France at ICAO
As a major aeronautical country and a founding member of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), France has been a member of the Council of the Organization since its creation with the status of “State of major importance in air transport”. As such, it plays a key role in the Organization’s activities and in the implementation of its strategic objectives, which affects many areas of international civil aviation that are of strategic importance to our country.
As early as 1947, France was recognized by its peers as a prominent actor in civil aviation through the election of Albert Roper as the first Secretary-General of the Organization, who was later reappointed for a second term in office (1944-1951). He had already been the sole Secretary-General of the International Commission on Air Navigation (CINA) established in 1922 in Paris, which was the predecessor of ICAO before World War II. Subsequently, Yves Lambert from 1976 to 1988, and more recently, Raymond Benjamin, from 2009 to 2015, also served as Secretary-General of ICAO. Thus, since 1947, 3 French have been Secretary General of ICAO for a cumulative duration of 25 years.
In the same way, several French commissioners have chaired the Air Navigation Commission (ANC), which does not represent the interests of States but independent technical expertise. Most recently :
- Mr Farid Zizi elected three times between 2014 and 2016
- Mr Daniel Galibert elected twice in 2003 and 2004.
As a partner of ICAO’s "No Country Left Behind" campaign, France is involved in numerous bilateral assistance programs with several ICAO member States, particularly through its 50 cooperation agreements and its funded programs in cooperation with ICAO. Those actions are often implemented through the French National School of Civil Aviation (ENAC, Ecole Nationale de l’Aviation Civile), one of the Regional Training Centre of Excellence for ICAO’s TRAINAIR + program, which welcomes 3000 students, 45% of whom are foreigners.
Due to their experience and know-how, French technical experts currently sit on all ICAO technical panels and many of its working groups, thus contributing to the implementation of the five strategic objectives of the Organization. France also contributes to ICAO’s activities through the gracious secondment of national technical experts to the Organization, which is the 3rd most important State expert contribution. In 2018, this in-kind assistance was valued at CAD 1.3 million.
On a voluntary basis, France contributes to several ICAO assistance programs in support to its Strategic Objectives :
- The flight procedures programs (FPP) set up by ICAO in order to achieve the objectives of performance-based navigation (PBN), enshrined in resolution 37-11 of the 37th Assembly in 2010, are considered by France as a key element to the safe deployment of air navigation services. France, with its strong experience in the domain, provides technical and financial support to the FPP in Africa and Asia-Pacific. Between 2014 and 2017, as part of an agreement signed with ICAO and ASECNA (Agency for safety of air navigation in Africa and Madagascar) on November 20th 2012, France contributed to the program for a total amount of USD 500,000. Since 2018, France continues to support these programs through a technical arrangement with ICAO.
- On May 26th 2016, the French Directorate General for Civil Aviation (DGAC) signed a training cooperation agreement with ICAO, as part of “No country left behind” initiative. The DGAC decided to offer training programs to civil aviation directorates that would be interested. The DGAC planned to spend USD 1.1 million over the next 3 years to offer internships at the National School of Civil Aviation (ENAC), recognized by ICAO through the Trainair Plus program.
- France is taking part to Assistance, Capacity-building and Training programme on CORSIA (ACT – CORSIA), This initiative was launched by ICAO in 2018 to prepare States that need assistance for the launch of CORSIA. Together with Canada and Spain, France organized training sessions for 24 States of francophone Africa and from the Arab world.
France maintains a Permanent Representation to the Council of ICAO, located within the Organization’s headquarters in Montreal, Canada. This diplomatic mission is in daily contact with the ICAO Secretariat and represents France at the Council on all the subjects tackled by the Organization. Those subjects cover issues such as the monitoring of strategic objectives and the management of ICAO’s actions. The Permanent Representation is responsible for supporting French technical experts who regularly come to participate in the many working groups the Organization hosts, which tackle a wide range of subjects regarding international civil aviation.
The staff of the mission reports to the Ambassador, Permanent Representative of France to the Council. He is helped by two deputies coming from the French Civil Aviation Authority (DGAC) :
- The first deputy is also a member of ANC and is responsible for all the issues tackled by this technical body ;
- The second deputy, who is also an alternate representative to the Council, monitors the organization’s more general affairs (legal, economic, political, financial, aviation security related, environment related, etc.) and the administration of the mission.
The Permanent Representation ensures the follow-up of the subjects discussed at ICAO and coordinates the actions with the French administrations concerned, especially the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the DGAC, linked to the Ministry of Transport. The Representation is also responsible for monitoring and promoting the French presence within the Organization, in partnership with the Delegation for International Civil Servants (DFI) of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
While France has a great technical expertise to define its positions at ICAO, coordination with our European partners is necessary, permanent and essential. This coordination takes place in several forms : within the European Civil Aviation Conference (ECAC), in the institutions of the European Union (whose transport is a shared competence) and, on a daily basis, within the European Council which brings together the European delegations active in Montreal.