President Muhammadu Buhari is expected to attend the opening ceremony of the World Aviation Forum, and flag off the event.
This was contained in a statement issued Wednesday by the Deputy Director of Press and Public Affairs, Federal Ministry of Aviation, Mr James Odaudu.
According to the statement, the President’s presence was to emphasise the importance attached to the consideration of Nigeria’s emergence as the first country to host the annual event organised by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
The three-day event, which holds from November 20 – 22 in Abuja, will be the first to be held outside the ICAO Headquarters in Montreal, Canada. It also underscores Nigeria’s rising profile within the aviation world.
Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, said Nigeria’s hosting of the ICAO World Aviation Forum, coming so soon after the country hosted the ICAO Symposium on Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS), 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.
“The third ICAO World Aviation 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 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) initiative,” the statement read in part.
The objectives of the forum 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).
The meeting will also discuss the stimulation of common and interoperable air transport systems leading to the attainment of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs).
On the benefits of the forum, Mr Sirika said 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.
He added that it will also tackle the existing and future financing challenges facing aviation infrastructure and capacity development in member states, especially in Africa, in the spirit of the ‘No Country Left Behind’ initiative.
The minister said Nigeria appreciates the honour and privilege of being the first country to host the Forum and appealed to ICAO for continuous support for the country’s drive to reposition its aviation sector.