ICAO Aviation and Sustainable Alternative Fuels Workshop

Video Message by Mr. Sha Zukang, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, Secretary-General of the 2012 UN Conference on Sustainable Development

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is my pleasure to address this distinguished group of experts.

You have gathered to discuss a very important topic on the Sustainable Development agenda: Aviation and Sustainable Alternative Fuels.

I would like to thank the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) for the kind invitation to address you.

Transport is a major sector of economic growth.

The development of an effective and efficient transport system is essential to secure sustainable development.

Over the past three decades air travel has grown faster than any other mode of transportation.

In addition to business travel, domestic and international tourism have also grown dramatically. Many trips now involve air travel.

I am sure that achieving a balance between accelerating future growth and limiting environmental impacts is a major priority for the world aviation industry.

I also know you are focused on transforming barriers into opportunities.

This is particularly relevant with respect to the challenge of climate change.

There have already been some impressive achievements in this regard:

  • a 40 per cent reduction in engine fuel consumption;
  • a 70 per cent reduction in aircraft fuel burn per seat; and
  • declining trends in operational fuel consumption rates.

The International Civil Aviation Organization is playing an important role in these efforts. You are actively promoting the reduction of aviation environmental impacts through appropriate operational measures standards and market-based options.

The UN Conference on Sustainable Development, or Rio+20, will be held in June 2012. A green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication is one of the two themes Rio+20 will focus on. Your work will be a significant contribution to the discussions on green economy.

I hope you will report the outcome of this workshop and inform the intergovernmental process of your findings, valuable efforts and forward-looking activities.

Your active participation in Rio+20 would be greatly appreciated.

I wish you all great success in this important workshop.

Thank you very much.