Photo: Ms. Lorna Hunkins, Special Advisor in Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Basseterre, St. Kitts, October 5, 2016 (SKNIS): Special Advisor in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in St. Kitts and Nevis, Lorna Hunkins, has underscored the importance of safety and security standards in civil aviation at the 39th Triennial Assembly of the ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization), which is being held in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, from 27th September to 7thOctober, 2016.
Speaking to the Assembly on October 4, Ms. Hunkins said that “St. Kitts and Nevis is a proud member of ICAO. It values the work of the organization. As a State Party to the Convention on International Civil Aviation, we continue to implement and uphold the recommended standards, and principles and procedures, and support the proposals for increased membership on the Council and the Air Navigation Commission,” she told the Assembly, the United Nations Specialized Agency. “Major issues of concern such as safety, navigation services, security, environmental health protection and economic issues are all closely related.”
The Foreign Affairs Special Advisor said that the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis, and in particular Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, and Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Honourable Mark Brantley, “would like to laud the ICAO for its strategic objectives: safety, capacity and efficiency, security and facilitation, economic development and environmental protection as they aim to create a serious sky and to promote collaboration between all stakeholders within the Civil Air Navigation Security.”
“The issues highlight the diverse challenges that are faced by the Civil Aviation sector all around the world and underline the importance of close cooperation among countries. As regulations and standards of Civil Aviation are ever developing, all parties must have access to the latest information to ensure the safe, secure and sustainable code of the Civil Aviation Industry,” she said.
Ms. Hunkins said that the Government and people of St. Kitts and Nevis express solidarity with countries that have suffered terrorists attacks at their ports and emphasized that “achievement of optimum security requires all to be vigilant” and that “failure by any one state to secure its borders or ports can wreak havoc not only nationally, but regionally, and internationally as well.”
She thanked the ICAO for the training that it offers but called on the UN Agency to offer more training especially within CARICOM (Caribbean Community) or the OECS (Organization of Eastern Caribbean States).
Ms. Hunkins also commended the Republic of Korea “for its ongoing efforts to enhance the safety level of all Member States, and for developing and distributing systems” that ensure high standards in Civil Aviation. She also commended Malaysia for offering training to Member States “which is critical for our industry.”
“Currently, our Ministry of Aviation is attempting to formulate a policy to govern the use of unmanned aircraft system and we request any assistance that ICAO or other Member States or organizations can offer in this regard. We would also welcome a regional approach if this is more profound,” said Ms. Hunkins. “The Government of St. Kitts and Nevis also pledges its support for the establishment of a global aviation security plan, which will address the needs of states and regions to assist in guiding all states aviation enhancement efforts and those of other stakeholders to assist in reaching internationally set goals and targets.”
In her closing remarks, Ms. Hunkins applauded the ICAO for “its no country left behind” initiative, but called on the agency to be more inclusive.
“It is imperative that all states involved in Aviation are a part of these efforts,” she said. “We hope to see the ICAO work towards inclusiveness of all stakeholders to achieve safe and orderly development of International Civil Aviation.”
She called on the UN Agency to be inclusive of countries such as the Republic of China (Taiwan).
“We regret the absence of some States, especially the country that controls the busiest East Asian Air Space from this Assembly. We deem it a major loss for the international community,” Ms. Hunkins said.
St. Kitts and Nevis will welcome regional and international counterparts later this year for the ICAO Technical Meeting, Ms. Hunkins said.
The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) is a UN specialized agency, established by States in 1944 to manage the administration and governance of the Convention on International Civil Aviation (Chicago Convention).
ICAO works with the Convention’s 191 Member States and industry groups to reach consensus on international civil aviation Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) and policies in support of a safe, efficient, secure, economically sustainable and environmentally responsible civil aviation sector. These SARPs and policies are used by ICAO Member States to ensure that their local civil aviation operations and regulations conform to global norms, which in turn permits more than 100,000 daily flights in aviation’s global network to operate safely and reliably in every region of the world.
In addition to its core work resolving consensus-driven international SARPs and policies among its Member States and industry, and among many other priorities and programmes, ICAO also coordinates assistance and capacity building for States in support of numerous aviation development objectives; produces global plans to coordinate multilateral strategic progress for safety and air navigation; monitors and reports on numerous air transport sector performance metrics; and audits States’ civil aviation oversight capabilities in the areas of safety and security.