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ANNEXE 9 Facilitation

The Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) on Facilitation (FAL) are derived from several provisions of the Chicago Convention. Article 37 obliges ICAO to adopt and amend from time to time international standards and recommended practices and procedures dealing with, inter alia, customs and immigration procedures. Article 22 obliges each Contracting State to adopt all practicable measures to facilitate and expedite navigation by aircraft between the territories of Contracting States, and to prevent unnecessary delays to aircraft, crews, passengers, and cargo, especially in the administration of the laws relating to immigration, quarantine, customs and clearance. Article 23 of the Convention expresses the undertaking of each Contracting State to establish customs and immigration procedures affecting international air navigation in accordance with the practices established or recommended pursuant to the Convention. A number of other articles have special pertinence to the provisions of the FAL Annex and have been taken into account in its preparation. These include: Article 10, which requires all aircraft entering the territory of a Contracting State to land at, and depart from, an airport designated by that State for customs and other examination; Article 13, which require compliance of a Contracting State’s entry, clearance, immigration, passports, customs and quarantine laws and regulations, by or on behalf of passengers, crew or cargo; Article 14, which obliges each Contracting State to take effective measures to prevent the spread by means of air navigation of communicable diseases; and Article 24 (customs duty), Article 29 (documents carried in aircraft) and Article 35 (cargo restrictions). These provisions of the Convention find practical expression in the SARPs of Annex 9, the first edition of which was adopted in 1949. The SARPs pertain specifically to facilitation of landside formalities for clearance of aircraft and commercial traffic through the requirements of customs, immigration, public health and agriculture authorities. The Annex is a wide-ranging document which reflects the flexibility of ICAO in keeping pace with international civil aviation. ICAO is recognized as being the first international body to make a real start on facilitation by developing Standards which bind its Contracting States. The Annex provides a frame of reference for planners and managers of international airport operations, describing maximum limits on obligations of industry and minimum facilities to be provided by governments. In addition, Annex 9 specifies methods and procedures for carrying out clearance operations in such a manner as to meet the twin objectives of effective compliance with the laws of States and productivity for the operators, airports and government inspection agencies involved.

Initially, the main thrust of the Annex consisted of efforts to reduce paperwork, standardize internationally the
documents that were to accompany traffic between States, and simplify the procedures required to clear aircraft,
passengers and cargo. It was—as it still is—recognized that delays due to cumbersome formalities must be reduced, not
just because they are unpleasant but, in practical terms, because they are costly to all of the "customer groups" in the
community and because they interfere with the success of everyone.
Over the years, traffic volumes grew. States' resources for inspection regimes could not keep pace. The facilitation of
landside clearance formalities became a much more complex issue. The focus of Annex 9 therefore changed. In its 11th
edition (2002), the Annex 9 retained its original strategies, carried forward in all editions since the first, of reducing
paperwork, standardizing documentation and simplifying procedures. However, it shifted its focus to inspection
techniques based on risk management, with the objectives to increase efficiency, reduce congestion in airports and
enhance security; to control abuses such as narcotics trafficking and travel document fraud; and to support the growth
of international trade and tourism. In addition, new SARPs and guidance material were introduced to address certain
high-profile issues of public interest such as the treatment of persons with disabilities.

More recently, the face of facilitation has been further shaped by major developments in the civil aviation environment which have occurred during the last ten years (the mid-1990s and beyond). These phenomena include: technological progress, with the universal proliferation of the use of computers and electronic data interchange systems; massive increases in illegal migration which have become worldwide immigration and national security problems, with civil aviation the transport mode of choice and passport fraud a frequent tactic; and ongoing political and social upheaval, which has given rise to increased use of terrorism, in which unlawful interference with civil aviation is still a powerful technique for pursuing an objective. These topics formed the basis of the agenda of the 12th Session of the Facilitation Division that was held in Cairo in early 2004 with the theme, “Managing Security Challenges to Facilitate Air Transport Operations.” Discussions on the essential role that facilitation measures play in the improvement of security led to the Division making recommendations on the security of travel documents and border control formalities, on modernized provisions for facilitation and security in air cargo service operations, on controlling travel document fraud and illegal migration and on international health regulations and hygiene and sanitation in aviation.

The consequent 12th edition of Annex 9 (expected publication: 2005) reflects ICAO’s contemporary FAL strategy. This
is to advocate and support action by Contracting States in three principal areas: the standardization of travel documents,
the rationalization of border clearance systems and procedures, and international cooperation to tackle security problems
related to passengers and cargo. While the primary motivation of Annex 9 will continue to carry out the mandate in
Article 22 of the Chicago Convention, “...to prevent unnecessary delays to aircraft, passengers and cargo....”, numerous
provisions, developed with the intent to increase efficiency in control processes, support also the objective to raise the
level of general security.
Enhancing the security of travel documents and tackling illegal migration are among the major changes introduced into
Annex 9 through its 12th edition. Most of the existing Chapters and Appendices of the Annex remain more-or-less
unchanged from the 11th edition. Two Chapters, in particular, have been substantially amended to reflect new
international realities.
Chapter 3, which deals with the entry and departure of persons and baggage, now contains a Standard obliging
Contracting States to regularly update security features in new versions of their travel documents, to guard against their
misuse and to facilitate detection of cases where such documents have been unlawfully altered, replicated or issued.
Another Standard requires States to establish controls on the lawful creation and issuance of travel documents. States
are also now obliged to issue separate passports to all persons, regardless of age, and to issue them in machine readable
form, in accordance with ICAO’s specifications. States and airlines are required to collaborate in combatting travel
document fraud. As for crew members, States are obliged to place adequate controls on the issuance of crew member
certificates and other official crew identity documents.
Finally, an entirely new Chapter 5 is devoted to the growing problem of inadmissible persons and deportees. The SARPs
of this Chapter set out in clear terms the obligations of States and airlines vis-à-vis transport of potentially illegal
migrants and similar “problem” cases that the international air transport industry comes across in ever greater numbers
daily. Strict adherence by Contracting States of the obligations to remove from circulation fraudulent travel documents
or genuine documents used fraudulently will greatly help to constrict the flow of illegal migrants the world over.

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