The third and current official emblem


The 21st Session of the Assembly, held in Montreal from 24 September to 15 October 1974, approved the use of Arabic in correspondence between ICAO and the Arab States and interpretation at the Assembly Sessions and Regional Meetings for the Middle East. The use of Arabic in ICAO had been on a pragmatic and reasonable approach considering the real needs of the Arab Contracting States and the conditions at ICAO. The 26th Assembly, held in Montréal from 23 September to 10 October 1986, approved Arabic as a working language at ICAO; further to that, the Arabic Section was formally established. An increased number of documents and publications were translated into Arabic and published as part of the phasing in the programme. 


Proposed third emblem

The 22nd Session of the Assembly, held in Montréal from 13 September to 4 October 1977, had decided to adopt the Chinese language as one of the working languages of ICAO and to introduce it in steps, the first one being the use of Chinese orally at sessions of the Assembly and Council beginning in 1978.


The Chinese Unit was established on 1 October 1994. The 31th Session of the Assembly, held in Montréal from 19 September to 4 October 1995, noted, by Resolution A31-16, 1) that the use of Chinese language is only limited to oral interpretation at sessions of the Assembly and the Council; 2) that the People’s Republic of China had made voluntary contributions to strengthen the use of Chinese in the Organization; and 3) the importance of extension of the use of the Chinese language to include all activities of ICAO. This Resolution requested the Council and the Secretary General to take the necessary measures to intensify the progressive use of the Chinese language in interpretation and translation services as soon as possible.


Third official emblem and seal as approved by the 31st Assembly

In May 1995, a revision to the ICAO emblem was made to recognize the introduction of Arabic and Chinese as working languages of the Organization. In view of the difficulty in accurately reproducing the Chinese characters, it was initially proposed to limit their number in the emblem and to show only Civil Aviation Organization in Chinese (see on the left side). A further proposal for the amendment of the Chinese-language inscription to be used on the emblem, reflecting more accurately the full name of the Organization, was submitted by China; the Chinese ideograms on the approved emblem represent the Organization’s name in an abbreviated form. Despite the fact that the Arabic inscription appearing in the emblem was not an Arabic word but a transliteration from the English (i.e., translation of each letter of the English acronym ICAO into Arabic characters), the revised official emblem was adopted (Resolution A31-1) at the 31st Session of the Assembly held in 1995 and superseded the prior emblem adopted by the 21st Session of the Assembly (Resolution A21-4).


As several comments were made on the choice of the Arabic-language inscription comparing its lack of meaning as an Arabic word with its familiarity within the world of aviation, the possibility to review the choice of the Arabic acronym for the name of the Organization could be considered later if a more suitable Arabic expression could be found, which did not occur even 25 years later.


The compilation of the various emblems used by ICAO since its inception has shown a consistent evolution of the design according to the languages used by the Organization, with, however, the emphasis put on having a pattern close to the emblem of the United Nations, embracing the world through the spirit of cooperation to achieve the safe and orderly development of civil aviation.


Souvenir cover with the third official emblem.



Various covers with the third emblem.




Stamp issues showing the third official emblem.

Kuwait (7 December 1999, International Civil Aviation Day) and

Turkey (1 September 2014, 70th Anniversary).



Stamp issues commemorating the 75th anniversary of ICAO

and showing the ICAO current official emblem.