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Message from the Secretary-General: IALA enters 2018 with great optimism

As the IALA Secretariat is busy putting the finishing touches to outstanding tasks before closing for the traditional festive season from Thursday evening 21 December onwards (reopening on Wednesday morning 3 January), I use the opportunity to wish all our Members as well as my hard-working and dedicated Secretariat colleagues a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

I also thank everybody wholeheartedly for their contribution to IALA’s work throughout 2017. It certainly has been another bumper year, ending with a memorable celebration of our 60th anniversary at the gala dinner on the occasion of the 65th session of the Council.

Held at our renovated and modernised headquarters, this was the last Council session in Paris chaired by our President, Mr Juan Francisco Rebollo, who spoke warm words about the commitment of so many people from around the world who generously share their knowledge and expertise. When a local power cut in St Germain-en-Laye left Council delegates in the dark and the cold, the ever-well-prepared Secretariat team made sure the work could continue by candle light. This was certainly the ‘IALA spirit’ at its best!

The Council had a heavy workload to conclude in order to prepare for the General Assembly in Incheon in the Republic of Korea in June 2018. It approved all the important documents for the next four-year period including the budget, as well as the revised Strategic Vision (2018-2026) and the seven draft Standards, which are a vital feature of the Strategic Vision.

In addition, as we have reached the end of the four-year work programme (2014-2018), the Council approved many important Guidelines, Recommendations and Model Courses and also agreed to distribute the 2018 NAVGUIDE to the wider maritime world.

As IALA sets its sights on a future as an intergovernmental organization (IGO), its greatest asset will continue to be its body of knowledge. Meanwhile, the path opened towards IGO status by the Resolution of the General Assembly is now leading to the Second Pre-Diplomatic Conference, which will be hosted by Morocco in Marrakech on 7 and 8 February 2018. The detailed draft texts prepared for the draft IALA Convention and General Regulations will provide the robust base documents to ensure fruitful multilateral negotiations. The large attendance at the First Pre-Diplomatic Conference held in Paris in April 2017 – 173 delegates representing 56 countries from around the world where IALA has National members – bodes well for another productive conference. I am very pleased that the French Foreign Ministry is now leading the IGO project and very much appreciate the enthusiastic involvement of France’s Ambassador for the Oceans, His Excellency Mr Serge Ségura.

IALA will enter the new year strengthened by 25 new members who joined in 2017, setting another record (21 new members joined in 2016). Many highlights in 2017 will be carried forward, such as the successful missions of the World-Wide Academy (WWA), the excellent work done by workshops and seminars, and the concrete results from our four technical committees and their working groups.

The participation in the Committee work continues to grow, with up to 150 participants in some sessions. My special thanks go to all the chairs and vice-chairs for their commitment and hard work. The outstanding success of the WWA would also not be possible without the superb and unstinting support from the four technical committees.

I very much look forward to continuing the excellent cooperation with all our Members and our partner international organizations throughout 2018.

Meanwhile, I remind everybody of IALA’s social media presence. Please do participate in our LinkedIn group (of more than 2000 followers) for technical discussions (https://www.linkedin.com/groups/86242) and also check relevant news from IALA here:

https://www.linkedin.com/company/10382981?trk=tyah&trkInfo=clickedVertical%3Acompany%2CclickedEntityId%3A10382981%2Cidx%3A3‐1‐10%2CtarId%3A1463044233240%2Ctas%3Aiala