P.A.S.O. Council directors in meeting

By Adel Fruean 03 December 2021, 7:30PM

Stronger dialogue and closer working relationships with the Pacific Aviation Safety Office and International Civil Aviation Organization support to boost aviation safety and security was emphasised during a recent P.A.S.O. Council of Directors meeting.

The council meeting was held earlier this week on Wednesday which was attended virtually by representatives from nine signatories of the Pacific Islands Civil Aviation Safety and Security Treaty and three Associate Members together with the I.C.A.O. and the World Bank.

Samoa is one of the P.A.S.O. council representative and includes Australia, Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, New Zealand, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu. 

In a milestone for the P.A.S.O. the I.C.A.O. Secretary General, Juan Carlos Salazar and the I.C.A.O. Asia Pacific Regional Director, Tao Ma, addressed the P.A.S.O. council meeting virtually.

Mr Salazar acknowledged the unique challenges and circumstances facing P.A.S.O. Member States' compliance with the I.C.A.O. aviation safety, security and sustainability requirements on top of the I.C.A.O. key initiatives to support them and P.A.S.O.

“I.C.A.O. is very much aware of what the pandemic’s disruption to air connectivity has meant for Pacific States, and to your many citizens and communities who depend so strongly on air travel and tourism for their basic livelihoods," said the I.C.A.O. Secretary-General.

He also pledged that I.C.A.O. will assure more responsive and effective teamwork with the P.A.S.O. Member States, industry and international partnering organisations going forward.

“And will lead the global air transport community in reuniting people, societies, and economies again."

Mr Salazar said expressed appreciation to the Government of Vanuatu for generously hosting and resourcing the P.A.S.O. Port Vila headquarters since inception in 2007, and acknowledged the Governments of Australia and New Zealand for directly supporting P.A.S.O. financially to enable technical assistance for Pacific States.

The P.A.S.O. Council Chairperson, Magele Hoe J. Viali welcomed and thanked the Secretary General for I.C.A.O. continued support and collaboration with the Pacific and recognised the significance of this dialogue as a way to strengthen relations and establish stronger bonds between the I.C.A.O. and the Pacific.

 Magele said the Pacific region strives to deliver the best outcomes for our people.

“The aviation sector is one area where the economic and social benefits and contributions are not as advanced and developed as we would like, yet all of us in the Pacific have an essential reliance on a strong aviation industry and connectivity to prosper,” he said.

“We welcome the support of I.C.A.O. to explore opportunities to engage and collaborate, whilst understanding the challenges we face and supporting each other to ensure ‘no country is left behind’.

“With the ‘Port Moresby Declaration on Aviation Safety and Security for the Pacific Islands’, we are entrusted by our Ministers to deliver on our international obligations and achieve aviation safety and security for the region in line with international best practice.”

Mr. Ma, reported to the P.A.S.O. council an overview of the I.C.A.O. plans and practical actions to support closer cooperation and the provision of targeted assistance within the region, including supporting the enhancement of P.A.S.O. Regional Aviation Safety Oversight Organization status.

The I.C.A.O. Asia Pacific Regional Director, Tao Ma said that assisting Pacific States to enhance their aviation safety, security and capacity building is a priority for the I.C.A.O. Asia Pacific Office over the next year as well as for years to come.

The P.A.S.O. council recognised the ongoing strong organisational performance and effective service delivery of the P.A.S.O. to Member States despite the operational challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Renewed P.A.S.O. corporate structuring and operational arrangements, recognition of critical development partner support, and the ongoing preparations for the next Regional Aviation Ministers Meeting (RAMM2) in June 2022 were considered and supported by the PASO Council.

P.A.S.O. General Manager, Andrew Valentine, encouraged all Members to keep supporting each other and P.A.S.O. to collectively navigate the COVID-19 pandemic together and enable the effective restart of Pacific aviation.

“P.A.S.O. will continue to maintain our organisational effectiveness to support our Members with quality aviation safety and security Member services into 2022, including the development of a new surveillance framework for Members States,” said Mr Valentine. 

A six-month schedule of P.A.S.O. Council Meetings was adopted with Council to meet next in May for their Annual General Meeting.

By Adel Fruean 03 December 2021, 7:30PM
Samoa Observer

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