Declaration of the 8 IAC Cape Town

At the IAC in Shanghai the conference determined to establish a new forum for international exchange, to represent aquariums worldwide.

Little progress has been made since even though surveys demonstrate strong support from IAC participants on every continent. The IAC steering committee therefore set up a working group to establish the mechanisms necessary to further the commitment made in 2008.

As host of the next IAC John Nightingale agreed to chair this initiative and to oversee its evolution and development until 2016.

         Primary Objectives.

Three primary objectives for an organization or network have emerged:



·        Represent what aquariums are trying to do and their goals - to be a top-level VOICE

·        Promote and facilitate communication and collaboration

·        Promote the development and sharing of best practices

·        Represent what aquariums are trying to do and their goals – to be a top-level VOICE

·        Be that voice in global communities (e.g. United Nations, world press)

·        Be a serious and authoritative voice for promotion of the work of aquariums – (e.g. in media with specific or target audiences) or for specific groups (e.g. government agencies)

·        Be a supporting voice for any single aquarium when that aquarium needs a “higher level” voice to help support or promote the work they are doing

·        Promote and facilitate communication and collaboration

·        To develop communications frameworks and/or processes to

·        reduce the isolation of individual aquariums –

·        find a way to share successes

·        facilitate collaborative work on specific practices or issues

·        To facilitate the collaboration process by assisting organisation of an IAC every 2 years

·        Promote the development and sharing of best practices

·        in all areas of aquarium operations to encourage continuous improvement



·        Develop or enforce animal care guidelines or standards

·        Develop an accreditation program

·        Advocate on specific issues except as it effects all of the world’s oceans (e.g. overfishing, impact of climate change)



 ·        Be an “ INCLUSIVE ” organisation promoting good practice through involvement in common positive initiatives and exchanges

·        Be guided by a clear vision, mission and goals

·        Have a secretariat – as small as feasible to ensure both effectiveness and cost-management

·        This suggests a requirement for “ dues ” to belong to the organisation

·        A quorum of institutions have agreed to assist in kickstarting the initiative until a clear governance structure, budget and work plan are established.


 A future where the world’s aquariums contribute significantly to the conservation and sustainability of our global aquatic and oceanic resources by utilising the combined assets of all.


 The “Global Aquarium Network”

is dedicated to uniting the world’s aquariums behind a common mission of engaging the public, and those capable of influencing planning and policy around our oceans and aquatic environments in pursuit of the enhanced conservation of natural (aquatic) ecosystems.


3 months :

Research and classification of available resources, collaboration partners and communication tools

6 months :

Establishment of a preliminary organisational structure

Report on progress to the steering committee & IAC participants

1st call for informal membership

1 year :

Adoption of a formal governance structure.

Instigation of a short and medium term work plan.

Formalisation of membership.

Ratify decision to adopt a 2 year IAC cycle

 2 years :

Review and refinement of functional organisation

Establishment of a long term work plan.

Select a 2018 IAC venue and host

4 years :

9th IAC Vancouver 2016

Report and active engagement of members in discussion forums

Further development of common initiatives

 Cape Town September 2012