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IWC reflects on World Oceans Day 2020 - with collaboration at its core

This year we celebrate World Ocean’s Day in circumstances that are difficult and unusual in many ways.  One unusual aspect is that people all over the world, in very different places and circumstances, are focused on the same issue at the same time – Coronavirus.   This shared experience was neither sought nor welcome, but it does encourage a sense of global solidarity.  It also emphasises the need to collaborate in order to succeed. 

At the IWC, collaboration seems ever-more important as we contemplate World Oceans Day in the context of current events.  Today we take the opportunity to thank all those who work with us to safeguard our oceans for cetaceans and the many other species whose survival depends on a healthy marine environment.  The challenges facing our oceans are big and complex.  They can only be tackled if organisations and individuals work together and forge partnerships at every level. 

Collaboration is already the recognised cornerstone of IWC work.  Our Scientific Committee has just completed its annual meeting – a virtual gathering of more than three hundred scientists from governments, universities and non-governmental organisations all over the world.  Collaboration is also the guiding principle of key IWC work programmes on Bycatch Mitigation and Cetacean Entanglement, Strandings and Sustainable Whale Watching. 

So today we thank the artisanal fishers and local whale watch guides, the academics and conservationists, the national governments, the regional bodies and the many other inter-governmental organisations with whom we work.  There is no doubt that 2020 will be long-remembered.  Let’s do all we can to ensure this isn’t just about the Coronavirus crisis, but also the integral importance of solidarity and collaboration to our success.

Click the links to read more about current IWC initiatives on bycatch mitigation, entanglement response, cetacean strandings and sustainable whale watching.  The report of the 2020 virtual meeting will be available here and free to download at the end of June.