The annual World Food Programme (WFP) Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) stakeholders meeting was held on 15 and 16 May 2023 in Rome, Italy. The event brought together representatives from the WFP, UN organizations (including ICAO), and notable participants such as Mozambique CAA and the National Institute for Disaster Risk Management and Reduction.
The meeting focused on exchanging best practices and lessons learned regarding the use of UAS for humanitarian operations. UAS have become essential tools for emergency preparedness and response in remote and difficult locations. They serve three primary purposes at WFP: ensuring connectivity, transporting light to heavy cargo, and collecting valuable data through imagery for monitoring, disaster assessment, mapping, and search and rescue operations.
The meeting highlighted the significance of establishing a pool of recognized and certified operators for humanitarian UAS operations. This initiative aims to expedite approvals and deployments, enabling swift assistance to those in need. Capacity building emerged as a critical enabler, empowering States with the necessary skills for operations to be conducted effectively.
Furthermore, the meeting acknowledged the need for harmonized regulations governing UAS operations. Notably, WFP set up a collaborative project with Mozambique CAA, INGD, and ICAO, facilitating the establishment of a regulatory framework for UAS operations, through the deployment of the ICAO UAS iPack. ICAO shared the latest developments in UAS-related provisions, including ICAO Model Regulations, and other guidance material. ICAO also reaffirmed its commitment to supporting Member States through specialized training programs, such as UAS courses, and the deployment of iPacks.
This meeting further strengthened the collaboration between ICAO and WFP, underscoring their shared vision of leveraging UAS capabilities to enhance humanitarian operations worldwide.
Relevant ICAO documentation found here
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