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COVID-19: UN Secretary says countries should act urgently to sustain air transport sector

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Bukola Afeni

UN Secretary-General António Guterres, has highlighted the need for countries to act urgently to sustain its air transport sector from the challenges thrown up by the Corona virus pandemic.
He said the importance of aviation sector in lifting the world to recovery from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic cannot but be over emphasized.
Guterres in a message to mark the International Civil Aviation Day on Monday, said international aviation plays a key role in human affairs.
News Agency of Nigeria(NAN) reports that international aviation allows people to discover the world and its cultures, connects societies through travel and trade, and advances access to food, education and healthcare.
“These benefits are critical to every country’s attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
This year, however, the sector has been hit hard by COVID-19, which has disrupted human mobility, transport of vital goods, and operations of airlines and airports globally”.
The UN chief stressed that such actions must keep the climate in mind.
“Recovery from the pandemic is simultaneously an opportunity for climate action, including to make global aviation more resilient and sustainable as a key part of efforts to reach the goals of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change,” he said.
Guterres also welcomed recent announcements by members of the aviation community to net-zero emissions, and called on the entire sector to commit to net zero by 2050, and also to develop a strategy aligned with the Paris Agreement.
He said that cooperation between governments and the industry would be essential to achieve a timely transition.
“Aviation is an important engine of our world, and it will play a critical role in lifting the world to recovery from COVID-19. Let us ensure it receives the support it needs to keep the world’s nations connected and united”.
Salvatore Sciacchitano, President of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Council, said the innovation would play a key role in the aviation sector’s recovery strategies.
“Looking forward to a post-pandemic world, innovation will be at the very heart of the new era in aviation which is now dawning. Advances such as autonomous aircraft, renewable power, artificial intelligence, big data, block chain and many other exciting developments are changing the face of flight as we know it.”
He underlined that success in these efforts, relied on worldwide commitment to the standardisation, harmonisation, and cooperation, which countries and industry achieved together at ICAO.
“These duties and capabilities are more important than ever today, as we confront together the dual challenges of controlling COVID-19, and mitigating the incredibly severe socio-economic effects it has led to by restricting air connectivity for both developed and developing societies.”
International Civil Aviation Day, observed every Dec. 7, was established by the UN General Assembly in 1996, recognising the importance of international civil aviation to sustainable development.

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