• International Civil Aviation Organization

ICAO member states adopt net-zero 2050 global aspirational goal for international flight operations


Photo: International Civil Aviation Organization

Culminating two weeks of intensive diplomacy by more than 2,500 delegates from 184 states and 57 organizations at the 41st ICAO Assembly, member states of the International Civil Aviation Organization adopted a collective long-term global aspirational goal (LTAG) of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, ICAO announced Oct. 7.

The achievement of the LTAG will rely on the combined effect of multiple CO2 emissions-reduction measures, including the accelerated adoption of new and innovative aircraft technologies, streamlined flight operations, and the increased production and deployment of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF).

“States’ adoption of this new long-term goal for decarbonized air transport, following the similar commitments from industry groups, will contribute importantly to the green innovation and implementation momentum that must be accelerated over the coming decades to ultimately achieve emissions-free powered flight,” said Salvatore Sciacchitano, president of the ICAO Council.

Juan Carlos Salazar, ICAO secretary general, added, “Countries have achieved some tremendous and very important diplomatic progress at this event, and on topics of crucial importance to the future sustainability of our planet and the air transport system which serves and connects its populations.”

States at the ICAO Assembly also collectively underscored the importance of viable financing and investment support to the new CO2-emissions goal’s attainment, and fully supported the new ICAO Assistance, Capacity-building and Training for Sustainable Aviation Fuels (ACT-SAF) program to accelerate the availability and use of SAF—requesting in addition that a third ICAO Conference on Aviation and Alternative Fuels be convened in 2023.

Other notable environmental developments at the 41st ICAO Assembly included the completion of the first periodic review of the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation.


Countries agreed on a new CORSIA baseline from 2024 onwards, defined as 85 percent of CO2 emissions in 2019, and on revised percentages for the sectoral and individual growth factors to be used for the calculation of offsetting requirements from 2030 onwards.

The historic outcome of the assembly was acknowledged to be thanks to the outstanding leadership and excellent chairwomanship of the meeting by Poppy Khoza, South Africa’s director general of civil aviation and the first ever female president of the ICAO Assembly.

ICAO is a United Nations agency that helps 193 countries to cooperate together and share their skies to their mutual benefit.

Since it was established in 1944, ICAO’s support and coordination has helped countries to diplomatically and technically realize a uniquely rapid and dependable network of global air mobility, connecting families, cultures and businesses all over the world, and promoting sustainable growth and socioeconomic prosperity wherever aircraft fly.

As it enters a new era of digitization, and of incredible new flight and propulsion innovations, air transport is relying more than ever on ICAO’s expert support and technical and diplomatic guidance to help chart a new and exciting future for international flight.


ICAO is expanding its partnerships among UN and technical stakeholders to deliver a strategic global vision and effective, sustainable solutions.

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