The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) is considered to be an example of a highly successful United Nations agency. President Obama has praised ICAO for forging “a truly 21st Century international security framework that will make air travel safer and more secure than ever before.”
ICAO was created in 1944 by the Chicago Convention in order to promote the safe and orderly development of civil aviation around the world. The organization sets standards and regulations necessary for aviation safety, security, efficiency and regularity, as well as for aviation environmental protection. ICAO also serves as a clearinghouse for cooperation and discussion on civil aviation issues among its 191 member-states. It is managed by a Secretariat which is advised by a Council made up of 36 member-states, which includes the U.S. and other major actors in the area of civil aviation. The organization’s headquarters is located in Montreal, Canada. It has regional and sub-regional offices spread around the world, including in Bangkok, Dakar, Lima, Mexico City, and Paris.
The U.S. Mission to ICAO is focused on improving the safety, security and sustainability of civil aviation. To help do this, the U.S. works with ICAO to set internationally-applicable standards in key civil aviation sectors. ICAO and concerned member-states support efforts to assist developing countries improve their national civil aviation systems and thus meet international standards.
The U.S. Mission to ICAO is headed by an Ambassador who is supplemented by a Deputy Chief of Mission and Air Navigation Commissioner plus expert and support staff. Working closely with the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of International Organization Affairs, Mission coordinates U.S. government efforts at ICAO. Mission works closely with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). U.S. influence at ICAO is comparable to American influence within the international civil aviation arena at large. The U.S. government provides 25% of ICAO’s budget and provides additional funding in such selected areas as international civil aviation security.