Caption: Participants at the forum.
Regional aviation security regulators gathered in Suva August 14–15 for the Fourth Pacific Directors of Civil Aviation meeting and agreed to further fortify regional partnerships to enhance aviation security across the region.
The meeting, which was held at the Suva office of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), was attended by representatives from 15 Pacific Island countries and territories (PICTs). Representatives from the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and aviation security agencies in Australia, New Zealand and the United States also attended the meeting, providing the opportunity for PICTs to discuss broader international aviation security developments and activities.
The meeting highlighted key challenges facing the region, including the implementation of the findings of regular audits of national aviation security programmes. Delegates highlighted the need to have appropriate legislation and regulations in place to support the implementation of effective national aviation security regimes. Delegates also acknowledged the continued need for refinement of aviation security programmes, including ongoing training and capacity building activities.
Delegates noted the importance of promoting a risk-based approach to the development of aviation security policies and procedures. To complement this activity, the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, in collaboration with SPC and key regional stakeholders, will commence work on developing a Pacific Aviation Security Risk Context Statement. The Risk Context Statement will support PICTs through an enhanced understanding of specific regional threats, risks and vulnerabilities.
Another key point of discussion at the meeting was the need to develop and enhance security awareness programmes in each country. Such security awareness programmes involve strengthening relationships with the airport community (including airport users and visitors, not just passengers and staff) with the aim of promoting: identification and reporting of potentially suspicious activity, sharing of relevant information, the use of media to increase understanding of aviation security requirements and the development of an effective response mechanism for dealing with the reported events.
The meeting noted that Amendment 13 to Annex 17 to the International Standards and Recommended Practices, Security (Annex 17 to the Convention on International Civil Aviation) became applicable on 15 July 2013. This amendment includes changes and additions to the standards and recommended practices in order to strengthen security measures relating to cargo and access to security restricted areas.ICAO member states, which include most PICTs are now required to comply with this amendment. ICAO has developed guidance material to assist states with implementation.
Pacific delegates at the meeting were made aware of ICAO’s plans to introduce another amendment – Amendment 14 – to Annex 17. ICAO encouraged PICTs to provide feedback on the proposed amendment.
The outcomes of this meeting will be tabled at the next Asia Pacific Regional Aviation Security Coordination Forum in Hong Kong next year.
Close to 40 participants attended the two-day forum organised by SPC in collaboration with the Australian Department of Infrastructure and Transport’s Office of Transport Security.