Liu Fang (柳芳) is a Chinese air-safety expert and newly elected secretary-general of the aviation arm of the United Nations.
On March 11, 2015, Liu won 19 out of 36 votes to succeed Frenchman Raymond Benjamin, the current chief of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in his second three-year term that expires at the end of July 2015. Three other candidates are from the United Arab Emirates, India and Australia.
Currently director of the ICAO's Bureau of Administration and Services, Liu is set to take the reins of the ICAO from Aug. 1, 2015, becoming the agency's first female chief and head from China.
Educated in China and the Netherlands, Liu had worked for China's civil aviation authority before she joined the ICAO in 2007. She also speaks English and French. She will become the fourth Chinese national at a top position of international agencies.
The other three are Margaret Chan Fung Fu-chun who is the Director-General of the World Health Organization, Zhao Houlin, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Secretary-General, and Li Yong, current Director General of the U.N.'s Industrial Development Organization.
With 191 member countries, the ICAO is a UN specialized agency founded in 1944 and headquartered in Montreal, Canada. It sets non-binding safety standards and rules for air transport. It has no direct enforcement role, but the results of its audits often prompt governments to enhance aviation budgets and adjust priorities.
The organization also serves as the premier clearinghouse for technical information about flight safety, airport facilities and air-traffic control procedures.