CARICOM calls for membership on ICAO Council

CARICOM is calling for a seat on the Council of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) as a means of having its concerns properly represented.

The call was made last week Wednesday by Secretary General Irwin LaRocque during his opening address at the now concluded Air Transport Meeting, which was held at the Arthur Chung Convention Centre, at Liliendaal.

LaRocque noted that of the 36 seats on the ICAO Council, the one seat allocated to the Caribbean is being determined by a body which has a minority of CARICOM membership.

With this being the case, the Secretary General said, “We respectfully submit that CARICOM, which are members of the ICAO, represent a distinct geographical grouping and request a seat on that basis,” while noting that the region wants to be represented with full voting rights on the ICAO Council.

The ICAO council is a permanent body of the organisation that is responsible to its General Assembly. It is composed of 36 Member States elected by the Assembly for a three-year term.

In the election, adequate representation is given to States of chief importance in air transport, States not otherwise included but which make the largest contribution to the provision of facilities for international civil air navigation and States not otherwise included whose designation will ensure that all major geographic areas of the world are represented on the Council. 

According to ICAO’s website, the Council has numerous functions, notable among which are to submit annual reports to the Assembly; to carry out the directions of the Assembly; and to discharge the duties and obligations which are laid on it by the Convention on International Civil Aviation (Chicago, 1944). It also administers the finances of ICAO; appoints and defines the duties of the Air Transport Committee, as well as the Committee on Joint Support of Air Navigation Services, the Finance Committee, and the Committee on Unlawful Interference, the Technical Co-operation Committee and the Human Resources Committee. It appoints the Members of the Air Navigation Commission and it elects the members of the Edward Warner Award Committee.

Additionally, the council, being one of the two governing bodies of ICAO, gives continuing direction to the work of ICAO. In this regard, one of its major duties is to adopt international Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) and to incorporate these as Annexes to the Chicago Convention. The Council may also amend existing Annexes as necessary.

Meanwhile, LaRocque also highlighted the need for the removal of regulatory impediments to air transport liberalization, especially since the region gave effect to the Community of Interest Principle (COIP), which provides a device to enable the designation of airlines to the Caribbean and other small states within regional groupings with practical measures to operate air transport services.

The multi-faceted Principle, he said, recognises the need for small states within regional groupings to act as a single entity, and, on that basis, as long as the ownership and control requirement is met by a single member of the group, the airline of that state so designated is allowed to treat the entire community as its “home” base.

“We would like to apply that Principle when the Community enters into negotiations with Third States, with a view to obtaining flexible air transport arrangements. We seek your support in maintaining the COIP at the 40th ICAO Assembly scheduled for September 2019,” LaRocque told the meeting.

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