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SA to chair UN’s Civil Aviation Security Panel

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The South African Civil Aviation Authority has been appointed as the Chairperson of the International Civil Aviation Organisation’s Aviation Security Panel, it was announced at the recent ICAO Aviation Security Panel meeting held at the agency’s headquarters in Montreal, Canada.

Prior to the appointment, South Africa served as the Panel’s Deputy Chairperson for two consecutive terms.

South African will be represented by the Director of the South African Civil Aviation Authority, Poppy Khoza, making her the first woman to take up the position.

Commenting on her prestigious appointment, Khoza said, that “the appointment is a demonstration of trust and faith by the global aviation community in South Africa’s capabilities on aviation matters and specifically aviation security”.

“It is certainly an enormous challenge; but a challenge that is surmountable. This move bodes well for the advancement of the transformation agenda which must continue as women play a meaningful role in all sectors previously dominated by men,” Khoza said.

Khoza plans to use the tenure to actively advocate for the continued elevation of the aviation security agenda, particularly among states across the continent.

“Recent tragic events call for greater co-operation amongst all aviation role players,” said Khoza. “The global community needs to share pointers on successes and challenges faced in aviation security. The need for appropriate aviation security risk management remains an issue for every country. Moreover, the challenge is for various States to implement measures against the specific threats which they face, while finding a balance that would not stifle aviation activities.”

Khoza is also keen on advocating for transformation of the aviation industry which is predominately male dominated. “It will be fulfilling to witness an increase in the number of capable women taking up senior positions in the aviation industry. The same applies to those that are from so called developing countries,” she said.

The appointment comes just months after the United States and the European Union gave their thumbs up to South Africa’s aviation regulatory system on aviation and air cargo security.

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) is a specialised agency of the United Nations tasked with working with Member States and global aviation organisations to develop Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) which States must effect when developing their legally-enforceable national civil aviation regulations.

In addition, ICAO regularly conducts audits among Member States in order to help identify aviation security shortcomings, and subsequently discusses methods to assist States in resolving deficiencies by implementing globally accepted security Standards and Recommended Practices.

ICAO’s Aviation Security Panel is tasked with enhancing civil aviation security across the world by, among others, developing and coordinating an effective global policy and legal framework in response to the evolving threat to civil aviation.

ICAO’s Aviation Security Panel sets global aviation security standards, which are then approved by the ICAO Council, in order to safeguard civil aviation operations against issues related to terrorism and any matter threatening aviation operations.

As the Panel conducts its business it gives consideration to economic, operational and other impacts in civil aviation and provides advice on strategic direction on aviation security matters.

Through close collaboration with other agencies, the Panel also coordinates counter measures against threats to civil aviation operations. During meetings, for example, the Panel also discusses civil aviation incidents as and when they happen, for instance the 9/11, and the French Alps tragedies.

Khoza acknowledged ICAO’s role in terms of passing various SARPs over the last four decades and ensuring global collaboration on aviation security measures, saying that “ICAO has made great strides in guiding the global community on aviation security matters”.

She says that the Panel now “needs to continue with the great work that ICAO has been doing; putting particular emphasis on constant re-evaluation of systems and processes employed.

“This puts the onus on authorities to constantly improve aviation security risk management systems in order to remain a yard ahead.” News24

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