The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) last week launched its prototype conflict zone risk information website it calls a repository.
This initiative was started by this United Nations (UN) aviation agency, in response to member state recommendations from ICAO’s High-level Safety Conference, held in Montreal (Canada) on 6 February. The call for the respository came after the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 was apparently shot down over Ukraine on 17 July 2014, killing all 298 onboard.
The repository is accessible via ICAO’s website for representatives from states, airlines and members of the public. After submissions are added, up-to-date information on potential risks to civil aviation arising from armed conflict are provided. The first entry on Iraq has already been submitted by the UK. ICAO’s Council president, Dr Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu, explains: “This centralised repository is meant to enhance the existing global framework whereby each state is responsible for assessing risks to civil aviation in their airspace, and for making that information promptly available to other states and airlines.” Only authorised state officials have the right to submit risk information under procedures agreed to by the 36-state ICAO Council. In all cases, the identity of the state submitting information to the repository must be clearly indicated, and states being referenced in a risk submission will have the opportunity to review and approve the related information prior to public posting.
Aliu adds: “While it [the repository] does not alter these essential state responsibilities, it very much does respond to the strong international consensus we have seen around the proposal that the safety of our worldwide network would benefit from greater information sharing on conflict zone risks.”
The repository was one of the proposals included in the risk mitigation strategy proposed by ICAO’s conflict zone task force during 2014.