The IALA Secretariat wishes all IALA Members and partner international organizations a Happy New Year!

There is much to look forward to in 2017, which coincides with the 60th anniversary of the establishment of IALA. To mark the start of this milestone year, the Secretariat is launching an electronic newsletter – the e-Bulletin. This is the introductory first issue, presented by IALA Secretary-General Francis Zachariae, who briefly comments on latest and upcoming developments.

The past year has been very busy at IALA Headquarters and 2017 promises to be at least as busy if not more so. As the results of 2016 have shown, IALA is going from strength to strength. The membership reached a total of 271, thanks to 21 new members joining, which must be a record in the history of the Association.


The World-Wide Academy (WWA) also continues to be a remarkable success story. Its capacity-building missions and training events are in increasing demand around the world, spawning enquiries to obtain IALA membership. In 2017, the Academy will focus on training quality and increased outreach through distance learning, while continuing its important missions aimed at helping countries to improve their ability to provide aids to navigation and related services in accordance with international standards.

 Pre-Diplomatic Conference on IGO status

These encouraging trends bode well for the planned change in the status of IALA to an intergovernmental organization (IGO). In this regard, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of France, our host country, has decided to hold a two-day Pre-diplomatic Conference in Paris, on 18 and 19 April of this year.

The purpose is to invite the relevant representatives of all those countries where IALA has National Members in order to brief them on the new IGO status and how it will strengthen IALA’s existing cooperation with its partner international organisations and enhance significantly the international endorsement of IALA’s activities and the global standards it seeks to achieve to improve and harmonise aids to navigation worldwide.

The second day of the Conference will provide participants with an early opportunity to review the draft text of the new IALA Convention and associated procedural documents.

19th IALA Conference

The 19th IALA Conference is scheduled to take place in Incheon, Republic of Korea, from 28 May to 2 June 2018. You can find more information and details on the Call for Papers on the IALA website and . I am immensely grateful to the Government of the Republic of Korea for its commitment and generosity to host this important four-yearly IALA Conference.

Of particular importance will be the General Assembly’s approval of the first, high-level IALA Standards. These will provide an overarching structure for the technical work undertaken by the Association, supported by IALA Recommendations and Guidelines.

Other high priorities of the General Assembly will be reviewing the Association’s Strategic Vision, the work plan of the Technical Committees, a special focus on lighthouses as world heritage, and, of course, the possible Diplomatic Conference to adopt the new IALA Convention.

In addition, there will be the usual, broad Technical Programme of cross-disciplinary presentations by world-class experts and the Industrial Exhibition providing first-hand insights into the latest R&D and viewing of innovative AtoN products and services.

IALA’s technical work continues apace

A number of important workshops and seminars are already planned in support of the on-going work of the Technical Committees to create technical documents related to the establishment and global harmonization of marine aids to navigation and related services.

During 2017, all four Committees will be expected to achieve concrete results under the current work programme (2014-2018). The Committees have already done much good work on the development of IALA Standards as the top technical documents.

The VTS Committee will review the conclusions of the highly successful 13th International VTS Symposium that took place in Kuala Lumpur last August and also continue to liaise with the ENAV Committee, through a joint informal group, on matters of common concern.

IALA Secretariat support is critical

The support provided by the small complement of service-minded staff at IALA Headquarters to the Committee Chairs and Vice-Chairs and throughout the meetings of the Committees is a critical factor in the success of IALA.

All support is important, whether it concerns registration and welcome of delegates, information to new members, overall management of the meetings and follow-up, meticulous preparation of the technical input/output, or simply making sure the HQ facilities are kept in good order and – perhaps most importantly! – assisting with the popular Icebreaker reception.

All staff is doing a great job and their dedication and hard work make the Secretariat the nucleus of the “IALA family”, for which they deserve our appreciation and thanks.

IALA HQ modernization on track

During 2017, the Secretariat will continue to devote time and resources to implement further modernising measures for the enhancement of the efficiency of technical meetings as well as the general quality and comfort of the working environment at IALA Headquarters. State-of-the-art IT facilities were already completed last year. New office furniture will be in place by March, when ENAV 20 will be the first Technical Committee to meet this year.

With this, I conclude my brief introduction of this first issue of the new IALA e-Bulletin. It is the intention of the Secretariat to distribute it electronically via e-mail to all IALA Members and partner international organizations, initially six times a year, in addition to two print editions of the IALA Bulletin, in June and December.

Please feel free to direct any comments or suggestions for improvement to the webmaster Audrey Guinault at . As this newsletter is for the interest and enjoyment of you, the reader, you are welcome to submit news or brief items for inclusion in future issues.

Once again, best wishes to all for 2017. May IALA continue to thrive and grow in this, its 60th anniversary year, through cooperation, both within the IALA membership and between IALA and other international organizations, governments and concerned maritime community stakeholders.

The new IALA e-Bulletin

The IALA e-Bulletin is produced in-house by the Secretariat with the aim to present the latest news and activities of IALA and the World-Wide Academy (WWA) in an attractive, succinct format for speed-reading. It will be distributed electronically on a regular basis via the personal e-mail inbox of each National, Industrial and Associate Member, as well as IALA’s partner international organizations.

Industrial Members will have additional opportunities for placing advertisements as the newsletter‘s design allows for that. The concise format of the IALA e-Bulletin is also well suited for fast tracking Industrial Members’ latest news.

The News Section on the IALA website will continue to post announcements of IALA workshops, seminars and other events, and to highlight important visits by or to the Secretary-General and the WWA Dean.

The IALA Bulletin will be published in the traditional print format in June and December, to coincide with the 64th and 65th sessions of the Council.

Back to e-Bulletins