At IWC67 in October 2018 the Commission endorsed a proposal from New Zealand to revise the existing template for voluntary conservation reports and develop an integrated database. The detailed proposal, which includes the detailed rationale for changing the reporting template, is in Document IWC/67/CC/10 (also available to this meeting as document CC/68A/INFO/05).
This will be a move from static written reports to an online database, publicly accessible from the IWC website and searchable by country or conservation theme. The database would be populated and updated by countries and the template for submission would be revised for alignment with the Strategic Plan and Workplan of the Conservation Committee. Where possible, this would be made interoperable with other IWC databases particularly National Progress Reports submitted to the SC. This would help streamline the reporting requirements on Contracting Governments, and improve the accessibility, effectiveness and reach of information submitted in Voluntary Conservation Reports.
Due to the departure of the Secretariat’s IT officer in 2019 there was a delay before the Secretariat could move forward this proposal. Now that the new Secretariat IT & Database Supervisor is in post the Secretariat can proceed but would welcome some further input from the Conservation Committee, particularly on the purpose of reporting and database fields. The Secretariat will then work with the intersessional group for developing this database to finalise the specification and start developing a prototype database.
The Conservation Committee is invited to take note of this update and to provide its views on the questions below. In addition, commitments are sought from Contracting Governments to become pilot countries for the database. These countries would be “early adopters” of the database and commit to populating and testing the prototype database in the development stage.