The second Regional Aviation Ministers Meeting (RAMM2) has been confirmed to be hosted virtually on 22 June 2022 (Cook Islands time) by the Government of the Cook Islands at a Pacific senior aviation officials meeting on 25 May.
RAMM2 is the follow up to the first Regional Aviation Ministers Meeting (RAMM1) in 2021, which was successfully convened by the Government of Papua New Guinea, after a gap of two decades.
Pacific Aviation Ministers at RAMM2 will consider progress on the implementation of the Port Moresby Declaration on Aviation Safety and Security. The Port Moresby Declaration was endorsed at RAMM1 to advance significant regional aviation reforms to ensure there is a safe, sustainable, and robust regional aviation system to benefit the Pacific.
“The first Regional Aviation Ministers Meeting also endorsed the Framework for Aviation in the Pacific as the catalyst to advance aviation regional development in the Pacific,” said aviation officials meeting Chair, Mr. John Hosking, Secretary for Transport in the Cook Islands.
“Amending the Pacific’s aviation treaty, developing a regional aviation strategy, enhancing a regional aviation organisation, and considering the impact of COVID-19 on regional aviation were the four key RAMM1 deliverables identified by Ministers.”
“I am pleased to report significant regional progress has been achieved on all four strategic actions, and we are ready to present our joint efforts to Ministers for their consideration at RAMM2,” said Mr. Hosking.
Led by the Pacific Aviation Safety Office (PASO), as the RAMM Secretariat, senior aviation officials throughout the region are making significant progress on RAMM1 strategic actions as RAMM2 preparations are being finalised.
Incorporating widespread consultation with officials from 15 Pacific States and key regional stakeholders, including the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS), the Pacific Region Infrastructure Facility (PRIF), and the Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO), key documents will be presented to Aviation Ministers for consideration at RAMM2.
“Officials from Australia, Cook Islands, Fiji, French Polynesia, Kiribati, Nauru, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu have contributed to the RAMM deliverables through a series of Pacific aviation officials’ meetings, workshops, and one-on-one consultations,” said Mr. Hosking.
Through this engagement process, Pacific States have conveyed appreciation to the New Zealand Government, World Bank, and the PRIF for their financial support to progress the RAMM strategic actions.
Amending the Pacific Island Civil Aviation Safety and Security Treaty
Aviation officials have unanimously agreed to present proposed amendments to the Pacific Islands Civil Aviation Safety and Security Treaty (PICASST) at RAMM2 for Ministerial consideration.
This follows an extensive regional PICASST consultation process with Pacific States led by PASO in recent months.
It is anticipated that the revised PICASST will be tabled for consideration at the next Pacific Island Forums Leaders meeting.
Pacific Regional Aviation Strategy
The direction of the new 10-year Regional Aviation Strategy, which will support the development of aviation in the Pacific, has received widespread regional support from senior aviation officials and a progress report will be presented for Ministerial consideration at RAMM2.
As the RAMM Secretariat, PASO has engaged IOS Partners to develop the strategy in consultation with Pacific Island States, airlines, airport authorities, and the tourism sector.
The development of the Pacific’s Regional Aviation Strategy will also be informed by wider aviation processes, including the 41st International Civil Aviation Organization Assembly in late September, and it is anticipated that the strategy will be completed by the end of 2022.
“Aviation safety and security compliance and oversight is of strategic importance to the region because of its implications for sustainable economic development and the connectivity of the Blue Pacific,” said Mr. Hosking.
“To support a collaborative and uniform approach to improving aviation in the Pacific, the Regional Aviation Strategy is examining the regional legislative framework, the audit and inspection programme, strategic training and human resource development, regional governance engagement and coordination, and sustainable economic development.”
Through the regional consultation process, the importance of environmental protection and the inclusion of the impacts of climate change emerged as another key area to be addressed in the strategy.
“Climate change is a global concern and if we are to progress aviation in our region, we must recognise it cannot be at the expense of our environment,” said Mr. Hosking.
Towards a sustainable funding model for regional aviation support
Aviation officials have considered options for a sustainable funding model for the enhanced regional aviation organisation to support Pacific countries with regional civil aviation safety and security oversight and will provide an update at RAMM2.
“The Pacific requires a new approach to funding an enhanced regional aviation organisation that is scalable, flexible, sustainable and provides value for money at a time when we are also grappling with the economic impact of COVID-19,” said Mr. Hosking.
“Currently due to COVID-19, regional aviation oversight administrative and operational costs have been reliant on donor funding, for which we are very grateful. We need to recognise that aviation safety is an investment rather than a cost because it enables Blue Pacific connectivity.”
Aviation recovery from impacts of COVID-19 in the Pacific
A strategic analysis on the COVID-19 impact assessment for aviation in the Pacific was funded by PRIF and will be presented at RAMM2 to seek further support for long term collaboration and explore regional approaches for sustainable aviation recovery post COVID-19.
The PRIF’s 2022 study by Landrum and Brown considers commercial opportunities and the ongoing viability of Pacific regional aviation, including airline collaboration, optimal airline fleet requirements, infrastructure needs, and the investment required to facilitate aviation recovery in the region.
RAMM2 Meeting Arrangements
The RAMM Secretariat is now finalising meeting arrangements and working with the Government of the Cook Islands to send out Ministerial invitations for the virtual meeting on 22 June 2022.