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Virtual meeting of the IWC Scientific Committee begins

The IWC Scientific Committee begins its first ever virtual meeting today.  Like many other organisations, the Scientific Committee had to re-think its annual meeting in response to the Covid 19 pandemic.  This is the first year since 1955 that the world’s leading cetacean scientists have not gathered in person to discuss their latest research and develop recommendations to the Commission.

The traditional meeting format comprises an initial and concluding plenary session, with 100+ sub-committee sessions held in between.  In response to the unprecedented circumstances, the agenda for the original two-week meeting has been scaled back to focus on priority topics only.  Three concurrent sub-committee sessions will be held each day over the original dates and within a two-hour window that reduces as far as possible, the difficulties posed by different time zones and responsibilities.

In common with other organisations in the same situation, there have been many hurdles to overcome, but one positive consequence of the switch to a virtual meeting is increased participation.  Attendance has fluctuated over recent years, between 120 and 200 scientists. This year’s meeting has attracted over 270 registrations so far, which reinforces recent efforts by the Commission to increase transparency and accessibility, particularly for participants from developing countries.

For more information about the IWC Scientific Committee meeting, click here.

To read previous reports of the IWC Scientific Committee, click here.