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Resolution of the General Assembly of ICAO about Family assistance plan

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The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) is a UN specialized agency, created in 1944 upon the signing of the Convention on International Civil Aviation (Chicago Convention).

ICAO works with the Convention’s 191 Signatory States and global industry and aviation organizations to develop international Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) which are then used by States when they develop their legally-binding national civil aviation regulations.

There are currently over 10,000 SARPs reflected in the 19 Annexes to the Chicago Convention which ICAO oversees.

The ICAO Assembly is the Organization’s sovereign body. It meets at least once every three years and is convened by ICAO’s governing body, the Council. ICAO’s 191 Member States and a large number of international organizations are invited to the Assembly, which establishes the worldwide policy of the Organization for the upcoming triennium.

Among the organizations present that day, there was a victims’ association delegation led by our friend, Hans Ephraimson, chairman of the Air Crash Families Group. The two vice-presidents from SOS Catastrophes, Pilar Vera et Paolo Pettinaroli, were present for this important meeting that marked the end of few months’ work within a group presided by Victor Aguado, Spain representative at the ICAO Board.

The 38th Session of the ICAO was held in the ICAO’s headquarters in Montreal, Canada, from the 24th of September, 2013 to the 4th of October, 2013.

Between others, one key Resolutions (A38-1) for victims and their families, was adopted at the Session:

« The Assembly confirmed that, even though international air transport is the safest mean of transportation, the total elimination of accidents cannot be guaranteed. It pointed out the necessity for the ICAO and its Member states to timely notify family members of victims involved in civil aviation accidents, to ensure the prompt recovery and prompt identification of victims, and to disseminate every accurate information to family members.

The Assembly also recognized that it is essential that support be provided to family members of victims of civil aviation accidents, wherever the accident may occur, and that States should provide a homogenous solution for treatment of victims and their families.

In accordance to this, the Assembly:

* Called on Member States to reaffirm their commitment to support victims of civil aviation accidents and their family members;

* Urged Member States to establish legislation, regulations and/or policies to support victims and their families in consideration of the ICAO Policy;

* Encourages States that have legislation, regulations and/or policies to support victims and their families to review these documents in consideration of ICAO Policy;

* Urged the Council to give further consideration to the development of Standards and Recommended practices regarding the establishment by States of legislation, regulations and/or policies to support victims and their families. »

The adoption of the IACO Policy is an important step since it will allow the adoption of standard rules across the world for a true management of victims. Of course, a lot has yet to be fulfilled but this text will serve as a base to build something positive. For example, countries of the European Union that have an obligation to have a national assistance plan to air crash victims (R996/2010) will use the main principles listed in this policy.

Furthermore and evidently, SOS Catastrophes will act towards the hope that one day, this policy might be applied to other means of transportation as marine transportation and rail transportation.

Unfortunately, not long after this week in Montreal, our friend Hans Ephraimson passed away and will leave an emptiness among us. It was thanks to him that victims’ associations were able to be heard at the ICAO. His kindness, his diplomacy and determination have made this Policy possible.

In continuing the combat he had engaged after the death of his daughter in a plane crash in the beginning of the eighties, we will pay him the most beautiful tribute.

Photo No. 2: 12 people:
Nancy Graham, Director, Air Navigation Bureau, ICAO.
Paolo Pettinaroli, President Fundazione 8 Octtobre, Vice Président SOS Catastrophes
Juanid Hamid, Air Blue Associatioin Pakistan.
Roberto Kobeh, President IACO
Mauricio Fontes, Aeropuerto Sao Paulo-Brasil.
Prof. Elmar Giemulla, Nueva York, ACFVA.
Victor Aguado, spanish ambassador TOICAO and president of AVPTF
Marcus Costa, Technical Officer, Secretary General ICAO.

Row sitting:
Pilar Vera Palmés, President AVJK5022, Vice-President SOS Catastrophes.
Hans Ephraimson, President ACFVA.
Elena Baixeras, AVJK5022.
Deborah Hersmann, Director of NTSB.

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