ICAO Netherlands mission places clear focus on aviation development and the Next Generation of Aviation Professionals
ICAO Secretary General Dr. Fang Liu conducted a mission to the Netherlands this week, where she enjoyed friendly and fruitful discussions with His Majesty King Willem-Alexander, and later helped to inspire students in aviation law during a special lecture and Q&A at Leiden University.
In her meeting with His Majesty King Willem-Alexander, Dr. Liu discussed the importance of civil aviation to the global economy and the role that the Netherlands plays in promoting the sector. With respect to aviation development concerns, and the need for greater investments in infrastructure and human capital to optimize future capacity, Dr. Liu expressed ICAO’s hope that a larger portion of the funds made available by the Netherlands, in the form of Official Development Assistance (ODA), could be directed in the future to more aviation-related projects, including ICAO’s No Country Left Behind initiative. She also emphasized the need to promote aviation as an attractive sector to entice the next generation of young professionals from the Netherlands and other countries.
Similar messages were conveyed during her meeting with Ms. Sharon Dijksma, State Secretary for Infrastructure and the Environment and the Acting Director General of Civil Aviation of the Netherlands. During these discussions, Dr. Liu further elaborated on new aviation security developments, ICAO’s upcoming NGAP Summit and World Aviation Forum, and emerging issues such as unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). Of particular interest was the CORSIA emissions offsetting agreement implementation, and the commitment expressed by the Netherlands to support the ICAO related activities in the European Transport Council. Further dicussions touched upon the lessons learned after the MH17 event, and the need for an improved system to exchange information on conflict zones.
Another important stop on Dr. Liu’s mission concerned her visit to Leiden Univeristy, her alma mater. At Leiden, she had the pleasure of meeting with Prof. dr. C.J.J.M. Stolker, Rector Magnificus & Chairman of the Executive Board of Leiden University, Prof. dr. Joanna P. van der Leun, Dean of the Law Faculty, Prof. dr. Laurens Jan Brinkhorst, Chairman of the International Advisory Board of the International Institute of Air and Space Law (IIASL) (and former vice Prime Minister of the Netherlands), and Prof. dr. Pablo M.J. Mendes de Leon, Head of Department/Executive Chair of the Department of Air and Space Law.
A tireless advocate on the need to effectively prepare new generations for aviation’s challenging and rewarding careers, the Secretary General provided a welcome and motivational speech to the new Advanced Leiden Law Master (LLM) students of Air and Space Law, underlining the importance of civil aviation as a driver for the growth of local, regional and the global economy, its achievements as one of the most standardized of human activities, and the message of peace and prosperity ICAO and its Convention have conveyed since 1944.
Dr. Liu also remarked upon the continuous growth of civil aviation activities, and the need to properly address them through the ICAO Next Generation of Aviation Professionals (NGAP) programme, among others. Dr. Liu encouraged Dutch students and young aviation professionals from the Netherlands to join ICAO this November for its inaugural NGAP Global Summit, an event which will also include a student-focused Model ICAO Forum.
“The answer to many of aviation’s human resources challenges lies with helping young people such as yourselves appreciate the merits of civil aviation as an attractive career option,” Dr. Liu noted. “We must ensure that barriers to entry for new aviation professionals are minimized and that sufficient training is available. ICAO is addressing these challenges today through our NGAP and Young Aviation Professionals Programmes, in conjunction with our Global Aviation Training Office.”
The Lieden community was grateful for Dr. Liu’s remarks, which were followed by a lively Q&A session with the many professors and students present. They also expressed their appreciation of the importance of increasing engagement between academia and the air transport sector, in order to optimize future programmes and opportunities.