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IMCC for All

At the International Marine Conservation Congress, we want to promote a safe, comfortable space for presentations, collaboration, innovation, and creativity. We welcome suggestions and questions. Please email IMCC5 Chair Edward Hind-Ozan and/or SCB Marine Diversity Chair Luli Martinez with comments or concerns.


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Code of Conduct

It was important to IMCC4 organizers to research and develop a Code of Conduct for that conference and all IMCCs moving forward. The Society for Conservation Biology and the SCB Marine Section work to promote a welcoming environment at conferences that is safe, collaborative, supportive, and productive for all attendees, including delegates, volunteers, exhibitors, invited speakers/stakeholders, members of the media, and service providers. The SCB Marine Section and IMCC value the diversity of views, expertise, opinions, backgrounds, and experiences reflected among all attendees. A Code of Conduct is important to promoting diversity and creating a safe, productive environment. The IMCC4 organizers consulted with available materials and research on codes of conduct, other societies and conferences, the Society for Human Resource Management, and human resource psychologists and other experts.

IMCC5 will also follow the work set out by IMCC4 and will be using the code of conduct once again; IMCC5 will have a designated Safety Officer onsite to help with issues, answer questions, provide counseling, mediate, and advise on necessary actions. The Safety Officer is a human resources professional with experience in human resource management and psychology.



One of the reasons the Waterfront Hotel Kuching was chosen for IMCC5 was the convenience for delegates who would benefit from staying onsite. Hotel rooms at the Waterfront Hotel Kuching are upstairs from the conference centre, making it easier for delegates traveling with famlies and kids, delegates who may need to frequently visit their rooms (for medical or other reasons), or anyone who needs privacy at points throughout the day. Further, the Waterfront Hotel Kuching is centrally located to another 8 hotels, all within 10 minutes walk from the main venue.

Delegates with Children

We want parents to be able to make the most of IMCC5, and we know traveling with kids can be a challenge. Please see the IMCC5 'Bringing the Family' for information on services we are offering to parents and legal guardians. We are also opening the poster reception to kids under the age of 17 (chaperoned by an IMCC5 delegate) with a free kids' ticket that can be picked up at the registration desk as a means for ocean outreach. Additionally, we've strived to end sessions at a reasonable time each day for family time, time to decompress, and to promote an essential part of conferences—networking in a setting outside of session rooms.



We are working to help make IMCC5 as accessible as possible. Anyone who needs accessibility assistance—whether it's getting materials and forms in a different format, onsite accessibility, or a volunteer to help navigate participation--can contact us to make requests. We want to help. IMCC5 will work to help make your participation at IMCC5 successful. Please email us with requests. The Accessibility page was formatted to be effective for people who may be using computer software or for those who are visually impaired. If you need information in another format, please do not hesitate to contact us.



It will be possible to submit IMCC abstracts and proposals in languages other than English. Delegates can also request offline submission forms in languages other than English. If you would also like to present in a language other than English please contact us as soon as possible and will do our best to accommodate your request. We will also do our best to provide means so people who speak English can enjoy presentations in other languages. We are additionally working with a team of volunteers to give assistance upon request to delegates whose first language is not English but would like to give their presentations in English. If you need language assistance or need to present in a language other than English, please email IMCC5 Diversity Chair Luli Martinez.

Potential Israeli Delegates

Malaysia does not maintain formal diplomatic relations with Israel. However, visas can be arranged for conference participants with forward planning. The IMCC5 Organising Committee emailed all Society for Conservation Biology (SCB) members in Israel in September 2017, as well as previous IMCC attendees from Israel, notifying them that SCB would sponsor advance visa proposals. The same email was sent to further individuals identified as being Israeli marine conservationists. While it is likely too late at this stage to make further visa applications for potential Israeli delegates, please email us if you are Israeli and would be interesting in Attending IMCC5 via telepresence. It may be possible to arrange this. IMCC6 will be held in a country that maintains diplomatic relations with Israel.

Potential LGBTQI Delegates

The SCB Marine Section endeavours to hold IMCCs in locations that are as accessible and welcoming to as many potential delegates as possible. To this end, we consider each hosting bid we receive, and consider which groups of potential delegates will find an IMCC difficult or easy to attend. We take into account cost of attendance, likelihood of visa application success, and implications of local legislation and culture for various groups. By hosting our first IMCC in Asia, we hope many individuals from this region will be able to attend an IMCC4 for the first time. However, we realise, due to Malaysian law and culture that attending IMCC5 will be difficult for LGBTQI delegates. Therefore, we have commissioned independent and unedited advice from the Sarawak AIDS Concern Society, and this can be read below this paragraph. We are also hoping to provide options to attend IMCC5 by telepresence, and will prioritise LGBTQI delegates for this service. Please email us confidentially if you would like to take up this option. As we seek to ensure that no group finds it difficult to attend two consecutive IMCCs, the SCB Marine Section has committed to hold IMCC6 in a country/locality that does not have laws that make travel to that country difficult for LGBTQI delegates. If you have any concerns over our decision-making processes, or if you have questions about your potential IMCC5 attendance, please do contact us confidentially and we will respond or put you in contact with informed individuals. If you are delaying your decision on attending IMCC5 until you are sure you want to attend, we will accept abstract submissions and registration past the respective deadlines if you email us advance notice.


The following information for potential delegates, specifically those identifying as LGTBQI, is independently provided by The Sarawak AIDS Concern Society. They were advised in production of this advice by Mohamad Shahrani bin Mohamad Tamrin. The IMCC5 Organising Committee is extremely grateful to the Society and Mohamad for their inputs. Neither the IMCC5 Organizing Committee of SCB had any input into the nature of the advice. Their advice has not been edited and is presented here as we received it by email. The The Sarawak AIDS Concern Society would like to highlight that this advice is specifically for those travelling to Sarawak, and it would differ for those visiting other parts of Malaysia.


Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Taoism, and traditional religions (paganism) are widely practised.


Malaysia is largely conservative, Muslim country, and you should dress modestly, particularly in rural areas, to avoid causing offence.

Safety and security

Sarawak in general is a very safe destination with relatively low crime rates. Tourists should exercise the usual precautions – not walking alone at night, not leaving valuables such as cameras and smart phones on display, using registered taxis, Grab, Uber.

There have been cases of bag snatching from roadsides when walking around towns and cities keep your bag on the opposite side of your body to the road and keep your passport and money in a concealed belt.

Traffic accidents are not uncommon. Only ever travel with your trusted tour guide and group.

Drug law in Malaysia

Drug possession is a serious offence in Malaysia as stipulated by the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952 that regulates the import, export, manufacture, #### and use of opium, dangerous drugs and related materials. Under section 39B of the Dangerous Drugs Act, those in possession of 15 gm or more heroin and morphine; 1,000 gm or more opium (raw or prepared); 200 gm or more cannabis; and 40 gm or more cocaine will receive the mandatory sentence of death by hanging. Punishment for lighter offences (those that are not considered drug trafficking) can range from imprisonment, rehabilitation to fines depending on the amount of drugs possessed and degree of offence (Malaysian Law Dangerous Drugs Act 1952).

Public attitude and perception towards LGBTQI

Please email us if you would like further advice provided by the Sarawak AIDS Concern Society.


Additional resources for potential LGBTQI Delegates

International Lesbian and Gay Association provides LGBTQI relevant legal information and news reports by region and country, including an interactive map.

Pink Triangle Foundation is the only public LGBTQI support organization in Malaysia. The non-profit's webpage includes events and resources for LGBTQI people.

Global Gayz - Malaysia gives an informal overview of LGBT climate in Malaysia and links to news articles.


At IMCC, we understand conservation is inherently interdisciplinary and conservation cannot be achieved by natural scientists alone. We welcome abstracts, proposals, and participation by any stakeholder, sector, or discipline related to aquatic science and marine conservation. The overall theme of IMCCs is Making Marine Science Matter, but several themes for each particular congress are chosen to highlight various issues, local work, and the multiple disciplines needed for conservation success. We also always welcome proposals, abstracts, and other content that may not fit into one of the chosen themes. For IMCC5, we've increased our efforts to reach out to working groups, societies, NGOs, universities, etc. that specialize in fields other than natural science, including policy, communication, social science, management, diversity, culture, and more.


Global Outreach

The SCB Marine Section is a global section of the Society for Conservation Biology, and IMCC delegates come from around the world. We are making special efforts to increase our global reach with IMCC5;  we are contacting 100's of universities, agencies, NGOs, and community groups in countries that have not been represented at past IMCCs to invite them to participate in the Congress. We began developing a database of contact information for organizations on every inhabited continent! Communications and materials will be provided in a variety of languages to help promote IMCC5 to as many potential delegates as possible. Want to add your group or organization to our database? Please contact IMCC5 meeting manager, Travis Nielsen.

While the location of IMCC changes with every conference, we fully recognize they have always stayed within the U.S., Canada, and the U.K., and this needs to be improved to continue towards our aim for a truly global conference. The location of IMCC5—Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia—was chosen based on the need to bring the congress to a location that is more accessible to developing nations with conservation issues. Future IMCCs will regularly move around the world with hopes to increase international access and participation. 


Diversity Travel Grants

Diversity Travel Grant applications will be open to delegates with approved abstracts from countries designated as developing countries by the World Bank, countries designated as small island developing states, and indigenous communities. Winners will receive either full travel assistance, partial travel assistance, or free IMCC5 registration. The competition will be open to to students and non-students. The IMCC5 program will benefit immensely from the participation of these presenters, some of which are representing countries and communities that have not been well-represented at past IMCCs. As IMCC, the SCB Marine Section, and marine conservation issues are global, we want to try to ensure all regions are equally able to participate at IMCC5.


IMCC4 Winners included delegates from Brazil, Cuba, Ecuador, the Philippines, Colombia, Nepal, Peru, South Africa, Fiji, Palau, Slovenia, Nigeria, Uganda, Mexico, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Indonesia, and the North American indigenous communities of Iñpuiat and Yup'ik. The competition was open to students and non-students and again will be open to these groups at IMCC5.

IMCC5 Diversity Focus Group Series

A focus group will take place in the afternoon of the IMCC5 scientific program to discuss issues of diversity in marine science, academic societies, marine conservation, and scientific conferences. The focus groups are open to the participation of any IMCC5 delegates. While we will not be able to cover every aspect of diversity at IMCC5, our goal is to bring in more expertise and more issues than previous IMCC's. Suggestion for focus groups in the IMCC5 Diversity Focus Group Series can be sent to IMCC5 Chair Edward Hind-Ozan and SCB Marine Diversity Officer Luli Martinez.

We are currently accepting ideas for focus groups. Please look here in the future for a list of Focus Groups.


A Note from IMCC5 Organizers

It was important to IMCC5 organizers—including IMCC5 Chair and SCB Marine Section President-Elect Edward Hind-Ozan, SCB Marine Section President Katie Matthews, and IMCC5 Meeting Manager Travis Nielsen—to strive for an "IMCC for All" approach to organizing the conference. We have worked very hard and made large strides in making IMCC more accessible and open, while maintaining scientific integrity in our programming and keeping fees as low as possible for delegates. We understand improvements still need to be made and some approaches may need to be re-worked. We welcome input, assistance, and suggestions you may have to help make IMCC5 and future IMCCs as great as possible!