Directors General convene to review 2023 activities and look ahead to the challenges of the coming year

Paris, 7 December 2023 — The 161st meeting of ECAC Directors General of Civil Aviation (DGCA/161) was focused on taking stock of the year’s work and preparing for the challenges of the coming year. An expanded set of annual reports was presented to Directors General, including for the first time information papers on work in the cross-cutting domains of unmanned aircraft systems, diversity and inclusion, and communications, setting out the work done and to come.

The morning session included an open discussion on the subject of climate change adaptation. This discussion, noting the wide-ranging scope of the topic, took in the assessment of risks and the mitigation efforts already being carried out by ECAC Member States in relation to the possible economic, safety and other impacts of climate change, as well as the activities already begun by EUROCONTROL and EASA. Directors General agreed to gather more information to decide on next steps on this developing topic.

As well as the usual updates on EU, ICAO and other matters, Directors General considered the outcomes of the Third ICAO Conference on Aviation Alternative Fuels (CAAF/3, Dubai, 20-24 November 2023). They noted that the headline outcome of a quantified reduction of 5% of CO2 emissions by 2030 could be regarded as a success, even though Europe’s ambitions had been higher, and that the focus was now on delivery and implementation to make the target realisable.

Also on ICAO high-level events, planning began for the pursuit of European priorities at the 14th ICAO Air Navigation Conference (AN-Conf/14, 26 August – 6 September 2024); and in preparation for the ICAO Council elections at the 42nd ICAO Assembly in 2025. Directors General agreed to renew their efforts towards ratification of the Protocols to expand the ICAO Council and Air Navigation Commission.

Directors General heard and gave guidance on progress of work on matters including development of the Convention on the Secretariat of ECAC and the Diplomatic Conference needed to create this legal instrument, on the evolution of ECAC’s work on aviation security technology and equipment, and on various other organisational issues.

Colleagues from Ukraine also presented an update on the civil aviation situation following the invasion by the Russian Federation, and Directors General decided to renew the financial and practical assistance offered to Ukraine by ECAC in 2024.

Finally, draft proposals for the 2025-2027 ECAC work programme and budget were presented, with a view to their being finalised in time for agreement in April (DGCA/162, 25 April 2024) before formal adoption at the next Triennial Session (Strasbourg, 9-10 July 2024).