ensure freedom to travel, access to mobility, facilitate poverty eradication and the exchange of cultural and educational experiences.

One of ICAO?s main priorities for the consideration of the Institutional Framework for Sustainable Development (IFSD) is to avoid unnecessary duplication of activities already being successfully undertaken by existing UN Organizations.

In particular, the analysis of legal powers arising from the potential change in the mandate of existing (or newly created) entities should be mainly focused on the compatibility with the existing provisions of Conventions, agreements and policies.

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