The No Country Left Behind Initiative


Air transport has proven to be a catalyst for sustainable development. It impacts tourism and trade.  It serves as the main mode of transportation to deliver humanitarian relief and response to crises and public health emergencies. It also generates other socio-economic benefits which help eradicate poverty by creating jobs and enhancing air connectivity. Furthermore, this sector is forecast to grow from 33 million departures in 2016 to 60 million by 2030.


In 2014, ICAO organized its first ever ICAO Council off-site strategy session. The purpose was to determine how ICAO can better communicate with and assist its Member States. One of the major points covered during these meetings was the fact that there are still large discrepancies with respect to how some States implement ICAO SARPs; States continue to face various challenges regarding the implementation of ICAO’s Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs), which impact a safe, secure, efficient, economically viable and environmentally sound air transport system.


The off-site session determined that ICAO should focus its activities on States with higher accident rates or security threats and review what the Organization can do to better encourage developed countries to provide more comprehensive assistance to developing countries. It also resolved that ICAO itself should provide more direct assistance to developing countries by playing a more active coordination role between States and by helping to generate the political will needed for States to pool resources, participate in regional efforts, earmark voluntary funds and build capacity.


The No Country Left Behind (NCLB) initiative was therefore proposed in order for ICAO to make all efforts on assisting all States in effectively implementing ICAO SARPs, plans, policies and programmes in all Strategic Objectives. This initiative was formally launched on 5 December 2014 as part of the events to mark the 70th Anniversary of the signing of the Convention on International Civil Aviation (named the Chicago Convention).


The ICAO NCLB initiative aims at:

a) providing support for States in the effective implementation of ICAO’s SARPs, policies, plans and programmes in a globally-harmonized manner;

b) promoting the resolution of significant safety concerns and significant security concerns; and

c) promoting and implementing all ICAO’s assistance activities. 


Furthermore, the recently adopted United Nation’s (UN) 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (adopted by the UN General Assembly on 25 September 2015) will also support ICAO Member States in enhancing their civil aviation systems in line with the NCLB initiative. The ICAO Secretary General addressed the UN General Assembly and held various bilateral meetings putting forward a strong case for increased aviation development in the context of the 2030 Agenda.


On 25 September 2015, the 193 countries of the UN General Assembly adopted the 2030 Development Agenda (Resolution 70/1) titled "Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development". This agenda has 92 paragraphs. Paragraph 59 outlines the 17 Sustainable Development Goals and the associated 169 targets and 232 indicators. The Sustainable Development Goals are the blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all. They address the global challenges we face, including poverty, inequality, climate change, environmental degradation, peace and justice.


In order to recognize States that make significant progress in resolving their safety oversight deficiencies and improving the effective implementation (EI) of SARPs, the ICAO Council established the Council President Certificates. Objective and transparent criteria are used to select States that are eligible for this recognition. Council President Certificates will be issued to States from every ICAO region on an annual basis.


The NCLB objectives are publicized, supported and implemented as part of ICAO’s day-to-day operations, ranging from advocating the benefits of aviation for States and developing dedicated tools and services to collaborative efforts and partnerships to enhance the implementation of ICAO SARPs. The delivery of the results of ICAO’s Strategic Objectives, especially the implementation of the NCLB initiative, is also aligned with the realization of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. While ensuring that no country is left behind, ICAO will continue assisting States to enhance their air transport systems in order to foster aviation’s contributions to all three pillars of sustainable development - social, economic and environmental - and the attainment of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) among Member States, the UN system, the donor community and all relevant stakeholders.


7 December 2015 – International Civil Aviation Day.

This cover highlights the single theme for the full four-year period 2015-2018 for the International Civil Aviation Day: Working Together to Ensure No Country is Left Behind.


Model of the Council President Certificate (here awarded to Kenya). Its basic layout was taken from the commemorative plaque unveiled during the Extraordinary Session of the ICAO Council held in Chicago on 8 December 2014 (see 70th anniversary celebrations).



First Day Cover (front and back) issued by the United Nations (UN) on 24 October 2016 (UN Day), highlighting the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.