Call for proposals: Deadline Extended to 20 October 2021

IMPAC5 is where we will come together and take a stand to protect the ocean.

General Congress Information

What is IMPAC5?

IMPAC5 is the Fifth International Marine Protected Areas Congress, a global forum that brings together ocean conservation professionals and high-level officials to inform, inspire and act on marine protected areas. IMPAC5 will take place in Vancouver, Canada 23-30 June 2022.  

IMPAC5 will end with a one-day Leadership Summit on 30 June where the results of the Congress will be presented, key issues will be addressed, and commitments to expanding ocean protection will be reaffirmed.

When and where were the previous IMPACs held?  

Since 2005, four IMPAC events were hosted by the following countries: 

  • IMPAC1 – Geelong, Australia (2005) 
  • IMPAC2 – Washington, D.C., United States of America (2009) 
  • IMPAC3 – Marseille, France (2013) 
  • IMPAC4 – La Serena-Coquimbo, Chile (2017).  

During the closing ceremony of IMPAC4, Canada was awarded the honour of hosting IMPAC5. Typically, IMPAC happens every four years, however, IMPAC5 was delayed in 2021 due to the global COVID-19 pandemic and is rescheduled for 23-30 June 2022.

What will happen at IMPAC5?  

IMPAC5 presents an opportunity for marine protected area professionals from around the world to chart a course towards protecting 30% of the ocean by 2030. Congress participants will share their knowledge and best practices for future ocean protection and engagement in five thematic areas with three topic streams woven throughout. 

The five themes of IMPAC5 are:  

  • Building a global marine protected area network 
  • Advancing conservation in the blue economy 
  • Actively managing marine protected areas and human activity 
  • Conserving biodiversity and addressing the climate crisis 
  • Connecting ocean culture and human well-being 

The three streams that will run across all Congress elements and themes are:  

  • Indigenous Peoples Leadership 
  • Young professionals 
  • Innovation and transformational change 

IMPAC5 is expected to be the largest in the congress series to date with a goal of attracting 3000 in-person attendees as well as 1000 virtual participants. The Congress will feature dynamic keynote speakers, interactive in-person and virtual sessions plus arts and culture elements. 

At IMPAC5, participants will gather to develop actions to address marine biodiversity decline and the climate crisis while creating solutions for a blue economy. 

Why is IMPAC5 important?  

IMPAC5 is where we will come together and take a stand to protect the ocean. 

IMPAC5 is an opportunity to follow through on commitments made at the 2021 May UN Convention on Biological Diversity Conference of the Parties (CBD COP 15) and the 2021 September International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) World Conservation Congress. Through IMPAC5, participants and leaders will also address the urgency and need for momentum on protecting ocean biodiversity, through ambitious and innovative approaches that represent transformational changeThe Congress will be a hybrid event with both in-person and virtual program delivery to expand global reach. 

Following 23-29 June 2022, IMPAC5 will end with a one-day Leadership Summit on 30 June where the results of the Congress will be presented, key issues will be addressed, and commitments to expanding ocean protection will be reaffirmed. 

Where will IMPAC5 be held? 

The Congress will take place in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.  

Attendees will enjoy breathtaking mountain and ocean views from the Vancouver Convention Centre, the world’s first double LEED® Platinum certified facility. Click here to learn more about the Vancouver Convention Centre.  

We are grateful to the Host First Nations—xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh)—for welcoming us into their traditional territories for this Congress. 

Click here to learn more about the Host First Nations: xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish Nation), and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh Nation). 

Who is organising IMPAC5? 

The 5th International Marine Protected Areas Congress will be jointly hosted by the Host First Nations— xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh)—together with the Government of Canada, the Province of British Columbia, the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). 

The IMPAC5 Planning Committee is responsible for establishing the thematic vision and program that aligns with the goals of the Congress. The committee has more than 20 members comprised of officials and marine practitioners from Indigenous, federal and provincial governments, young professionals and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society.  

For IMPAC5 Participants 

Who typically participates at an IMPAC?  

International Marine Protected Areas Congresses (IMPAC) provide an opportunity for marine protected area professionals, officials and leaders from around the world to gather and take a stand to protect the ocean.  IMPAC participants included:  

  • Indigenous groups and ocean guardians 
  • Government officials 
  • Civil society organisations 
  • Marine protection specialists 
  • Young professionals 
  • Members of the IUCN 
  • Members of ocean-focused environmental non-governmental organisations 
  • Marine recreation community groups  
  • Businesses working in the blue economy
  • Media 
  • Marine scientists  

How many people will be attending IMPAC5? 

 IMPAC5 is expected to be the largest in the congress series to date with a goal of attracting 3000 in-person attendees as well as 1000 virtual participants. 

How much does it cost to attend IMPAC5?  

IMPAC5 registration fees will align with similar international congresses of this size and subject, however, fees have not been determined at this time. Check the website for announcements; follow IMPAC5 on FacebookInstagram, Linkedin and Twitter; or join our mailing list to receive updates.  

When can I register for IMPAC5?

Early bird registration will open later this year. Check the website for announcements; follow IMPAC5 on FacebookInstagramLinkedin and Twitter; or join our mailing list to receive updates.  

IMPAC5 Schedule and Program 

I want to present during IMPAC5 – how can I apply?

