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Tuesday 27th April 2021 to Friday 14th May 2021


IWC Annual Scientific Committee Meeting

Virtual Meeting - April/May 2021


The 2021 IWC Scientific Committee meeting (SC68C) will again be held virtually to reduce risk of COVID-19 exposure to SC members. As the Commission plans to meet in September 2021, coupled with the reduced agenda of SC68B, we aim to cover the full SC agenda at this meeting. To accomplish this goal, some agenda items will be discussed intersessionally in the months preceding SC68C. The meeting will also be extended by five days to allow participants to have weekends off and to accommodate more meetings of sub-groups/sub-committees and Plenary. Despite these efforts, some items may still be postponed until 2022, especially those that are highly technical. All sub-groups/sub-committees will hold at least one virtual session during SC68C. Below are details regarding proposed meeting dates, intersessional meetings and other topics relevant to the SC meeting.

Meeting Dates

  • 27 April to 14 May, with weekend days off (Note: the original dates for the SC meeting were 27 April to 9 May)
  • A joint CC/SC virtual meeting is tentatively scheduled for 26 April.
  • There will likely be a plenary session on 27 April.
  • Heads of Delegation will meet during the first week of the SC meeting.
  • Sub-groups/sub-committees will meet from 28-30 April, 3-7 May, and 10-11 May. If needed, sub-groups/sub-committees may also meet on 27 April and 12 May.
  • Plenary, convenors and Heads of Delegation meetings will occur as needed from 12-14 May.

Meeting Agenda

The draft annotated Agenda is now available here (registration required)


Registration will be open on 19 January 2021. SC members are urged to register as soon as possible so they will receive notification of intersessional meetings and other SC meeting information. Once your registration has been approved, you will receive access to the SC68C Meeting SharePoint website, where you will be able to access documents, meeting schedules and other information.

Intersessional meetings and workshops

  • We will attempt to discuss some agenda items between 25 January and 23 April. These will be treated as pre-meetings. As such, summaries of discussions, including recommendations, from the intersessional meetings will be reviewed, revised as necessary and agreed during the regular SC meeting. SC members will be given ample notification of those intersessional meetings and a schedule will be posted on the SC meeting website.
  • Some workshops may also be held during this same time period. Discussions and recommendations from workshops will be summarized in standalone reports. The SC will reviews those reports and endorse relevant recommendations. There has been some discussion about workshops being held between May 2021 and September 2021 to increase the chance of meeting in person. Please note that if convenors decide to hold workshops after the SC meeting but before the Commission meeting, the SC will not be able to review and endorse any recommendations from those workshops for presentation to the Commissioners in September 2021. Thus, those workshop reports will not be presented to the Commission until the following meeting.

SC Meeting Sessions

  • The SC will attempt to hold two sessions a day (on meeting days) with up to three concurrent sub-groups/subcommittees meetings per session.
  •  The timing of the sessions will likely vary over the course of the SC meeting to accommodate different time zones.
  •  Meetings that may be regionally specific will be scheduled around the appropriate time zone(s).

Submission of SC Documents (SC primary and For Information papers)

  • Paper submission for intersessional meetings: Deadlines for papers to be discussed at intersessional meetings will be at the discretion of the relevant convenor. Convenors will communicate regularly with their sub-group members about the availability of papers. Lengthier and more technical papers will be made available far enough in advance so that there is adequate time for review.
  • Paper submission for SC meeting: Papers not discussed during intersessional meetings need to be submitted by 12 April 2021. In exceptional circumstances and with permission from the relevant convenor and the SC Chair, other papers may be submitted after this date. Please submit these papers here (registration required)


The SC Chair, Vice-Chair, Lead for Science and SC convenors will ensure that SC members are well informed about procedures that may be different from normal SC processes, the schedule of sessions and notification of altered schedules, availability of new documents and other pertinent information.