(Reuters) - Diplomats and aviation officials gather in Montreal Feb. 2-5 for a U.N. International Civil Aviation Organization High-Level Safety Conference after several aircraft disasters in 2014.
The following are some facts about the organization:
- ICAO is a Montreal-based specialized agency of the United Nations which oversees civil aviation. Created in 1944, ICAO's 191 member states are signatories to the Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation, the treaty that governs international flight by civil aircraft.
- The agency sets standards that typically become regulatory requirements in its member states. States can choose not to follow any of ICAO's more than 10,000 "standards and recommended practices," but they are supposed to report deviations to ICAO.
- Member states gather at general assemblies every three years and for occasional special conferences such as next week's event. The next assembly is in 2016.
- Day to day, the agency is governed by a council of 36 member states, which set up small diplomatic missions in Montreal. They are assisted by a Secretariat.
- ICAO's governing council can approve new standards, but in practice it only passes standards that have unanimous or near-unanimous support among member states, which makes for long and complex negotiations.
- The organization runs training programs, helps struggling member states fix safety problems, assists with some accident investigations and audits members' compliance with its standards, scoring them out of 100 in eight areas.
Reporting by Allison Martell; Editing by Grant McCool