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The IWC Database of Recommendations aims to collate and track current and past IWC recommendations, enabling users to assess implementation and effectiveness, prioritise actions, avoid duplication, and identify barriers to success. It also provides increased transparency and accessibility as it is publicly available, fully searchable and accompanied by a user guide.

The project was instigated by the Conservation and Scientific Committees of the IWC, seeking a tool to better coordinate their respective work programmes. It soon became clear that the database had wider potential value and in 2018, the Commission endorsed a proposal to widen its scope to cover the recommendations of all IWC sub-groups.

The database now contains legally binding Schedule Amendments, as well as Commission Resolutions and recommendations from meetings and workshops held by all the major sub-groups of the IWC.All recommendations from the most recent meetings in 2021 back to 2016 are available, and some sets of records already go back to 2010. The IWC has been making recommendations since its establishment in 1946 and the upload of older records will continue as resources allow.

The database uses standardised language and criteria to ensure all recommendations are specific and tangible with both a timeframe and implementing organisation identified. The database also has built-in safeguards covering new entries and can categorise the latest recommendations as ‘pending’ until they receive the endorsement of the Commission.

It’s hoped that the database will increase transparency and encourage scrutiny and innovation, and will be useful to policy makers, scientists and anyone with an interest in whales.

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