The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) is an agency of the United Nations whose mandate is to ensure the safe, efficient, and orderly evolution of international civil aviation. In the international realm, the ICAO provides general rules and mediates international concerns regarding aviation law.
The ICAO is the achievement of the 1944 convention on International Civil Aviation (Chicago Convention). The ICAO came into being on the 4th of April, 1947. In October 1947, the ICAO became a specialized agency of the United Nations linked to the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).
The purpose of ICAO is set forth in the Convention on International Civil Aviation:
- to foster the future development of international civil aviation to create and preserve friendship and understanding among the nations and peoples of the world; and
- to avoid friction and to promote co-operation between nations and peoples upon which the peace of the world depends.
The governments, who are parties to the Chicago convention, agreed on certain principles and arrangements in order to develop international civil aviation in a safe and orderly manner.
The function of the ICAO includes:
- codifying the principles and techniques of international air navigation;
- fostering the planning and development of international air transport;
- adopting standards and recommended practices concerning air navigation;
- preventing unlawful interference;
- facilitating border-crossing procedures for international civil aviation;
- defining the protocols for air accident investigation followed by transport safety authorities in countries signatory to the Chicago convention; and
- regulating air travel by providing general rules and mediating international aviation law disputes.
The charter of ICAO is the Chicago convention. According to the convention, the ICAO is made up of an Assembly, a Council, and a Secretariat. The key officers are the President of the council and the Secretary General. The assembly is composed of representatives from all contracting states. It is the sovereign body of ICAO. The council is composed of members from the different states. The primary body that is concerned with the development of technical standards is the Air Navigation Commission. It advises the council on air navigation issues.