At the 1st World Whale Conference, 26-27 October 2012, delegates agreed that a new coalition should be formed to effectively protect the world’s cetaceans (whales, dolphins and porpoises) from the many and varied threats that they face. This coalition will be a partnership of NGOs, whale and dolphin watching businesses, and passionate individuals, all prepared to work together and shout louder on behalf of cetaceans than ever before. So why do we need it?
Vulnerable species becoming extinct, common species rapidly becoming uncommon, and critical habitats disappearing fast” – sounds familiar? It’s time for a new global alliance if we are to effectively protect cetaceans (whales, dolphins and porpoises) from the many and varied threats that they face. This new organisation will be a partnership of NGOs, whale and dolphin watching businesses, and passionate individuals, all prepared to work together, faster and louder on behalf of cetaceans than ever before.
The community of people with an interest in protecting cetaceans is one of the largest for any group of animals in the world. According to statistics sourced from both IFAW and Planet Whale it includes over 3,300 whale and dolphin watching businesses, 150 NGOs, and 13 million people going whale watching every year.
Joined together this community has the potential to be enormously powerful and influential; to run global campaigns with the backing of millions of people, to target specific issues with enough support to achieve rapid change, to pull in significant new funding, to reach more of the public than ever before, and to ensure the success and growth of every member organisation.
On 8th June 2013, on World Oceans Day, 22 partners from 10 countries launched the World Cetacean Alliance to bring the community together.
Planet Whale does not intend to lead this new organisation. Planet Whale facilitates partnerships and community engagement projects around the world to achieve positive change for cetaceans and their habitats. By facilitating new partnerships Planet Whale empowers other individuals and organisations to be more effective through collaboration.
Successes include the Responsible Whale Watch Partnership, WhaleFest, and the World Whale Conference. With advice from Birdlife International, the world’s largest partnership of conservation organisations, Planet Whale is facilitating the World Cetacean Alliance.
The World Cetacean Alliance will represent a new and powerful global community willing to work together to protect whales, dolphins, and porpoises (collectively known as cetaceans), and their habitats.
We will stand by the following principles:
The Alliance will actively seek recognition and influence as the largest international network of experts and advocates for cetaceans (whales, dolphins and porpoises).Our emphasis will be to involve the widest possible stakeholder community, and especially the general public, in all of our agreed strategies, policies and programmes; globally, regionally, and locally. We believe everybody deserves a say in the important decisions that affect whales and dolphins.We will seek innovative and positive solutions to the issues affecting cetaceans by adopting an inclusive, solutions-driven approach at all times.As the global Partnership empowered to speak with one voice to protect cetaceans and their habitats, we recognise the value of collaboration and respect the ideas and principles of all of the Partners as equals.YEAR 1 MISSION
The World Cetacean Alliance owes its existence to over 100 whale and dolphin watch operators, NGOs, and other businesses that committed to the concept and value of creating a partnership by supporting the Save the Whales: Reloaded campaign. The campaign launched at the World Whale Conference and WhaleFest, UK, 25-28 October 2012, on the 30th Anniversary of the historic agreement to ban whaling.
The primary focus of the campaign was to establish a mechanism for assessing the global community’s concerns for cetaceans. An understanding of the global perspective is now seen as the essential first step to enable the World Cetacean Alliance to effectively prioritise its work.
The World Cetacean Alliance represents the next step for the many supporters of the Save the Whales: Reloaded campaign. Partners will continue to work alongside supporters to deliver the campaign’s objective to unite the many people and organisations working on behalf of cetaceans, and map the priority issues.
Hotspots mapping outreach programme to identify ‘Areas of Concern’ for cetaceans worldwide
Following a series of trials conducted by Planet Whale and Partners, the World Cetacean Alliance will run a six month outreach programme to encourage the general public, scientists, conservationists, marine users, and other stakeholders from around the world to identify their ‘Areas of Concern’ for cetaceans using a free collaborative survey and mapping tool called SeaSketch.
