ICAO extends emissions reduction capacity-building project with the EU as it receives its 100th State Action Plan
Dr Fang Liu and Violeta Bulc sign Letter of Intent extending capacity-building project
Fri 30 Sept 2016 – Away from the spotlight on the GMBM discussions at its 39th Assembly, ICAO has announced it has received its 100th Action Plan from States that collectively represent 89.9 per cent of international aviation activity. The Action Plan initiative was set up after the adoption of a resolution at the 37th Assembly in 2010 that invited States to voluntarily demonstrate their commitment to the environment and outline strategies to mitigate their international aviation CO2 emissions. The ICAO Secretariat has since embarked on an extensive assistance programme to support States, particularly those from the developing world, with their plans. The effort has been aided by a European Union dedicated capacity-building and assistance project that started in 2013 involving 14 States – 12 in Africa and two in the Caribbean – which have each now submitted quantified Action Plans. On Monday, the European Commission and ICAO signed a Declaration of Intent to continue the cooperation.
As well as growing the number of Action Plans, ICAO is also encouraging States to update their plans every three years. Another key element of the strategy is the formation of joint partnerships to facilitate access to financial resources to help those States most in need to reduce their emissions. It also encourages States that have already submitted plans to build partnerships through a ‘buddy programme’ to help other States that have yet to.
Under the €6.5 million ($7.3m) EU assistance project, tailor-made Aviation Environmental Systems (AES) have been installed in each of the countries, which means they each now have an integrated process that automates all fuel burn and CO2 emissions data related to international aviation from input by airlines, airports and air navigation service providers. The data is then gathered by the civil aviation authorities (CAAs) in each country, which can then be sent to ICAO as monitoring, reporting and verification activity. The project has also included pilot mitigation measures at two airports involving the provision of renewable power from solar energy at aircraft gates.
ICAO has established National Action Plan Teams (NAPTs) to enable each CAA to bring together all the stakeholders involved in international aviation activity to ensure their engagement and commitment towards a common goal of environmental protection. In less than a year, the Secretariat’s project team visited each of the 14 States, encouraging them to work with members of the NAPTs to complete the collection of historical data, prepare the baseline scenarios and facilitate discussions on the potential mitigation measures available for the States to reduce fuel consumption and emissions from international aviation.
The UN agency is now supporting the selected States in the implementation of mitigation measures included in the Action Plans through providing guidance, preparing feasibility studies and facilitating access to financial resources through partnerships with international financial institutions that are interested in supporting this type of sustainable development initiative.
Action Plans have also enabled States to collect data related to domestic aviation emissions, which is outside ICAO’s remit, that can be fed into the UNFCCC’s reporting mechanism. The Plans also provide an important vehicle to identify assistance needs.
“The results achieved so far are a testimony that the project is heading in the right direction,” said Jane Hupe, Deputy Director, Environment, in ICAO’s Air Transport Bureau. “In my experience working on environment and policy development, I have never before seen an initiative with such a multiplier effect. From the success stories, we know this project has enabled a shift in institutional culture regarding the environment in the selected States. An issue that was not seen as a priority in the past has now become increasingly relevant for States, which have taken ownership, greatly increased awareness of environmental issues and are enthusiastic to undertake concrete action. This is what capacity building is all about.”
The Declaration of Intent with the EU is expected to build on the experience gained under the initial project and extend the environmental benefits observed so far under ICAO’s ‘No Country Left Behind’ initiative. To date, reports ICAO, eight States in Africa have expressed capacity-building and assistance needs.
“At this crucial time, the European Union’s commitment to pursue its partnership with ICAO sends a strong signal to our Member States,” said ICAO Secretary General Dr Fang Liu. “It is the acknowledgment that well-structured assistance and capacity-building projects can deliver long-term environmental benefits and that a sense of cooperation is deeply infused in the 39th Session of ICAO Assembly.”
The EU’s Commissioner for Transport, Violeta Bulc, added: “With this declaration of intent, the EU shows its readiness to stand by ICAO Member States and support their capacity-building activities, in a continued spirit of fruitful cooperation and upon the adoption of a landmark global market-based measure for international aviation.”
In March 2015, ICAO signed a second partnership with the United Nations Development Programme, with financing from the Global Environment Facility to undertake a Global Capacity Building project. In response to requests from Small Island Developing States in the Pacific region, Hupe said ICAO is currently exploring further ways to provide them with support to reduce CO2 emissions from international aviation.