Small Island Developing States: Aviation essential to achieving UN Global Goals

ICAO contributed to the review of Small Island Developing States’ progress towards the achievement of the United Nations Agenda 2030 Sustainable Development Goals at meetings in New York recently.

It was essential that aviation’s voice is heard in discussions on this subject, as it has directly contributed to the creation of 1.7 million jobs and to around $37 billion dollars to global gross domestic product (GDP) in Small Island Developing States. Moreover, over half of the 1.1 billion tourists who travel across international borders each year do so by plane – a figure which raises to over 80 per cent in various island states.

Furthermore, when facing massive disruptions, including during natural disasters, aviation has served as the most efficient means to bring humanitarian aid. As an example, 1000 tons of relief were delivered by air days after Typhoon Haiyan heavily affected the Philippines which is comprised of over 7,000 islands.

It is also important to note that aviation is an industry that is very much aware of the need to protect the global environment and ecosystems while addressing climate change.

It is also important to note that aviation is an industry that is very much aware of the need to protect the global environment and ecosystems while addressing climate change.

Despite this, Small Island Developing States still lack adequate air transportation, blocking the socio-economic benefits that aviation generates and therefore hindering the eradication of poverty.

ICAO therefore stressed the significant importance of the development by all States of quality reliable, sustainable and resilient aviation infrastructure (compliant with ICAO’s international requirements) and promotion of the liberalization of air transport. We also underscored that aviation enhancements should be embedded in global, regional and national development frameworks, including national development plans. Governments, financial institutions, donors and the industry must commit adequate funding for aviation development.

Assisting States to effectively implement international standards and policies in safety, security, orderly and sustainable operation of air transport and to close the infrastructure gap that exist among States is in fact paramount to ICAO. We are committed to ensuring that No Country is Left Behind in the achievement of optimal air transport and ultimately the realization of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Air transport is an essential catalyst for sustainable development. The role aviation plays in connecting Small Island Developing States with the rest of the world represents nothing less than a lifeline for them.

As a means to foster the establishment of aviation partnerships for sustainable development, ICAO will host the second ICAO World Aviation Forum on 26 September 2016, one day preceding the 39th Session of the ICAO Assembly, in Montréal, Canada. This event will serve as a platform to establish Aviation Partnerships for Sustainable Development, including one for Small Island Developing States. The aim of this partnership will be to bring together aviation and development partners to identify synergies, challenges and opportunities to support these States in enhancing their air transport systems with a view to contributing, consequently, to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

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