During a closed briefing to the Counter-Terrorism Committee of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) yesterday, Juan Carlos Salazar, the Secretary General of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), highlighted the significant advancements made in addressing terrorist threats to international civil aviation.

Salazar stressed the enhanced coordination established between ICAO, the UN Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED), and the UN Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT), and the continued significance of their collective endeavors.

“Terrorism is still one of the most serious threats to international peace and security, civil aviation is still seen as an attractive target, and the COVID-19 pandemic has clearly highlighted both the critical importance and persisting vulnerabilities of the global aviation system,” he underscored in his introduction.

ICAO’s Aviation Security Global Risk Context Statement identifies high-priority aviation security risks. The latest update acknowledges the recurring danger of improvised explosive devices, growing concerns over insider threats, the misuse of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), risks posed to civilian aircraft in or near conflict zones, and system vulnerabilities to cyber-attacks.

Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) are becoming more sophisticated and readily available, and terrorist organizations and organized crime are increasingly showing interest in using this method of attack in civilian settings.

The ICAO Secretary General confirmed that significant progress has been made regarding the implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2309 (2016). This includes two modifications to Annex 17 of the Chicago Convention that aim to enhance the worldwide detection of explosives during airport screening, better handle insider threats, and foster a strong global aviation security culture, among other goals.

Mr. Salazar emphasized that ICAO has been actively addressing these priorities through various efforts, such as establishing dedicated Cyber-Security and Aviation Trust Framework panels and implementing a comprehensive Year of Security Culture program.

In addition, ICAO plays a crucial role in the Counter Terrorism Committee Country assessments conducted by CTED and contributes to the creation of global reference documents on biometrics, critical infrastructure protection, and preventing terrorists from obtaining weapons.

Mr. Salazar highlighted the progress made through the Global Counter Terrorism Coordination Compact, spearheaded by UNOCT, and pointed out the UN Countering Terrorist Travel Programme and the recently implemented Threat Assessment Models program.

The Secretary General expressed his “deep appreciation to the Counter Terrorism Committee for its continuing interest and support toward the protection of civil aviation against terrorism,” appreciating the trust now being placed in ICAO’s expertise in support of the CTC’s global efforts.

Ms. Natalia Gherman, the Assistant Secretary General and Executive Director of CTED, commented that “CTED remains committed to working closely with ICAO and UNOCT on our ongoing work and developments related to the full breadth of civil aviation.”

Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism, Vladimir Voronkov, reiterated UNOCT’s dedication to reinforcing global cooperation to deter and prevent terrorist threats to civil aviation, in collaboration with partners from the Global Counter-Terrorism Compact, including ICAO. Voronkov also highlighted the accomplishments of joint initiatives such as the Programme on Threat Assessment Models for Aviation Security and the United Nations Countering Terrorist Travel Programme. (Press Release)

Post Image- ICAO Secretary-General Juan Carlos Salazar (Image Credit: ICAO)

Sign up for a free C-UAS Hub Membership to bookmark your favorite content and receive the weekly newsletter and important industry updates!