1) ICAO was put up at the dawn of international civil aviation
The Second World War has been a period of rapid developments in aircraft technology. Towards the end of the conflict, in 1944, in anticipation of this rising popularity of freight and civilian air travel, the US Government encouraged delegates from allied nations to Chicago to thrash out the very first global Convention on Civil Aviation, popularly known as the”Chicago Convention”.

The prime objective of this record is that the development of international civil aviation”in a secure and orderly fashion”, and the institution of air transport services”on the basis of equality of opportunity and operated soundly and economically.”

Back in 1947, ICAO was put up as a UN Specialized Agency, to arrange and encourage the intensive international co-operation which the fledgling international aviation network would require. It’s based in Montreal, Canada.

2) Today, the agency ensures the smooth functioning of the global network…
The global air transport network, says the bureau, is among the greatest practical examples of global collaboration, but ensuring the network functions, means making sure everyone is following the very same rules. This remains ICAO’s crucial function.

The bureau researches fresh aviation policy, and standardization inventions; retains events to explore the latest developments in this field; and provides governments with guidance on establishing new global standards and recommended practices for civil aviation.

3)…but It Doesn’t police the heavens
Such as the UN as a whole, the potency of ICAO lies in its capacity to bring together large numbers of countries, to forge international arrangements. However, it is not a global regulator, and has no ability to police the heavens.

ICAO can’t arbitrarily close or restrict a country’s airspace, closed down routes, or condemn airports or airlines for poor safety performance or customer services. Countries create their own regulations, which airline operators need to follow when they enter national airspace and airports.

If a country does breach criteria which have been internationally agreed and embraced by ICAO, the bureau’s role is to assist nations to come up with a coordinated response, like this week’s incident.

4) ICAO’ardently concerned’ from the Belarus incident…
On Sunday, 23 May, a Ryanair flight from Greece to Lithuania was allegedly diverted to Minsk airport, where several passengers were forced off the plane, including high-profile resistance journalist, Roman Protasevich.

A chorus of condemnation from countries, rights organisations and the UN system followed: the UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, voiced his profound concern, also called for a complete, independent investigation, and the spokesperson for the Office of the High Commission for Human Rights (OHCHR) stated the way Mr. Protasevich was abducted, and brought to Belarus,”was tantamount to an extraordinary rendition”.

ICAO responded by publishing a Tweet, on the day of this episode, in which the organisation noted that it had been”strongly concerned by the apparent forced landing of a Ryanair flight and its passengers, that may be in contravention of the Chicago Convention.”

5) …but what can it do?
That is far from the first time that a plane was diverted out of its destination by drive, but some experts feel this is actually the first time that ICAO has needed to discuss allegations that one of its Member States has been responsible for such an incident.

Belarus, meanwhile, is reportedly denying that the diversion was necessary because of a bomb threat, and has denounced condemnation of the episode as a planned provocation.

It’s possible that the urgent ICAO assembly leads to the”complete, independent investigation” that the Secretary-General is calling for however, as stated previously, the agency isn’t a global ruler, also does not have the capability to take action against Belarus, such as shutting down the nation’s airspace, or another sanction.

Meanwhile, European Union leaders also have declared economic sanctions and plans to ban Belarusian airlines from European airspace and airports. These moves are welcomed by the United States, in which the Biden administration states that it is assessing”appropriate choices”.