UNIVERSAL SECURITY AUDIT PROGRAMME (USAP)
BACKGROUND AND EVOLUTION
In October 2001, the 33rd Session of the ICAO Assembly adopted Resolution A33-1, Declaration on misuse of civil aircraft as weapons of destruction and other terrorist acts involving civil aviation. This resolution directed the ICAO Council and Secretary General to consider the establishment of an audit programme relating to airport security arrangements and civil aviation security programmes. It also directed the Council to convene an international High-level, Ministerial Conference on Aviation Security with the objective of strengthening ICAO's role in the adoption of Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) in the field of aviation security and in the auditing of their implementation.
The High-level, Ministerial Conference on Aviation Security was convened in Montreal in February 2002. The Conference endorsed a global strategy for strengthening aviation security worldwide, adopted a number of conclusions and recommendations, and issued a public declaration. A central element of the strategy was an ICAO Aviation Security Plan of Action, which includes regular, mandatory, systematic and harmonized audits to enable the evaluation of aviation security in all member States.
Consistent with the outcomes of the 33rd Assembly and the High-level, Ministerial Conference, the 166th Session of the Council adopted the Aviation Security Plan of Action in June 2002. Project 3 of the Plan of Action provides for the promotion of global aviation security through auditing of Member States. Implementation of the Programme commenced with the first aviation security audit taking place in November 2002.
One hundred and eight-two ICAO aviation security audits were conducted under the first cycle of the USAP, which ended in December 2007. The conclusion of the first cycle of security audits provided an opportune time to consider the evolution of the programme.
In recognizing that the USAP has proven to be instrumental in identifying aviation security concerns and in providing recommendations for their resolution, the 36th Session of the Assembly requested the continuation of the USAP following completion of the initial cycle of audits at the end of 2007. The Assembly further directed that audits in the second cycle focus, wherever possible, on a State's capability to provide appropriate national oversight of its aviation security activities, and that the audits be expanded to include relevant security-related provisions of ICAO Annex 9 - Facilitation.
The 36th Session of the Assembly also directed the Council to consider the introduction of a limited level of transparency with respect to aviaton security audit results, balancing the need for States to be aware of unresolved security concerns with the need to keep sensitive security information out of the public realm.