CANSO at the 41st ICAO Assembly – week one reflections


In his second blog from Montreal, Nico Voorbach, Director ICAO Affairs, CANSO, reflects on the first week of the 41st ICAO Assembly.

On Tuesday 27 September the 41st ICAO Assembly started in Montreal with the participation of more then 2500 participants in person and another 2000 virtually.

The delegates elected by acclamation Ms. Poppy Khoza (South Africa) as President of the Assembly. Ms. Khoza is the first woman in the history of the organization to preside over the Assembly as its President. Four vice presidents and the chairs of the different Commissions were also elected.

The first day and a half were taken up by the elections, other administrative arrangements and formal statements by States. Those statements, as was predictable, laid out expectations for the accomplishments of the Assembly, delved into political issues celebrated the ongoing recovery of the industry from COVID-19 impacts and highlighted accomplishments that States wanted to bring to the attention of the world.

Due to the large number of papers to be discussed and the time needed to resolve specific contentious issues, almost all Committees were running behind schedule at the end of the first week. Extra sessions were scheduled during the evenings to make sure that all items will be discussed.

On Saturday the elections for the ICAO Council began. Elections for the 36 Council positions take place in three separate groups with normally 12-14 seats elected in each group. During the Group 1 voting the Russian Federation did not receive the required majority to be elected to a seat in the Council, leaving one seat vacant from Group 1. The vacant seat will be transferred to the elections for Group 3 which will be held Tuesday October 4 to complete the 36 seats of the Council.

The Assembly made good progress on important environmental issues in week one, setting the groundwork for a strong resolution to be approved later this week. The CANSO delegation made several interventions during the week one deliberations to highlight important issues to the ATM industry in technical, economic and legal discussions. This week discussions focus on a range of topics including ways to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of ICAO, progress on advancing new standards on innovations, and advancing gender equity.

In addition to the formal Assembly proceedings, the CANSO Director General, Simon Hocquard, had a number of successful side meetings with interesting discussions on future opportunities for collaboration with ICAO Member states.

The triennial ICAO Assembly continues through 7 October.