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The IWC is committed to robust and transparent financial management. This section of the website provides comprehensive information on the financial regulations, structures and procedures of the IWC, as well as the annual audited accounts.

The IWC’s core funding is from member government contributions.
Voluntary contributions are also received from governments, non-governmental organisations and industry to support specific programmes.

Core Funding from Member Government contributions

Annual financial contributions are calculated for all IWC member governments.  The size of contribution varies between governments depending on three factors:

  • the size of their delegation at the most recent biennial Commission meeting;
  • any whaling activity that they may have undertaken;
  • the government's capacity to pay.  Governments are divided into one of four groups defined by thresholds for Gross National Income (GNI) and Gross National Income per Capita (GNI per capita) with the lowest capacity to pay countries being allocated to Group 1 and the highest to Group 4.
Click here for more details on the methodology used to calculate financial contributions.
Click here for a list of member governments divided according to their capacity to pay group as of 2024. 
Click to read more on how the financial contributions are calculated and see the amounts owed by each country for 2020 and 2021 and 2022.

Core Funding is divided into three key areas: a General Fund, a Meeting Fund and a Scientific Committee Research Fund.  (Other committees of the IWC do not receive a core budget and generally fund their work programmes with voluntary contributions).

  • General Fund: the primary function of this fund is to maintain the Secretariat of the IWC. Click to read more about the role and responsiblities of the Secretariat.
  • Meeting Fund: this fund supports the meetings of the Commission and the IWC’s Scientific Committee. ‘Reference venues’ are used to benchmark the cost of these meetings.  Governments offering to host meetings are asked to pay any shortfall between the cost of their venue and the benchmark cost of the reference venue.
  • Research Fund: the Scientific Committee of the IWC is responsible for allocating these funds to address the scientific research priorities of the Commission.  Voluntary contributions are also occasionally made to this fund in support of particular projects.

Status of Contributions

Following discussions at the IWC68 biennial Commission meeting and the February 2023 Bureau meeting, the Secretariat has started publishing a report on the status of contributions for the IWC on the IWC website effective from 19 May 2023.

Contracting Governments are encouraged to review the status of their contributions and contact the Secretariat should there be any discrepancies.

The status of contributions will be updated on this webpage monthly. The latest report can be found here: Latest Status of Contributions.

For any further information, please email your query to finance@iwc.int.

Voluntary Funding

If you are interested in a particular area of research or conservation and would like to know more about opportunities to be involved and provide funding, please contact secretariat@iwc.int

In addition to core funding, the IWC receives voluntary contributions from a wide variety of organisations. Donations are usually made in support of a particular programme of work: some to formally established funds and some to assist with a particular workshop or piece of research.  

Guidelines on Acceptance of Funds have been established to ensure funds are only accepted from appropriate sources, and will advance work that is consistent with IWC objectives.
A Code of Ethical Fundraising was also endorsed by the Commission in 2018. 

A summary report of the voluntary fund transaction from January 2023 to August 2023 can be found here.

In addition the Commission is a member of the Chartered Institute of Fundraising. This is the body which oversees the UK Code of Fundraising Practice and promotes excellence and professionalism in all areas of fundraising.   CI of fundraising logo

The IWC Voluntary Funds

There are currently six formal voluntary funds:

  • the Small Cetaceans Voluntary Fund, which invites proposals for dolphin and porpoise projects from scientists working on conservation of some of the most endangered mammals in the world;
  • the Aboriginal Subsistence Whaling Fund, which assists aboriginal hunters  to achieve compliance with measures identified by the Commission.
  • the Voluntary Conservation Fund, prioritising and supporting a wide range of conservation initiatives to support the implementation of the Conservation Committee Strategic Plan including work on bycatch, whale watching and ship strikes.
  • the Voluntary Assistance Fund, aiming to strengthen the capacity of governments of limited means to participate in the work of the IWC;
  • The Southern Ocean Research Partnership, an integrated, collaborative consortium for non-lethal whale research in the Southern Ocean.
  • The Voluntary Welfare Fund which supports research and mitigation of non-hunting threats to cetaceans, such as entanglement in fishing gear and euthanasia of stranded whales.

In addition to contributions to these funds, ad hoc donations are sometimes received, for example to support an independent review of IWC governance.  These miscellaneous contributions are handled by an ‘Other Work’ Fund.

2021 Voluntary Contributions are as follows:

Voluntary Contribution Allocation by Fund


Aboriginal Subsistence Whaling Fund


Small Cetaceans Fund


Voluntary Conservation Fund




Financial Structures, Procedures and Initiatives

The IWC Financial Year runs from 1st January to 31st December. 

All financial processes operate according to the Financial Regulations and are managed by the Finance and Administration Committee, supported by its subsidiary body, the Budgetary Sub-committee.  These two groups meet every two years before the Commission Plenary, to develop proposals for both the amount to be paid by member governments as core contributions, and the allocation of these core funds.  The Commission Plenary must then either endorse these proposals or agree alternatives.

Any significant financial issues arising during the two-year intersessional period can be referred to the IWC Bureau, an administrative body comprising seven IWC members, including the Chair of the Finance and Administration Committee.  The Bureau may offer advice or refer major issues, including any issues of policy, to the Commission as a whole for discussion or decision.

Strengthening IWC Financing

In 2010, the IWC created the Intersessional Correspondence Group on Strengthening IWC Financing to examine ways to integrate conservation funding into the overall budget.  The group has taken a broader, strategic and long-term view of IWC’s financial environment and has introduced a number of improvements and initiatives including on financial transparency, governance and external collaboration. Key achievements include publishing the Guidance on Ethical Fundraising, developing and piloting a process for allocation of funds and costing workplans.  In 2022 the Commission agreed that this work had been completed and a new mandate is under development, aiming to provide advice and support to the Secretariat on fundraising.

Budgetary Reform 

In recent years, the Commission as a whole has been working through the Budgetary Sub-committee and the Finance and Administration Committee to develop long-term solutions to today’s budgetary challenges.  The focus of this work has been agreeing how best to reconcile the cost of an ever-expanding work programme with a budget that has been constrained by a difficult and unpredictable global financial climate, and limited increases in member contributions.

In 2022 the Commission endorsed a Budget Reform Strategy containing a wide range of measures to introduce best financial management practices and ensure the long-term financial sustainability of the IWC.     

Publication of IWC Accounts

The Commission’s Accounts are publicly available, and receive an annual audit by an independent auditor. 

  • Click here to read the latest (2022) accounts.
  • Click here to read the accounts for 20212020 and 2019