IALA to Become an Intergovernmental Organization


Published Feb 29, 2020 6:22 PM by The Maritime Executive

A new convention, transforming the International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities (IALA), from an NGO to an intergovernmental organization (IGO) has been adopted at a diplomatic conference hosted by Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur. 

The “Convention on the International Organization for Marine Aids to Navigation” will have the status of an international treaty instrument. Upon its adoption, it will be deposited with the United Nations by the Organization’s host nation, France, and be open to signature by all UN members.

IALA has been an NGO since 1957 and been the focal point for agreements on standards for aids to navigation. Over 50 countries have adopted the new convention which has taken 10 years of negotiations to prepare. The purpose of the transformation is to ensure IALA is a strong influencer of solutions for future challenges in safety of navigation and for new technology.

The change of status will not change IALA's consultative and technical nature, and its principal aim will stay the same: to foster the safe and efficient movement of vessels through improvement and harmonization of marine aids to navigation for the benefit of the maritime community and the protection of the marine environment.

“We need an international organization that takes on the challenge of paving the way for digital navigation in a broad sense,” said Andreas Nordseth, Director General of the Danish Maritime Authority. “We are lacking standards for exchange of data and for cyber security in the systems. With a transformation of IALA to an IGO, we hope to be able to create momentum on this very important  topic. That is a strong reason for Denmark's active involvement in the work for adoption of the Convention.”

The convention will enter into force when 30 states have ratified. The ratification process is expected to start later this year, coordinated by France.