International community must mobilize for aviation security [fr]
Threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts / Aviation security - Statement by Mrs Ségolène Royal, Minister of the Environment, Energy and Marine Affairs, responsible for International Climate Relations - Security Council - 22 September 2016
As the Security Council is aware, France has yet again violently and most painfully been struck by terrorist attacks. For that reason, I wish to thank the New Zealand presidency and the United Kingdom for organizing this ministerial meeting of the Council dedicated to aviation security. My ministerial responsibilities include oversight of land, rail and air transport modes.
I would like to thank the Secretary General of the International Civil Aviation Organization for her very enlightening statement regarding the vulnerability of civil aviation and possible avenues for improvement. I would like to commend the numerous efforts she mentioned in her briefing by the organization in the area of aviation security. I assure her of France’s continued support in that work. The targeting of civil aviation by terrorists began in Entebbe in 1976, and there have been various other deadly attacks against civil aviation over the past few decades, claiming thousands of lives. Despite considerable strengthening of security measures, this threat remains present and topical, as Mr. Boris Johnson so rightly said, reiterated by Mr. Jeh Johnson, Secretary of Homeland Security. Da’esh claimed the attack downing Metrojet Flight 9268 in the Sinai on 31 October, which claimed 224 lives. In Somalia, Al-Shabaab has claimed the attack that struck Daalio Airlines on 2 February. What has changed in these attacks is both the intensity and global nature of the threat, as well as the methods used by terrorists. This is why it is extremely important that the international community continue to mobilize itself against this scourge and that it shows greater solidarity. I welcome the unanimous vote that has just taken place because, as the Secretary General rightly said, , we are all linked to one another: we leave one place and arrive in another. As such, there is clear international solidarity. This is why it is so important for us to be able to detect weak links, which are all chinks in our collective armour. In the past, the Group of Seven (G-7) mobilized itself by granting pride of place to this topic in the action plan adopted at G-7 Summit in Ise-Shima in May.
We will have to ensure that commitments undertaken at the Summit are effectively implemented.
I will conclude by underlining two important issues.
First, as the Secretary-General stated, it is important that States implement the standards set out in annex 17 of the Convention on International Civil Aviation, to which they have subscribed, by ratifying the text, but also that they move beyond them, without hesitation, when required.
Secondly, it is very important to lend assistance to States that request it to ensure that they are able to upgrade their airport infrastructure and bring them in line with international norms. Such States must make the necessary efforts to ensure that the air routes linking them to the rest of the world remain reliable and sustainable, which is also in the interests of their economic development. That is why the mobilization of all the expertise of a State’s administration responsible for aviation security must remain unfailing.
I would also like to mention security in airports, to which Ms. Fang Liu also referred, specifically the link between national and international security. Very recently in France there was an attack on a European Thalys train. The attack fortunately claimed no victims, thanks to the courage of a number of individuals on the train, some of whom were American, who were able to incapacitate the terrorists. Following that attack we installed a number of detector gates in stations and, in the same vein, we are currently looking at the possibility of placing security checkpoints at the entrances of airports, not only when one wishes to board the plane but also when one enters the airport itself. Moveable gates have also been deployed, as well as a number of patrol dogs, as was just mentioned by the Secretary of Homeland Security of the United States.
We have to bear in mind the necessity to exchange best practices in terms of new security technologies, namely, moveable gates, which are much more difficult to identify and are extremely effective. For the fact is that there is a democratization of air transport taking place, with the costs of flying falling, leading to a growing number of travelers. Especially following the tragedy in Nice, one can imagine the awful tragedy that could strike if there were an attack during the holiday period, with airports full of families with children. Reinforcing detector gates in airports is therefore something I believe to be essential. As the minister responsible for safeguarding air transport, this is one of my concerns when I think of the possible damage that could be caused from attacks launched where there are large numbers of people. An example of this is in airports during the holiday period where there are a great many people and a great many families.