You are invited to submit a proposal to present either in person or virtually during IMPAC5. The ‘Call for Proposals’ is currently open and will close on 20 September 2021 (23:59 PDT). There are various presentation formats to select from, both as an individual presenter or to lead a session. Click here for more details on the presentation/session formats.  

What type of presentation/session formats are being offered during IMPAC5?

You have two choices in designing your proposal submission:

A) You may submit an individual proposal to present a Speed Talk, Symposium, or E-poster; or

B) You may submit to lead and co-ordinate either a Symposium or Knowledge Sharing Session.

Proposals must clearly align with IMPAC5’s goals, themes and cross-cutting streams, respect IMPAC5’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Statement, and are encouraged to be applicable and engaging in their presentation to a wide range of participants. Please consult the Proposal Submission Guide for detailed descriptions of each format.

Will proposals on designations for marine conservation areas other than Marine Protected Areas be accepted? For example, Other Effective Area-based Conservation Measures (OECM), Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas (IPCA) and other designation tools?

Yes, IMPAC5 welcomes proposal submissions on marine conservation approaches and designations that contribute to protecting 30% of the ocean by 2030.

How do I submit a proposal?

Proposals must be submitted electronically on the Congress website. A downloadable IMPAC5 Proposal Submission Guide provides the necessary information for submitting your proposal.

How long is the Call for Proposals open for?

The Call for Proposals, is open from 14 June (08:00 PDT) to 20 September (23:59 PDT) 2021.
All proposals must be submitted before this deadline to be considered. No extensions will be granted.

How many proposals can I submit?

Please limit your submissions to one per person. We are expecting a high volume of proposal submissions. In the spirit of fairness and to ensure the expression of multiple voices throughout the program, selected speakers will be permitted one opportunity to present during the Congress.

When will I be notified as to whether my proposal was accepted or not?

Applicants will be notified by end of January 2022 of their proposal status.

Who do I contact if I have questions about the Call for Proposals submission process?

Prior to submitting a proposal be sure to read the Proposal Submission Guide and the Frequently Asked Questions in full. If you still have unanswered questions, email:

When will the IMPAC5 program be posted?

We are targeting spring 2022 to post the program. Check the website for announcements; follow IMPAC5 on FacebookInstagramLinkedin and Twitter; and join our mailing list to receive updates.

Who are the keynote speakers?

Please check the website for keynote speaker announcements. Another option is to follow IMPAC5 on FacebookInstagram and Twitter; or join our mailing list for news about invited speakers, and further Congress details.  

Can I host a side-event during IMPAC5?

If your company, organisation or government is interested in hosting a sponsored side-event during IMPAC5 please send an email to: with the subject: ‘Sponsored side-event’ in the subject line. More information about sponsored side-events will be available in coming months.

How do I become a sponsor for IMPAC5?

Interested in featuring your brand, destination or product amongst the world’s top marine practitioners, global marine conservation leaders and high level policy-makers?

If your organisation or business is interested in being a sponsor during IMPAC5 , please email to request a sponsorship package. More information about sponsorship opportunities will be available in the coming months.

I want to lead/co-ordinate a symposium at IMPAC5

People interested in organizing a symposium will be able to submit a proposal starting on 14 June 2021. Learn more about IMPAC5s five themes and three streams.  

How can I submit a proposal?  

A call for proposals was launched on 14 June 2021. More details on the submission process, guidelines and criteria will be made available soon. In the meantime, please familiarize yourself with IMPAC5’s five themes and three streams.  

Indigenous Peoples Leadership at IMPAC5

How will Indigenous groups be involved at IMPAC5?  

IMPAC5 is grateful to the Host First Nations – xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish Nation), and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh Nation) – for welcoming us into their traditional territories.  

Representatives from each of the Host First Nations are on the IMPAC5 planning committee alongside members from the Assembly of First NationsCoastal First NationsFirst Nations Fisheries Council, the Inuit Circumpolar Council and the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council.  

One of the cross-cutting streams of IMPAC5 is Indigenous Peoples Leadership, so stories, ways of knowing, approaches and lessons from Indigenous leaders, community members and practitioners in Canada and beyond will be shared during the Congress.  

Tell me more about the Indigenous Peoples Leadership stream.

IMPAC5 embraces the need to heed Indigenous perspectives, voices and knowledge from around the world. During IMPAC5 we will learn from diverse Indigenous cultural practices, knowledge and ways of knowing; while respecting Indigenous rights.

As active members of the IMPAC5 Planning Committee, the Host First Nations and other Indigenous organizations play a key role in shaping the design, delivery and outcomes of the Congress. To learn more about the priority areas of discussion under the Indigenous Peoples Leadership stream, visit the webpage.

The Voice of Young Professionals at IMPAC5

How will young professionals be involved in IMPAC5?

The IMPAC5 Young Professionals Committee is working to ensure that the voices of young leaders from the international marine protected area (MPA) community, Indigenous groups and other related backgrounds will be fully integrated during IMPAC5 and well beyond.  

The Young Professionals Committee is comprised of 16 members and two co-leads aged 18-32 years old from a range of sectors including conservation, Indigenous knowledge and stewardship, climate change, fisheries, spatial planning, industry, transport, and others. The committee will play important leadership, stewardship and decision-making roles in marine protected areas and ocean conservation during the Congress. Read more about the IMPAC5 Young Professionals committee here.

One of IMPAC5’s program streams focuses on the Voice of Young Professionals. 



Join us in Vancouver in June 2022