SeaSketch will enable stakeholders with different backgrounds and interests to identify and map their priority issues affecting cetaceans around the world. By encouraging stakeholders to focus on location, the outreach programme will be an effective way to:
a) Empower the global community to highlight the many issues affecting cetaceans and share their concerns and;
b) Pinpoint areas and opportunities to work together to deliver effective solutions to highlighted issues.
First challenge for the partners: Putting Cetaceans on the Map
Before we can protect cetaceans and their habitats, we have to map the locations where they are threatened around the world and it’s that simple. Partners of the World Cetacean Alliance will play a pivotal role by inviting their members, supporters, fans and customers to identify and map their ‘Areas of Concern’ for cetaceans around the world using SeaSketch.
In addition, the Alliance has contracted a dedicated Scientific Officer responsible for networking with as many people as possible around the world in order to get their feedback on the critical issues affecting cetaceans.
As a result, the Alliance will publish, for the very first time, global and regional maps illustrating cetacean hotspots for all of the major issues affecting cetaceans, including critical habitat, whaling, pollution, captivity, fisheries, and vessel collisions.
In addition, the Alliance will also encourage as many people as possible to submit their Areas of Concern for the three critical issues identified at the launch of the Save the Whales: Reloaded campaign. They were: a) saving the critically endangered Maui’s dolphin in New Zealand; b) releasing the wild orca called Morgan from captivity in Loro Parque, Tenerife; and c) protecting the Southern Ocean / Ross Sea from whaling and other destructive practices.
By focussing on these three issues we intend to raise further awareness amongst the international community, identify stakeholders prepared to assist the Alliance in seeking solutions, and submit further evidence to the relevant authorities of the widespread concern for these issues.
The resulting report, Putting Cetaceans on the Map, will be pivotal to the progress of the Alliance, with early results presented at the next World Whale Conference, where the Alliance will plan to act upon some of the priorities identified. The report, which will be clearly branded with the logos of all of the Partners, will be a ground-breaking document and a powerful tool to initiate discussions with influential people and organisations around the world in order to find solutions to the issues highlighted. The report will also bring recognition to the Alliance as the largest international network of experts and advocates working to protect cetaceans.
Second challenge for the partners: Operating framework and constitution
During the first year, the partners will form focused working groups in order to:
1. Draw up an operating framework / constitution for the Alliance.
2. Map Areas of Concern worldwide
3. Map and report on critical habitats worldwide, with special emphasis on the Ross Sea / Southern Ocean
4. Map and report on critically endangered species, with special emphasis on Maui’s and Hector’s dolphins
5. Map and report on the captivity industry, with special emphasis on the campaign to free Morgan, the wild killer whale currently held in a captivity at Loro Parque, Tenerife
YEAR 1 STRATEGYApril – June 2013. Invite Partners to the PartnershipApril – May 2013. Public vote on the name of the Partnership8th June. World Cetacean Alliance named and launched. Alliance Forum created. Partners begin working together to map the priority issues and locations affecting cetaceans around the world using SeaSketch Mapping Outreach ProgrammeJuly. Form working groups to map and report on Areas of Concern for cetaceans worldwide, with special emphasis on Maui’s dolphins, the Ross Sea / Southern Ocean, and Morgan the wild killer whale held in captivityJune – October. SeaSketch Mapping Outreach Programme reaches stakeholders around the world and highlights priority hotspots requiring action to protect whales, dolphins and porpoises4 – 7 November. World Whale Conference (and Whale Watch Conference) enables Partnership to meet for the first time and discuss plans and a first draft of the constitution.Spring 2014. Report Putting Cetaceans on the Map becomes the first publication published by the Partnership. The report will enable partners to emphasise the case for dealing with a number of issues more forcefully than before, and will also set the priorities for the Alliance during 2014 and beyond.14 – 16 March 2014. WhaleFest 2014 champions the key issues highlighted by the Alliance, with a special focus on the critically endangered Maui’s dolphin. WhaleFest will also provide another opportunity for Partners to meet.May 2014. New Partners invited to join. Assess plans for year two of the Alliance.