Mercy Beatrice Awori—the Representative of Kenya and the Eastern Region, Council of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)—speaks about the global nature of climate change

The historic agreement reached on CORSIA, the global market-based measure to combat aviation carbon emissions, was a collective effort of all stakeholders and regions.

Notable milestones were achieved through bilateral and multilateral talks, and through the spirit of trust and cooperation.

The final agreement on the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) was a delicate compromise under the leadership of ICAO Council President, Dr. Benard Aliu.

ICAO has the responsibility to ensure international aviation emissions are managed uniformly and CORSIA provides the platform

Africa, like all other regions, had a number of reservations. But in the spirit of compromise their focus shifted to the big picture and the greater goal, taking into account the global nature of climate change. 

Africa’s global share of emissions is insignificant. However, its full participation in the scheme is desirable based on its growing population and industries.

Reducing emissions on the scale needed requires focus on all the available basket of mitigation measures, CORSIA being significant.

This, therefore, calls for a collaborative approach in its successful implementation. 

Environmental issues cannot be addressed and mitigated in a stand-alone way, but will have to constitute fundamental matters in global programming. ICAO has the responsibility to ensure international aviation emissions are managed uniformly and CORSIA provides the platform.

The significant work undertaken to establish CORSIA cannot be understated. It provides a harmonized approach to emissions reduction.

There is great commitment to CORSIA based on the number of African countries that have submitted their State Action Plans to ICAO

However, CORSIA’s success is dependent on the basic principles highlighted by Member States during the Global Aviation Dialogues—namely, simplicity, cost effectiveness, and environmental integrity.

The most fundamental aspect of any industry is its costs and revenue structure.

With declining airline yields and a raft of pressing needs and priorities for governments, most African States are not prepared for a scheme that would further increase costs to the industry. 

The next steps of the implementation will determine its progress

Nevertheless, there is great commitment to CORSIA based on the number of countries that have submitted their State Action Plans to ICAO and those that have expressed interest in the technical assistance programs being offered by ICAO and other development partners. 

There is optimism that CORSIA will succeed on the basis of implementation rules which support the creation of right conditions that will allow as many stakeholders as possible to play their role in achieving sustainable development. 

The SARPs (Standards and Recommended Practices), guidance materials, data collection tools, capacity building and technical assistance will be among the critical elements for the scheme’s success.

Consequently, the next steps of the implementation will determine its progress. 

In addition, through the review mechanism the experience gained and lessons learnt from the voluntary phase will also contribute to the progressive improvement of the scheme, which may minimise differences expressed by some Member States. 

Mercy Beatrice Awori is also Chairperson of the Air Transport Committee of the Council of the ICAO, and Coordinator of the African Group and FORUM.

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