IFATCA uses our position as a Permanent Observer to the ICAO Air Navigation Commission to evolve the Federation's contribution to the ICAO process. With the creation of the IFATCA Liaison Officer to the ICAO Air Navigation Commission (ANC), we have grown into an integral part of the development of ICAO standards. This contribution allows the Federation to reflect the objectives of the Federation into the development od global aviation procedures.

This progress does not come from any one position or title, it is the result of an extraordinary team effort.

Exceptional ground work was required over many years to establish the Fedseration as a respected aviation knowledgbase. It took the support of the IFATCA Executive Board to make our ICAO participation an organizational priority and the commitment from our Member Associations to fund the position and ensure that we are a daily presence at ICAO. Particular recognition goes to Andrew Beadle, former EVPT and the first IFATCA ANC representative. Ruth Stilwell prgressed the excellent work of Andrew, and now Jean-Francois Lepage continues to maintain the high standards required of persons in that role.

While the final approvals come inside the ANC Chamber, much of the work to reach a positive consensus occurs through the daily interaction with the ICAO Secretariat, other members of the Commission, and the industry representatives. An organization cannot build credibility by showing up at the final stages of an amendment process and expect to constructively shape the outcome. It starts much earlier than that.

Our ICAO representatives and EVP-Technical, supported by the work of both our Technical and Operational Committee and our Professional and Legal Committee, help to develop a deep understanding of the issues. Their work helps develop solutions and advocate for the concerns of the air traffic controllers long before a proposal is drafted. This sets the stage for our success. The work is not done when a proposal reaches the Air Navigation Commission; that is the final polishing of many years of activity.

The ICAO representatives continue to work with our team to make sure the issues brought forward in the Panel and Expert Group meetings are well known to the Liaison Officer to the ICAO ANC. It is a continual exchange of information as the proposals wind their way through the ICAO process.

While the IFATCA ANC liaison officer is a solo post, it serves as part of a large internal team in the Federation.  Our responses in the ICAO consultation process reflect the input of that entire team – it is not the view of a single officer or representative, it is the collective view of the Federation expressed by professionals through our technical and professional teams.

The TOC and PLC work programmes play an important role in building our influence; they identify and study topics of particular interest and importance. It is through the deliberations and adoption of policies at conference that we achieve the global voice that is so critical to our success. It is our ability to build a global position within the air traffic controller community on matters of importance to our profession that gives us the credibility necessary to build our reputation and our influence.

Over the last 7 years, the Federation has reshaped its internal processes to take advantage of the opportunities we are presented. We have increased the number of ICAO expert groups on which we serve. We have expanded the input from our committees in the ICAO process.  We have restructured how we identify issues for our work programmes to consider ICAO priorities.  Finally, we have introduced new communications tools to facilitate the work of our committees and engage our ICAO representatives.

These changes have put us in a strong position as we move forward, but like ATC modernization, it is a never-ending road.  We cannot be satisfied with where we are, we must continue to move forward, building our expertise and capacity to shape the future of our profession.

The topics before us are numerous and intricate, and the realities with which we will have to work are just as varied and complex; as a Federation, we have to keep in mind that our role is to present a global view.

It could be the rapid growth of traffic in Asia, the lack of resources of certain countries in Africa, the issues encountered with space vehicles and balloons launches in North America and Oceania, the integration challenges in Europe. These are just a few examples that show how important the work we are all doing for this Federation is for its members, and how important it is to make sure our interests are best represented at ICAO.

In short, there will always be many topics of great interest for the Federation, and a lot of issues where the ANC liaison officer will have to defend our interests. There is only one way to achieve this, since no one can accomplish such a task alone; the key words are undoubtably communication and synergy.

Communication, because it is essential to use all the resources we have and share what we know; the volunteers of the Federation are incredibly talented and everything has to be put in place to take advantage of all this expertise and knowledge. It is paramount to continue developing mechanisms to take advantage of all this richness to better represent us at ICAO.

Synergy, which is the interaction of two or more elements to achieve an outcome greater than the sum of its parts, allows us to accomplish a lot more than every one of us separately: this is another of the many strengths of IFATCA. Nowadays, technology, among other things, has made our world more complex than ever. Systems, procedures and networks tend to become heavily interrelated and one can easily get confused while trying to navigate through these webs.

Again, IFATCA has two excellent committees, Professional (PLC) and Technical (TOC), within its structure that can ease this constraint.

Communication between the PLC, TOC and the ANC liaison officer is the key to continued success in making our voice heard at ICAO.