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ICAO SG calls for investments in air transport

To enhance connectivity between Belt and Road countries

ICAO Secretary General Fang Liu attended the 2nd Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing last week, providing remarks to the main Infrastructure Connectivity session which highlighted the critical role of air transport in forging new travel and trade routes between Belt and Road countries and other states leading to new venues for prosperity.

Stressing how liberalized air transport and increased air traffic routes are currently helping many developing States move closer to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted under the UN’s Agenda 2030, Liu highlighted to the large number of Ministers of Transport and Infrastructure and heads of international organizations present that “a very direct relationship exists between States’ investments in aviation development and their eventual realization of increased economic growth".

She went on to emphasize how air transport growth holds further economic potential, but that to benefit from it countries need both the capacity in place to accommodate higher numbers of flights, in addition to the skilled personnel needed to manage them.

The Secretary General informed her audience that ICAO was one of the many UN agencies that developed agreements with China to leverage the synergies between UN SDGs and the Belt and Road Initiative, pursuant to the first belt and Road Forum in 2017. She highlighted the training and assistance programmes which the UN aviation agency has already begun undertaking with support from China’s South-South Cooperation Assistance Fund to build these needed capacities in developing Belt and Road States and countries in other regions.

She concluded by stressing the important role that new technologies and other innovations will play in accelerating these development trends, noting that similar dynamics were already well underway in the aviation domain.

During the Forum, Liu held productive side discussions with senior government and air transport officials from China, including its Transport Minister Li Xiaopeng and the Administrator of its Civil Aviation Authority, Feng Zhenglin. She also had interactions with several Belt and Road State Transport Ministers and the heads of various UN bodies, accompanied throughout by ICAO’s Regional Director for the Asia and Pacific, Arun Mishra.

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