• The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) is a UN specialized agency, established by States in 1944 to manage the administration and governance of the Convention on International Civil Aviation (Chicago Convention).
  • The Convention establishes rules of airspace, aircraft registration and safety, security, and sustainability, and details the rights of the signatories in relation to air travel. The Convention also contains provisions pertaining to taxation.
  • Secretariat - Montreal, Canada.  
  • It sets standards and regulations necessary for aviation safety, security, efficiency as well as for aviation environmental protection.  
  • Recently, ICAO introduced a scheme to measure carbon emission, called the “CORSIA - Carbon Offsetting and Reporting Scheme for International Aviation”. 


  • The CORSIA is a global market-based measure adopted by ICAO.  
  • It intends to offset annual increases in CO2 emissions from international civil aviation above 2020 levels.  
  • A market-based measure is a policy tool that is designed to achieve environmental goals at a lower cost and in a more flexible manner than traditional regulatory measures. e.g Levies, emissions trading systems, and carbon offsetting.  
  • It relies on the use of emissions units to offset the amount of CO2 emissions.  
  • One emissions unit represents one tonne of CO2 emissions reduced.  
  • It compares the total CO2 emissions for a year (from 2021 onwards) against a predetermined baseline.  
  • Any international aviation CO2 emissions that exceed the baseline level should implement offsetting measures.  It only applies to international flights. Domestic emissions fall under the purview of UNFCCC, and are covered by the Paris Agreement. 

ICAO also coordinates assistance and capacity building for States in support of numerous aviation development objectives; produces global plans to coordinate multilateral strategic progress for safety and air navigation; monitors and reports on numerous air transport sector performance metrics; and audits States’ civil aviation oversight capabilities in the areas of safety and security.

Five main Objectives: 


Enhance global civil aviation safety. This Strategic Objective is focused primarily on the State's regulatory oversight capabilities.

Air Navigation Capacity and Efficiency:

Increase the capacity and improve the efficiency of the global civil aviation system. Although functionally and organizationally interdependent with Safety, this Strategic Objective is focused primarily on upgrading the air navigation and aerodrome infrastructure and developing new procedures to optimize aviation system performance.

Security & Facilitation:

Enhance global civil aviation security and facilitation. This Strategic Objective reflects the need for ICAO's leadership in aviation security, facilitation and related border security matters.

Economic Development of Air Transport:

Foster the development of a sound and economically-viable civil aviation system. This Strategic Objective reflects the need for ICAO's leadership in harmonizing the air transport framework focused on economic policies and supporting activities.

Environmental Protection:

Minimize the adverse environmental effects of civil aviation activities.