By Favour Nnabugwu
President Muhammad’s Buhari is to declare open the first World Aviation forum organized by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), scheduled to hold in Abuja.
The 3-day Forum which is the 3rd edition holds next week is the first to be held outside the Organization’s headquarters in Montreal, Canada, underscores Nigeria’s importance and rising profile in the aviation world.
The Minister of State for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika yesterday, said the country’s hosting of the forum, is a clear indication of the confidence the Buhari Administration has elicited within the sector and an endorsement by the world body of its reform programmes for the nation’s aviation industry.
According to Sirika, The Forum which is intended to explore the benefits of the aviation sector to social, economic development and prosperity of member states, is aimed at top-ranking government officials in charge of aviation, transport and infrastructure finance, economy and tourism; and key industry and financial partners”.
The Minister also said the Forum is also expected to discuss, identify needs, and facilitate the funding and financing required to accelerate the implementation of international civil aviation standards and policies, as well as global plans for aviation, in support of the ICAO No Country Left Behind (NCLB) initiave.
Other objectives of the Forum as highlighted by Sirika include the establishment and alignment of infrastructure programmes and plans that are consistent with the ICAO global strategic plans for aviation like the Global Aviation Safety Plan (GASP) and the Global Air Navigation Plan (GANP), and also to stimulate common and interoperable air transport systems leading to the attainment of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs).
Speaking on the benefits to Nigeria and, by extention, the African continent, Aviation Minister Hadi Sirika noted that it is expected to build on the outcomes of the two previous ICAO World Aviation Forums (IWAF/1 and IWAF/2) held in November 2015 and September 2016 respectively, and, in the spirit of the No Country Left Behind initiative, tackle the existing and future financing challenges facing aviation infrastructure and capacity development in member states, especially in Africa.
Sirika also assured all participants to Forum of the usual hospitality of the government and people of Nigeria, saying the nation appreciates the honour and privilege of being the first country to host the Forum. He also appeals to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) for continuous support for Nigeria’s drive to reposition its aviation sector.
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