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Brussels, 8 October 2010

Progress update – International Civil Aviation Organization 37th session

What is ICAO?

Founded in 1944, ICAO (the International Civil Aviation Organization) is a United Nations specialised agency which acts as the global forum for civil aviation. It aims to promote the safe, secure and sustainable development of civil aviation by getting its members to work together.

What is the Assembly?

The Assembly, composed of representatives from all 190 ICAO Member States, is ICAO's sovereign body. It meets every three years to review the work of the organisation and set policy for the years to come.

EU cooperation with ICAO

Agreement on a new framework for the EU’s relations with ICAO in the form of a “Memorandum of Cooperation” was marked at a special ceremony in the presence of Mr Roberto Kobeh, President of the ICAO Council, Vice-President Kallas, and the Belgian Secretary of State for Mobility, Etienne Schouppe, who was representing the Belgian Presidency.

The memorandum establishes a framework for developing cooperation activities with ICAO in the fields of aviation safety, aviation security, air traffic management and environmental protection.

A global action plan for aviation security

At the ICAO Assembly the EU has been pressing for high security standards but using measures that facilitate the screening of air passengers and reduce the disruption at airports.

A global action plan for aviation security has been agreed, which has taken up Europe’s recommendations in the following areas:

  • the importance of moving to a risk-based approach to ensure the proportionality of security measures at airports;

  • the need to strengthen screening of security staff at airports;

  • a rapid transition from liquid restrictions to using new screening machines.


Safety in aviation is the absolute priority and ICAO, with the strong support of the EU, is striving for ever higher safety standards, better implementation and more transparency of audit results.

Vice-President Kallas signed a four-way agreement between the European Commission, ICAO, the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) on the exchange of safety information. This Memorandum of Understanding on the Global Exchange of Safety Information will strengthen cooperation between these bodies in exchanging important safety information that is gathered through their respective safety programmes.

As for results on aviation safety, ICAO will develop a procedure that will allow more transparency towards the travelling public. As well as ensuring that passengers are aware of the safety situation before they travel, this will help the international community to respond more quickly to any safety problems and prioritise technical assistance to resolve them more effectively. The Assembly has also agreed to a new programme that will encourage states to share more safety information so that the safety performance of states can be monitored on a continuous basis.

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