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Message from the Secretary-General

In many ways, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has reaffirmed IALA’s resilience and strengthened the close collaboration that is the Association’s hallmark. As this most challenging year draws to a close, I look back with pride and gratitude on the work achieved thanks to the steadfast determination of all concerned to work together productively.

The enforced virtual working conditions have been embraced successfully by both the membership and the indefatigable Secretariat staff. They also brought certain, unexpected benefits. Committee meetings could run over an extended period of time and an even higher number of participants attended each Committee’s Autumn session. While face-to-face meetings will remain the primary means to progress the work programme, the online tools that IALA has developed have proved effective and will ensure that virtual meetings can continue for as long as they are a necessity.

IALA and the World-Wide Academy will continue to organize online webinars in response to the positive feedback received. I certainly see potential for webinars to become a permanent, complementary feature to keep members regularly updated on latest developments and activities

Other good news is that the Association ends the year with a further increase in the number of its Industrial and Associate members.

The Industrial members’ Mid-Term Assembly, held virtually on 6th October, took the important decision to develop a Code of Conduct, in cooperation with the Secretariat and with input from relevant stakeholders. The draft text will be presented to the next General Assembly, which will convene during the 20th IALA Conference in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 2022. The theme of the Conference will be “Marine Aids to Navigation – Innovation for a Sustainable Future!” and a call for papers will be issued soon.

I am pleased that the Council approved the budget for next year at its meeting earlier this month (C72 was held virtually from 8 to 10 December). The 2021 budget is established on the assumption that the global economic situation will return to normal by the middle of the year. All members are reminded that it is strictly based on actual payment of the due membership contributions. Unless the targeted collection rate is reached, the income statement would not be balanced in 2021.

I conclude my message with the traditional best wishes for a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Francis ZACHARIAE