• Lead-organizer: International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)
  • 17:30 - 19:00
  • Date: 19 Jun 2012
  • Room: T-4

Sustainable aviation for generations to come

Organizing partners

UN bodies and representatives from public and private organizations (ATAG, UNWTO,WMO, ADB,Carbon War Room, etc.. )


This side event, held by ICAO in conjunction with aviation stakeholders, will highlight aviation?s role across the sustainable development agenda, will focus on the sector?s sustainability benefits including economic and social, and will outline how it is meeting its various environmental commitments. A specially commissioned ICAO film focused on air transport and sustainability will be screened and a high-level ICAO representative will give a short presentation, to follow up on the key messages in the film. Thereafter, the side event will run a roundtable discussion where various stakeholders will be asked to outline the main challenges for the sector and potential solutions ahead, with a particular focus on the green economy in the context of sustainable development.

Detailed programme

Civil aviation plays a key role in society as it affects social, cultural, economic, commercial, political and environmental aspects of life, and therefore it has a primary role to play when we look at opportunities and solutions for sustainable development across its social, economic and environmental pillars.

With regards to the social and cultural pillar of sustainable development, globally, aviation offers the safest, most efficient means of public transportation. Since 1970, the real cost of air travel has been reduced by over 60% through deregulation of the aviation market in the 1980`s and the introduction of low cost carriers. This translates into freedom to travel and the exchange of cultural and educational experiences.

With regards to the economic pillar of sustainable development, aviation provides access to regional and global markets and it is a key driver of business, travel and tourism. The air transport industry directly employs around 8 million people and supports 56.6 million jobs worldwide. Over 2.6 billion passengers travel by air each year and more than 35% percent of goods by value are carried on passenger and cargo aircraft. Air transport supports about 3.5% of the world gross domestic product. Aviation`s economic impact raises the standards of living and thus makes communities more sustainable.

Demand for air traffic is projected to grow substantially in the foreseeable future and the consequences of this rate of growth are increasingly called into question. While fulfilling its role as a catalyst for social and economic development, the future of air transport needs to be environmentally sustainable; environmental sustainability is one of ICAO?s key strategic objectives.

This side event will be held by ICAO in conjunction with conference partners and aviation stakeholders. It will showcase the sector?s role, activities and contributions across the three pillars of sustainable development and will focus on concrete initiatives currently underway to minimize aviation`s negative effects on the environment. ICAO will report progress on initiatives underway to develop globally harmonized solutions to address emissions from international aviation including States` Action Plans, sustainable biofuels, market based measures, a CO2 standard and global aspirational goals

This side event will help Parties to the CSD consider why it is important to incorporate in the Rio+20 outcome and discussions the following key elements:

a) The need to strike a balance among the three pillars of sustainability (social, economic and environmental) which will allow international aviation to grow in an environmentally sustainable manner and which will ensure freedom to travel, access to mobility and facilitate the exchange of cultural and educational experiences;
b) the recognition of the positive contribution of alternative aviation fuels to the three pillars of sustainable development and the need to address challenges for ensuring the availability of such fuels for aviation; and
c) the acknowledgement of ICAO`s achievements in the area of international aviation and climate change, and encouragement for its member states to work further through ICAO towards the sustainable development of international aviation.
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