Figure 1. WCA Governing Structure (2013). A ‘Circular’ governing structure was agreed by the Partners at the 2013 World Whale Conference. All regions and Working Groups are represented on the Global Council.
The Board of Trustees are legally responsible for ensuring the World Cetacean Alliance as a charity is well run, remains solvent and delivering the charitable objectives for which it has been established. The Trustees must act collectively to ensure that money, property and resources are properly used, managed and accounted for. In order to be accountable, the trustees must ensure suitable systems and processes are in place and kept up to date.
The trustees delegate strategic development and project implementation to the Global Council (GC). The GC is elected by the Partners every 2 years consists of the elected chair(s) of the working groups and the elected regional representatives. The GC sets the strategic direction and implements the global action plan through the working groups with support and guidance from the Secretariat.
The trustees also appoint staff to the Secretariat, currently led by Dylan Walker as Chief Executive Officer (CEO).
Working Groups are the principle means of dividing work. Each Working Group focuses on a specific area of interest. The Working Groups are open to all Partners and provide a platform for discussion in key focus areas. The Working Groups recommend policy to the Global Council and carry out agreed actions within their areas of interest, expertise and geography.
The staff and volunteers of the WCA make up the Secretariat. The Secretariat has no voting powers, and is responsible for both administering the charity and providing operational support to the partnership. The Secretariat develops projects and campaigns in line with the strategy agreed by the Partners.
The Partners are the vote-holding members for the affairs of the World Cetacean Alliance. Every two years the World Cetacean Alliance will run a Conference to adopt strategies, programmes and policies and elect a Global Council.
Decisions requiring a vote by the Partners during the year will be made online following conference call discussions. Most decisions involving Working Groups or the Global Council are the result of lengthy open discussions and are therefore made without the requirement for a formal vote. However, all Partners reserve the right to propose a vote on any issue within Working Groups or at Global Council meetings. A proposal is carried if a minimum of 75% of the voting Partners vote in favour. Voting is via an online poll conducted over the course of fourteen days (or as otherwise agreed providing ample notification is given.