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Conservation of whales and management of whaling is a mandate that can only be delivered by collaboration at every level. The International Whaling Commission welcomes new member governments, observers, scientists and donors. 

Governments can join the IWC and become signatories to the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling by providing written notification to the Government of the United States. The US is the depositary government for the Convention and related documents, and also responsible for informing all members of new signatories. 

Please note that a Voluntary Assistance Fund exists to provide some financial support for member governments of limited means to attend some of the key IWC meetings.

Non-member governments are welcome to attend and observe meetings of the Commission (please see below).

  • For more information and support with the membership or observer process, please contact secretariat@iwc.int.

Inter-governmental organisations, non-governmental organisations and non-member governments can apply to become accredited  IWC observers.  Observers are able to attend some types of IWC meetings, join specified working groups, and submit information or research documents. 

Please note that a registration fee applies and applications related to a specific meeting must be received at least 60 days before the start of that meeting.  

Scientists wishing to participate in meetings of the IWC Scientific Committee should write to the Chair of the Scientific Committee explaining how they will contribute to the work of the Committee and sending a copy of their Curriculum Vitae.  Please note scientists must be self-funded unless they are nominated by the Chair of the Scientific Committee as Invited Participants (who receive funding because their expertise and contribution are considered vital to the success of the meeting).

Donors the IWC welcomes voluntary contributions.  Donations are received from a wide variety of organisations, usually in support of a particular programme of work or piece of research. Guidelines on Acceptance of Funds ensure contributions are only accepted from appropriate sources, and will advance work that is consistent with IWC objectives.