Jamaica today (October 4) successfully secured a seat on Part III of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Council, following elections at the 41st Assembly in Montreal, Canada.
The country will serve a three-year term.
Although a member state since 1963, Jamaica last served on the Council over the period 1977 to 1986.
Jamaica’s election to Part III of the Council, which contains “States ensuring geographic representation”, is strategically important for the country, the region, other small island developing states, as well as least developed states, across the globe. The election is important, given the Council’s preeminent role in providing direction to the work of ICAO, as the international aviation oversight body, while assuming responsibility for standards adoption and other ICAO governance responsibilities.
Audley Shaw, minister of transport and mining, who led the Delegation for the first time, expressed high praises to the team in Canada, the Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority (JCAA), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Transport and Mining for this milestone achievement.
Shaw has expressed optimism regarding the development.
Referring to it as “a pivotal one for the nation and region”, the transport minister indicated that “Jamaica’s election to the Council will ensure a platform for more uniform and inclusive participation in aviation deliberations and development, across all regions. This will be achieved through greater and more strategic representation of our special needs and circumstances, as well as the infusion of unique, dynamic, and novel perspectives that can regenerate, further stabilise, and assist the growth of the aviation sector”.
In his address to a reception hosted by Jamaica on Monday evening (October 3), Shaw indicated that Jamaica sees its role as increasingly important, as the country positions itself to support the needed acceleration of the aviation industry’s and world’s key development and sustainability priorities.
“Jamaica’s representation will seek to ensure better data-sharing, enhanced and more collaborative approaches to aviation safety, more technical resource sharing, greater collaboration for air navigation efficiency and growth, while simultaneously and systematically deploying and entrenching climate change initiative,” said Shaw.
The minister noted that, as nations and industry players everywhere confront grave economic, sustainability, ecological, public health and other challenges, ICAO will, with Jamaica and our region’s support, marshal the strengths of inclusiveness.
He said: “The approach will be critical, as we enhance and maintain air transport’s position as the safest international transport mode, while ensuring other industry priorities.”
Among the other industry priorities listed by Shaw were “industry development, the harmonisation, modernisation and enhanced efficiency of the regional and global air navigation and air transport infrastructure, and the reduction of the industry’s carbon footprint, as we support a sustainable and resilient future”.
Given aviation’s importance to trade, tourism, cultural exchange, connectivity and a wide variety of high-tech and high-value industries, the election is also considered important for counterpart industries, which depend on aviation for sustenance and growth.
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Kamina Johnson Smith and Sharon Miller, Jamaican high commissioner to Canada, who were instrumental to the efforts, were equally elated at Jamaica’s election to Part III of the Council.
Johnson Smith described the election as a “monumental achievement for Jamaica and the region, as we ensure and support diplomacy, multilateralism and a truly global advancement of the aviation sector”.
Miller, who also endorsed Jamaica’s commitment, stated that “Jamaica will work within the ICAO Council to faithfully represent our geographic region, the concerns of small island developing states, and the mandate of ICAO”.
Jamaica’s candidature was also supported by a delegation which included Director General of the Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority, Nari Williams-Singh.
Williams-Singh emphasised that the election “demonstrated Jamaica’s significant and continued contribution to the field of civil aviation, as well as our commitment to supporting the promotion of international standards that ensure uncompromised safety, efficiency, security and environmental sustainability within the region and beyond”.
DELEGATION INCLUDED DR JANINE DAWKINS
Jamaica’s delegation to the 41st Assembly also included Dr Janine Dawkins, chief technical director at the Ministry of Transport & Mining, and other personnel from the Ministry of Transport & Mining and the JCAA.
Jamaica has been an ICAO member state since 1963 and represented the English-speaking Caribbean on the Council over the period 1977 to 1986.
The country’s participation in the 41st ICAO Assembly is also presenting opportunities for Jamaica to host and engage in high-level meetings that have included the ICAO Secretary General and counterpart aviation delegations.
Jamaica was, yesterday, able to sign an Air Service Agreement with Chile, as the country continues to establish bi- and multilateral agreements and environments that increase connectivity and investment for our region and world.